A Twist of Fate no.12 – „Travels”

The three of them were good friends, and they traveled across the entire world in search of happiness.

Their travels began a couple of years ago, as soon as they reached adulthood and their parents told them they could go anywhere they wished to find a right place for themselves. The young men didn’t have any specified aims or ambitions but they didn’t hesitate about the proposal put forward by their parents, who promised that each month they would send them money to make provision for them and let them keep on traveling.

You can be who you want to be. If you only set an aim for yourself and keep striving to reach it, you can make it. We believe in you, and we’ll help you,” their families said to each of them while saying their goodbyes.

So the three friends traveled around the world, being confident about their own capabilities and quite sure that someone would notice them and, in some inexplicable way, decide to include them in a group of people destined to be happy. A full year ago, they left Paris where the consecutive days merged and their great expectations became muffled by the sleepless and raucous nights as well as the surrounding bliss of idleness. Now, they were running away to Arles, promising themselves it was that one and only place where they would spent their lives. However, they had already done so in many other places in France, Spain, and Italy. They devised long-range plans and managed to persuade their friends and families to keep supporting them financially since they would repay them twice the amount as soon as they would make it good, which in accordance with their expectations was supposed to be happen shortly. Persuasion was their forte; they could make people believe in them, even if their blueprints looked viable only on paper and then vanished in the fog along the way, similarly to a runner who’s perceived as a good sportsman until the moment he crosses the start line.

As the train headed further south, the sky’s blue seemed more intensive, olive trees appeared on parched land, and small hills became covered by large grapevine farms, bathing in the gold light of the huge sphere of the Sun. The air vibrated and whirled to the rhythm of the cicadas’ singing.

Gentlemen, have you ever heard about those unusual insects? They spend a dozen or so years underground, and then they come out and continuously chirp for a couple of months,” spoke to them a red-faced ticket inspector, whose typical appearance didn’t resemble anyone in particular.

The friends nudged each other, feeling a puff of something new ahead of them and being enchanted by or even paralyzed with the new opportunities waiting to be taken out there. Although they didn’t know what they exactly expected from that city, they remained in the hope it would give them what they were after.

There was a commotion caused by a crowd of passengers getting off the train when, among the blows of the train whistle, the three friends took their suitcases, shook off the dust from their tails, put their hats straight, and caught a hackney carriage which would take them directly to their new home. On their way, they pointed fingers at certain pedestrians who seemed interesting and admired the old monumental buildings. When they arrived, they paid the hackney driver and immediately started to furnish their new apartment, making cursory comments about this and that.

Are there any artists in this city? If there are, I’d like to meet them. I heard about someone named Van Gogh; I don’t know much about him but I’m certain he’s an interesting man,” said Gerard, stroking his bald patch. He was an unfulfilled painter who always thought he deserved more than he actually got.

I hope it will not take me longer than several days to write a story with the action taking place here in Arles. I will write more of them, and in a year’s time I will find a publishing house. Nobody will be capable of refusing to publish my stories,” said Gerard, who sometimes remained unnoticed due to his short height. He was a writer despite the fact that, at a first glance, he didn’t seem really committed to anything at all. He never experienced any problems with writing but he had issues with expressing or even formulating his opinions. He tried very hard to conceal that.

I will finally have time to think, ponder over life, and, who knows, maybe I will also find my religious vocation,” reflected Michel, twisting his funny black moustache even more. Since his childhood, he had always wanted to become a monk and live peacefully but there hadn’t been a single day he wouldn’t give in to pressure exerted on him by his friends, who would encourage him to think it all over again and try to give a new shape to his life. So he kept starting from scratch, sometimes not even reaching the point where he should have started.

The next day after moving into their new home, the three friends began to seek happiness once again.

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Michel spent most of the days indoors, telling the others he thought intensely and this way he would arrive at the conclusions no philosophers would ever think of. No one denied he was a wise man but, quite awkwardly, he believed he was capable of achieving everything by means of the visions created in his mind. He put about that he wanted to become a monk but, to be frank, he didn’t go to church much, not mentioning any attempts to find his vocation. He suffered from paraplegia which impaired his ability to move but it wasn’t such a hindrance for him as it used to be. As a child, he had been laughed at, and the other children had never bothered to wait for him. They just had gone playing, leaving him alone. The tragedy of his childhood was a thing of the past but it still had left a characteristic stamp of loneliness on him, along with a sad look, which was either a sign of pessimism or a hidden ability to pierce everything through.

