Michaela Merz

The gilded cage

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PwC_fl_30mmh_cClaude and Lisa both went to university. Actually Lisa was the cleverer of the two. That was evident in the seminars they both attended, and their marks. Both were not only clever, but were also good looking and came from solid middle-class families. Fate had been kind to them. No-one was therefore really surprised, when shortly after completing their university studies, they announced their marriage. We celebrated together and welcomed their restrained but obvious happiness.

Both started their first jobs and made good progress. Then Lisa became pregnant and I never knew whether it was planned or unintentional. But I didn’t dare to ask Lisa such a question, because she would certainly have been angry. She always did the right thing in her life and for her an unintentional pregnancy would probably not be really the “correct” thing to do. Lisa decided to remain at home. ”A child needs its mother,“ she used to say and looked at me reproachfully, because I left my children with a child minder and continued working.

In the meantime and much faster than me Claude made a fantastic career and soon earned so much that they moved up into the league of the big earners. Lisa bore another two children (just as I did), travelled the world with the whole family (whereas I went to my parents for the summer holidays) and in a three year construction project converted a villa into an elegant bijou with a view over the lake. With the help of my aunt I had just been able to scrape together my savings for the minimum capital to buy an attached single family house in the country without a train connection.

Seen from outside, Lisa had more or less everything that a person can ask for. Three wonderful children, a successful husband, who had married her for love, a lot of money. Still I always felt less and less that she is really happy and content. With all that money she became aloof.¨I was just about OK, but too odd to be still called a friend. But I observed how her relationship with Claude became ever wanner, off-hand and unhappier. Lisa herself became a snobbish, never satisfied lady, with whom I had ever less in common.

This went on for years and I asked myself how she was able to bear it in her gilded cage. And then one day Claude packed his bags and left her for a livelier, not much younger woman. Lisa’s world fell apart. First she was angry and acted like a fury. She threatened Claude with the worst consequences, including “stripping the last shirt off his back”. Then she fell into unending sorrow and cried without interruption. It was too late and it could no longer be patched up. Claude was happy and finally gone.

Today Lisa has completed an additional training, found her feet in the profession and has moved into a smaller apartment in the middle of the city. She is again the person she was at the uni. Lively, open, still a bit reserved, but above all happy again.

Image source: Marlies Siegert  / pixelio.de

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