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“We are seeing you every weekend, at the moment,” Lucy said to Verloren.

“Yes I have made an ongoing arrangement with Farkas,” said Verloren. Maria’s ears picked up. She didn’t have a good feeling in her stomach. “I am doing a project with his garden and I am going to use it as a feature in one of our magazines. I come to Waldmeer every weekend now as there is a great deal to do and I have very big plans.”

“Well, that’s terrific for Farkas,” said Lucy. “He gets free gardening. Who wouldn’t want that?”

“Yes, it’s more than that,” said Verloren a little sheepishly, although, sheepish was not in Verloren’s nature. “We are paying him a considerable amount of money, as well, because otherwise he wouldn’t do it.” Returning to her confident, bouncy self, she added, “It’s all worth it, Lucy, because I want that particular garden and the result will be stunning.” The feeling in Maria’s stomach got worse.

That evening at dinner, Lucy told her husband about Verloren’s project in Farkas’s garden.

“Yeah, I already know,” said Lenny. “Farkas’s neighbour told me. I don’t understand it. Who would pay that much money to work in someone else’s garden? Does she fancy him or somethin’?”

“Lenny!” scolded Lucy. “Of course not. People like Verloren don’t ‘fancy’ people. They are all class.”

It only took a few months for Verloren and Farkas to establish a pattern which would remain constant their whole relationship. Verloren knew Farkas did not respect her. That caused her pain. She wanted respect and, even more, she wanted love. If the pain had been unrelenting and unchanging, it would have been easy. We leave situations that are constantly painful or we seriously change them. However, the Greyness is more deceptive than that. It prolongs its lifespan by throwing in occasional light. Those moments of light give us the illusion of hope; that we can eventually get what we want from the same scenario. The few moments of tenderness from Farkas fed Verloren. She, in turn, guarded the relationship jealously, believing those moments could become more. She, particularly, hated it if Maria was ever mentioned. She would brush off the conversation as being boring. If people could kill, without going to jail and, perhaps, without getting their own hands dirty, they often would. Human nature is like that.

Farkas told himself that it was all about the money. Maria could not help feeling that it was not good for Farkas to have Verloren as such a constant in his life, regardless of how much money it was. Farkas’s control of Verloren was less than he imagined. She would certainly work against, even if unconsciously, any real improvement in his life. One bit of light leads to another and it would have led him away from her. It was the opposite of a healing relationship.

One day in the cafe, Verloren walked past Maria briskly and the cups went flying. Verloren didn’t apologise or even seem to notice. Maria looked upset. Lucy was not a brave person, particularly, to someone with as much personal power as Verloren. However, Lucy’s mother-instinct came out.

“Are you alright, Maria?” Lucy asked pointedly. It was the first time Lucy had even vaguely challenged Verloren.

Verloren was quick to turn to Lucy, “I’m sure she’s fine. She is much tougher than she looks.” She softened her voice and smiled, “Poor Maria. You have had enough challenges, haven’t you, dear girl? Why only the other day someone said to me, ‘Maria has had such a marvellous recovery from her accident, although, she is quite different since the accident. Her parents must, sometimes, wonder if it’s even the same person!’” No one said that to Verloren. She wasn’t even sure where it came from, but it came, and she used it. It came with a purpose.

Lucy smiled weakly and said, “Yes, we are lucky.” For some reason, she didn’t feel lucky. Her words felt like water dripping through the cracks. The poisonous seed had been planted and it was already taking root.

Those few sentences had the power to change Maria and Lucy’s relationship. Lucy couldn’t seem to turn the tide. She kept thinking about it, repeating it in in her mind, ‘Her parents must wonder if it’s even the same person.’ The problem was that there was a little too much truth in it and it wasn’t a truth that Lucy could handle.

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