The night passed by, sleepless and rippled. When the first sun rays lit through the window and it became day, Perun was more tired than ever. Somehow he managed to get up and get ready for work, get into his car and drove to Zagreb.
During the day he didn’t think about anything, but to his work. It helped him calm down a bit. After his working hours were over, he returned to Bedekovcina. The house was like he left it in the morning; when he entered welcomed him his messed bed, because he didn’t make it before he went out that morning. He had his supper and sat down to rest. It was already twilight and he went out to walk around the lake.
There was no one at the beach at kilometers. Perun took off his running shoes and his socks, took them in his hands and started walking barefoot on the grass. He felt pleasure from the touch of the wet grass and he was walking until he had enough; the cool made him feel there were other things in the world besides suffering. He then exited on the road and started to return home.
He wanted to have some sleep, but he wasn’t sleepy. He went to his bathroom where his box with sleeping pills was and he took one. He started making his bed; but as he was taking the sheets and even them, the memories of the last night horror returned and he became aware that the bed was rising awful feelings in him. He was looking at it, and it looked like a freshly dig grave to him. He couldn’t lie there, he was afraid. Will he spend the night in that bed? Perun disgusted that thought.
Instead of sleeping, he took his laptop and sat on a table. He started working on the sales data waiting for him to analyze them and he got deep into his work; outside got dark and night was progressing. His eyes became heavy and he felt closing them…
Someone’s voice distracted him from his sleep. “Perun! Perun!” She shouted quietly, but loud enough to wake him up. He opened his eyes and saw Malina, dressed in a grey dress with unbraided hairs looking at him gently and smiling.
“Malina, are you a dream or really here in my room?”
“I am really here, Perun. I came for us to continue our conversation!”
“I feel awful! Whole day I saw things, which in a way, meant something bad, although I couldn’t remember what. Every word I heard was unpleasant”.
“Do not be afraid, Perun. Your soul is hurt, and it is fighting to get well. You went through great trauma, and you need time to heal”.
“Yes, you are really right. Ariana really broke my heart.”
“Her name was Ariana?”
“Yes, she was from Dubrovnik. She was the most beautiful girl I have ever seen. When she agreed to go out with me, I was the happiest man in the world”.
“It’s hard to be like that! But I am not an ordinary girl. And why did you separate?”
“Malina, that is what is bothering me. I started thinking about it the same moment she wrote it and I still think about it. Seemingly, our separation was an ordinary thing. She wanted me to take her skiing in Italy, and I spent the money on this house instead. But, few words in our farewell message had upset me. It said “if you wonder why, blame yourself.” Here, this troubles me.”
“Do you blame yourself for something?”
“Sure I am.”
“Share it with me!”
“Few months ago, Ariana was shooting a movie in Montenegro and I stayed alone for a weekend. I was bored and I went to a nightclub to have a drink. I met a girl there, she was drinking at the bar next to me. I asked her to dance with me. Soon we were surrounded with merry people clapping at us. We relaxed and stayed up late. On leaving, I escorted her home… and it happened.”
“You cheated on Ariana”?
“It was one night stand, Malina! I was drunk. I went home in the morning and never called her again.”
“Is that what you blame yourself for? Did you tell her what happened?”
“No, I didn’t tell her anything. That is my best kept secret and you are the first to know. But Ariana has friends who know that girl! It is quite possible for her to have found out about my adultery. Then planned revenge for a long time, and here is what happened!”
“Perun, I doubt it. It can’t be true”.
“Oh, you don’t know Ariana! She is a cunning, sly girl whose greatest pleasure is to play with a man’s feelings to show him everything depends on her and it can be her way, if only she wants it! If she really found out that I cheated on her, woe is me!” Here, this is what she would do to me.
“Looks like your Ariana was a very bad girl, Perun” , laughed Malina.
“Ariana was a bad girl, but I was even more of a bad boy”, concluded Perun quietly. "I feel so guilty".