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On My Own

It was true that Maria no longer had to deal with the challenges that Amira brought into her life. However, what Maria did not foresee was that much of the life she loved had been created by Amira, not by her. Those parts of her life were fast dismantling.

Without Amira, Maria was a kind, uncomplicated, and natural young woman but nothing more. For all Farkas’s resisting it, the thing that drew him to Maria was Amira. Amira could help him in a way that he could not help himself. She saw him as he truly was. Maria, on the other hand, could only see what was before her eyes. Farkas had no need of a twenty-one-year-old girl in his life. He could run rings around such a person.

Maria hardly saw Farkas in town anymore. She walked past his house on the hill, sometimes, to see if there was any life there. It looked like no one was ever home but she couldn’t be sure. Maybe, he had gone away. Maybe, he was just sitting in his house being a recluse. Maybe, he was having a fabulous time doing all sorts of fun things. Wherever he was, he had made himself invisible to Maria.

As for Gabriel, he soon noticed the change in Maria. He didn’t know why it had happened but he did know that he felt bored around her now. Too kind to tell her the truth, he casually mentioned one day that he had lots of work in the city at the moment. Charlie told Maria that Gabriel was busy with his city friends. Whatever he was busy with, it wasn’t Waldmeer and it wasn’t Maria. I guess Gabriel doesn’t need the friendship of a young country girl who has only ever worked in the local cafe, Maria thought. On the odd occasion, Maria would see him from the cafe window when he was in town. He didn’t let me know he was here, she thought sadly.

Maria supposed it was a consolation that Elise and the other girls of Waldmeer, also, had lost interest in her. They no longer bothered to give her sideways glances, speak in hushed tones, or make a point of looking straight past her as she passed them on the street. It seemed no longer necessary to undermine her.

Although a little puzzled by Maria’s sudden character reversal, Lucy and Lenny had become used to the unexpected from Maria. They decided it was best to go with the flow. It was their saving grace in life.

Charlie still loved Maria but, these days, she talked to her more as a little sister than as an equal. Or perhaps, rather than an equal, it would be more correct to say that Charlie previously treated Maria like a rarity, such as one finds in an old op shop, to be treasured.

It was a revelation to Maria that even though people, sometimes, found the Amira part of her uncomfortable, unpredictable, annoying or illogical, it was also the part that people had the most faith in. Their faith was not misplaced. It was Amira who loved the most, forgave the most, understood the most, laughed the most, and had the most to give. Those who felt they had too much to lose by Amira’s presence, targeted her as an enemy. Now, both friends and enemies were gone.

Maria didn’t blame anyone for losing interest in her because she even found herself to be somewhat lifeless and lost. She wasn’t exactly unhappy with herself but she felt she was a shadow of the person she had been. She started walking on the beaches after work. She walked a lot. She was looking for something. She wanted to be predictable and constant like the waves rolling in, one after the other, peaceful in their constancy. She needed silence. She got it.

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