Sophie had escaped the chaperones, the conventional conversations, the eternally admonishing look of her aunt to finally choose a suitable man, after all she was already 17. Now she was lost at the sight of Schönbrunn Palace, on this bitterly cold January 25, 1913 But she didn’t care as long as she didn’t have to attend the Saturday soiree. No one else was in the castle park, at least she thought, when two gentlemen suddenly appeared, one coming from the left, the other from the right. Absolutely nothing unusual. Still, these two men caught Sophie’s attention. Both were wrapped in dark coats and had their hats pulled low over their foreheads, went straight ahead and Sophie wondered that they should just meet at the height of the central gate.
On closer inspection, she noticed the pockmarked face and the fiery look on the one who had come from the left. He also held the left arm a little unusual, like an alien object that didn’t belong to him. The other looked a little shabby, his coat shabby, his hat dented, which didn’t stop him from rolling his dark eyes. Two men who couldn’t be more different, but who still connected more than they would have admitted. So, the violent father who literally beat out their empathy and respect. „Pity is weakness“, both would have signed immediately. And they would both affect the fate of Europe. Neither of them knew that when they could have met in the park of Schönbrunn that day. The former was absorbed in the thought of the work “Marxism and national question” he was writing on, in exile at the Hotel Schönbrunn. Later, much later, a plaque would commemorate his stay, which was not a pleasure for everyone. The other, full of anger, thought that now that he had been rejected by the general painting school of the Vienna Art Academy for the second time, he had to keep himself financially afloat by selling lame art postcards and in this soaked, Jewish-contaminated dormitory in the Brigittenauer Meldemannstrasse had to live. Just before they ran into each other, they stopped.
„Out of the way!“, commanded the one who came from the left, and after they were both choleric characters, the so snouted put up with it.
„We will still teach you their inferior Slavic pack,“ replied the other, who noticed the accent very well, but did not quite match it. Then they could duel and stab. We would have been spared a lot. Or it was that the one who came from the left puffed a cigarette and blew a gush of blue mist into the face of the militant non-smoker.
„Go away with that stench,“ he said, but the pockmarked didn’t let himself be intimidated and said only
„You are also one who wants to make order. Come on, let’s go for a drink”, whereupon the other rigorously announced:
„I do not drink!“
„What, a revolutionary who doesn’t drink, can’t be anything,“ with which he took him to the nearest brandy room and pulled him to his side to forget the revolution because of all the booze. Nobody knows whether the course of history would have changed or if other names would have taken their place. But you can still dream a little.
Sophie saw the sun set slowly. It was time to go back to their lives and leave the two gentlemen to their own devices.
It could have been, nobody knows. But who can guess who these two gentlemen were who might have had this imaginary meeting in front of Schönbrunn Palace?