Oscar had exercised a magical attraction on Vivien. Vivien felt so alive in Oscar’s presence. Daily routine became a great adventure. Oscar saw the world differently from most people. He was well read, had travelled widely, could tell stories excitingly, was passionate, held surprising opinions about every day matters and could conjure up out a nothing a magical world.
Who wouldn’t be fascinated. Vivien was 10 years younger and Oscar appeared to her like an oasis in the desert, like an unexpected present, that she had not deserved. Vivien was surprised that Oscar was interested in her and when they became a pair, she could scarcely believe her luck. The fact that Oscar insisted in keeping their relationship secret didn’t disturb her.
Vivien enjoyed the uncanny luck, which she had experienced, and spent every free minute with Oscar. It was never boring, quite the contrary. The more time she spent with him, the more her admiration grew for everything Oscar knew, experienced, did.
One Friday Oscar suggested they go to a music club. As he expected that some of his friends might be there, he demanded of Vivien that they both act as though they were good colleagues. No more and no less. Vivien saw no problem and so they both went. It was an enjoyable evening. The music was great, there were a few colleagues who knew Oscar and were very entertaining. As Vivien knew how important it was for Oscar to keep their relationship secret, she talked with many of those present and enjoyed the evening without coming into close contact with Oscar. It was already late when Oscar came over to her and it was obvious that he was very annoyed. He whispered into Vivien’s ear that they would now go home.
Vivien said goodbye and followed Oscar, who had already gone outside. He was not in front of the club and Vivien saw how, far ahead, he was marching towards the station. She had to run to catch him up. Scarcely had she reached him and Oscar started shouting at her. Vivien stood still, in shock. The jealousy scene that Oscar made in the middle of the night on the pavement, which was fortunately empty, was worthy of a great theatre. Vivien understood his reaction only in part. True, she had scarcely conversed with Oscar that evening, but hadn’t that been his express wish? He could have changed that himself during the evening. Why hadn’t he done so? Oscar shouted at her and Vivien kept quiet. And the quieter she became, the angrier became Oscar. Suddenly he raised his hand and his right hand struck Vivien’s face. Vivien, who had not expected the blow, fell down. But Oscar had already turned away and moved on.
Vivien felt blood on her tongue, because her lip had burst. She remained seated for a while and tears rolled down her cheeks and mixed in with the blood. It tasted salty and out of place on her tongue. Someone bent down to her and asked if she needed help. She said no and stood up. She refused help and called up an Uber to take her home.
The dream became a nightmare. Vivien knew that who strikes once, will strike again. That is how it had been at home. For years. Until her father died, when he threw himself in front of the train, dead drunk.
Who strikes once, will strike again, Vivien repeated to herself and deleted Oscar’s telephone number from her address book.
Image source: S. Hofschlaeger / pixelio.de