4 Control Over No Man’s Land
It was the morning of their fourth day of imprisonment. John woke up early, feeling tired and sick. Assuming that Julia was still asleep, he quietly and carefully got up and walked towards the bathroom. After washing his face, he went to the pantry and took out something to eat. While he ate, he moved back to his side of the bed. Julia woke up and yawned. ‘Good morning, Julia.’ ‘Good morning.’ She got up to go to the bathroom to freshen up and grabbed some food for breakfast. ‘How long do we have to stay here like this? I’m so tired. Three days have gone by, but nothing has changed. We’re just sitting here, frustrated and confused.’
‘You’re right, Julia…. Let’s play a game.’
’I’ll ask you five questions and, once you’ve answered them, you can ask me five.
‘That sounds like an interview, not a game.’
‘No, it’s a game. Look, if you get the answer correct, then you win a point. Whoever gets the most correct answers out of five, wins. Are you ready?’
‘Okay. I’m ready. You ask first.’
‘Okay, the first question is, whose company designed the Eiffel Tower?’
Julia laughed, ‘That’s so easy. It’s Alexandre Gustave Eiffel. I’m definitely going to win if you ask such easy questions.’
‘Okay, okay… you got a point. Now, the second question. How are you feeling being naked?’
’Ashamed? Is that it? I mean, everyone in this situation would feel shame, but don’t you feel anything else?
‘I’d have to think. If you want a better answer, then you have to give me time to explain.’
‘No problem. You’ve got all the time in the world.’
‘It was horrifying on the first day. Being naked in front of a stranger is horrifying and shameful. I didn’t know what was going to happen, whether someone was watching me, or worse, I was going to be raped. It was horrifying to think that someone was watching or filming me. It’s about my honor, my social status. What would you do if a video of you naked was put up on the internet? What would my relatives think, or my friends, my neighbors? What would it mean to be so exposed to society?’
‘Okay, so what if those things didn’t happen? Would you still be ashamed?’
‘I don’t know. I think I’d be less scared. If I felt safe, then I wouldn’t feel shame.’
‘Now, the third question. What’s your favorite thing to do?’ Julia laughed before answering, ‘I’m surprised at that one. I like reading books and watching movies.’
‘Okay, that’s four points. Two more questions left. How would you describe being alone? I mean, do you ever feel alone in a crowd?’
‘Alone? Yes, I feel alone. Since the accident, I always feel alone. Sharing feelings doesn’t happen with everyone; you need a special bond.’
‘Julia, I’m very impressed by your answers.’ Julia laughed. ‘Now, my last question of the challenge. Are you ready?’
‘Yes, I’m ready, John. Ask away.’
‘Okay. Do you believe in free will or fate?’
‘Thank God that’s the last question!’, Julia exclaimed. This time it was John who laughed.
‘I don’t know about fate, but I think free will is something we should believe in. I mean, if you wait for fate to bring you happiness, then it will never come, until and unless you work for it. I think everything is possible if you try for and you desire it.’
‘Hmm... you have a point there. Well done! You got full marks.’
‘Now, it’s your turn to answer my questions, but before that, I need a break. I’m hungry now.’
‘Me too.’, Replied John. Julia got some food and shared it with John. After they finished eating, Julia asked, ‘Can I copy some of your questions? I mean, they were really good. I want to know your thoughts too.’
‘No way! You can’t copy mine. You’ve got to ask me new ones.’, John exclaimed.
‘Okay, but I’m not good at asking questions. Anyway, here’s my first question for you. What is the real name of the actor in Fifty Shades of Gray?’
‘Hmmm, that’s a tough question.’ John paused while Julia impatiently waited for his answer. ’You’re taking too long! How can you not know the answer!? It’s such a popular movie!’
‘Oh, really? I’m actually not into movies. I barely know any actor or character names. I’m sorry, Julia, I don’t know the answer.’
‘Well then, I already got all mine correct, which means I’m the winner!’, Julia exclaimed.
‘Yes, you’re right. So, you’re not going to ask me any more questions?’
‘No. So, what’s my prize?’
‘The winner gets to sleep on this beautiful bed.’
Three more days pass. Both Julia and John are exhausted.
Night approaches as the room gets dark. John is exhausted, keeping the music playing in an effort to fall asleep. He paces on his side of the bed, before asking Julia, ‘Can I sit here?’ Julia nods. For the first time, John and Julia sit side-by-side, both silent. Julia still felt uncomfortable, knowing that if it were morning, she couldn’t possibly sit beside John like this. After some time, John spoke. ‘I just can’t believe what’s happening to us right now. What do you think, Julia?’ ‘It’s awful.’, she replied.
‘Right, it’s awful, but at least it’ll be an interesting story to tell someday if we ever manage to get out of this place. Anyway, Julia, you can sleep on the bed. It’s waiting for you.’
‘What about you?’
‘I’ll take the floor.’ Don’t worry, I’m okay with it.’
That night Julia slept peacefully, knowing she trusted this man.