And suddenly Klara realized that it could work because she imagined that she could share her worries and needs with someone, with someone who understood her work and also that she got up in the middle of the night because an emergency was brought to her. Why shouldn’t it be possible to continue to be committed in the same way and still allow an intimate relationship, especially with a person who understood exactly what was going on with her, how much she was touched and who sometimes brought her back? when she buried herself too deeply in it, when she lost a healthy distance and let the events get too close to her. How many people had she had to experience completely giving up on the task? And what about herself? Wasn’t the failure still gnawing at her, that of not having protected the little fox? Hadn’t she been so stubborn over the last ten years because she felt she had to make amends for something that couldn’t be made amends? Wasn’t that what she desperately needed, someone who would allow her to maintain a healthy distance without losing connection? But then wasn’t it a little like she was using Stefan?
Karla sat there for a long time, lost in thought. Stefan had endured this silence, from which he could read into the inner conflict. He was a very sensitive young man and could well understand what was going on with Klara. That’s why he gave her the time she needed. She finally returned to him mentally, ready to open up to him. She laid out all the doubts and questions, the hopes, and possibilities openly to him. “I think,” said Stefan lastly, “all of this has already gone through my head in this or a similar form. That’s why I understand it well. I’m ready when you are. Because everything that I could be for you, you can also be for me.” This is how a collaboration turned into being together in all facets. Klara was very grateful that she hadn’t rejected it from the start. The burden that she had previously carried alone was now shared among other shoulders. She felt lighter, more elated, and happier. And most importantly, she managed to forgive herself for not being able to save her fox. Stefan, however, knew he was both committed to the work and connected to it. It was arriving and staying and being connected, as he had always wanted. Everything seemed perfect.
Of course, the changes did not go unnoticed by Beate, who had been in love with Stefan for a long time. She did her work conscientiously, but with an unhealthy inner distance, because it wasn’t the reason that made her take on this job, it was Stefan. All this time she had hoped he would feel the same way she did. As long as Klara and Stefan were not yet a couple, she was able to maintain this hope, but the moment the two confessed to each other, their dreams burst like soap bubbles. What remained was too little to continue the work. When she didn’t show up at breakfast one morning, Klara went into the rooms that Beate had lived in. Everything was clean and tidy, but there was no sign that anyone had lived here. Apparently, she had secretly packed her things and left the yard. “It’s a shame,” Klara said to Stefan when she told him about the discovery. “Yes, but it was foreseeable,” Stefan replied to Klara’s surprise. “What do you mean?” she asked. “Didn’t you notice?” he said, amused by her naivety. “She didn’t put so much effort into her work because she cared about the animals, at least not primarily, but because she wanted to impress me to win me over. It may not be good to lose yourself too much in the task, but it is also not possible to take on one in the long term if you maintain too much distance from it.” “That means there is a healthy mix from closeness and distance. So much closeness that you can identify with yourself and give your best, even understand what the other person needs, but enough distance so that you don’t let yourself be consumed by compassion,” Karla summarized her thoughts. “You said it,” Stefan agreed with her, “A healthy ratio of closeness and distance is what makes it.”