People don’t change. Everything they do, they do it for themselves. However… you know, people often change and…”

Michel was becoming more and more cheerful, switching tracks of his reasoning and arriving at the conclusion that life was like a carpet, although he wasn’t able to explain why he thought so. He enjoyed the process of creating visions of the future, which he would never realize. It seemed like he didn’t need anything else, like he was just sitting comfortably in his easy chair and didn’t know what he wanted, at the same time not being obliged at all to find out since his family still maintained him. How mistaken we would be to think so. Michel not only fought himself but also kept running away from his grandmother, whose formidable and venomous letters pursued him around the world, strangling and suppressing all his desires. Shortly after his birth, his grandmother had produced a list of schools and universities that she had believed Michel would have to graduate from in order to learn how to live and find happiness in accordance with certain rules. She had also designated him to take the position of a lecturer at one of those universities in the future. Neither Michel nor any other member of his family could stand against her until he had reached maturity and his parents had decided to send him on a journey, believing he would see the aim of life when he would find himself close enough to it. He tussled both with his grandmother’s plan, following him everywhere like a shadow, and his own undiscovered desires. In Arles, the situation didn’t change, and he still didn’t know what to do. So he would stay home most of the days, being helpless like a castaway in the middle of the sea. He disappeared for a couple of days only once – he received a letter notifying of his grandmother’s demise, which was caused by a drunk carriage driver. When he returned, his friends were convinced he would change, taking the final shape like a lump of clay after being repeatedly modeled, but nothing more than a glass of Irish whisky, ordered instead of absinth in the bar around the corner, portended the change.

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Little Gerard worked his fingers to the bone. Every day, he had long walks and took lots of notes on the way. On Saturdays, he sat down behind a mahogany desk, took out his golden pen and a notebook bound in soft skin, and attempted to make use of those notes. Then, his friends would rather hear persistent silence than a sound of scribbling on paper. Gerard himself was very uncertain of his talent but, in the end, he preferred to be uncertain than conceited. However, he was petrified with fear every time he sat down to write something. He was pestered by paranoia that made him believe his brain was shrinking and that he kept systematically losing good words along with their importance and meaning. Still, he tried very hard but thinking came to him with providently hidden difficulty, the broken-off sentences came and disappeared like a mist, and when he would finally hit upon an idea, he usually found that same idea in one of the books he recently read. He read a lot and devoted more time to planning what he would write than actually writing anything. He mourned the fact he could have accomplished so much if only he had been somebody else, living in a different place. Aversion to people and the world was being nourished inside of him; sometimes his mouth produced poisonous and bitter words. His mood kept changing like the pages of a calendar being torn off every day. He pretended to be sad while he was actually happy, and he was bursting with joy, becoming the life of the party when he was sad. Nobody could puzzle out who he really was and who he pretended to be. More importantly, nobody knew what he was after. He never expressed his feelings because he found it dangerous. He grumbled about his life and employed his fantastic memory to take delight in immersing himself in the past, reminiscing the long-gone love he had never fully experienced. He would bring back the neighbors’ daughter to his mind, along with her maroon curly hair and large green eyes. He recalled the moments he had spent with her and reveled in that painful day when she told him he had always been nothing more than a friend to her and, furthermore, that she had strived to come to like him every day. While he was reminiscing and reliving scenes from the past, he realized that the only worthy literary work he had written was the story based on his own experiences. So he wrote another few and took them to the nearest publishing house, being absolutely convinced it would bring him a huge fortune one day.

I’m terribly sorry, Monsieur, but our publishing plan has already been accepted and there isn’t a single spot for a young, unrecognizable writer. We have just reduced the price of Boccaccio’s “Decameron”. I’m sure you would like your book to be priced twice that amount. Does it mean it’s twice as good?” said the man behind a desk with an emotionless voice, throwing just a quick glance at the manuscripts and not even casting a single look at Gerard. He moved his hand slightly in a gesture that was supposed to encourage the writer, who had excessively high expectations, to leave the room as quickly as possible.

Gerard came out into the sun-flooded street, went past the amphitheater where a corrida was taking place in a few days, and spent the rest of the day walking along the Rhône. Finally, the sunset chased away some of the gloom and made him smile. He couldn’t understand how come the man in the publishing house ignored all the things he had gone through before he wrote the stories and the great deal of energy he had expended to produce them. Luckily enough, during the next couple of months, Gerard met some positive people who promised him they would do everything so that he could become the greatest writer of his time with millions reading his works. As a novice in his profession, he firmly believed their words and could almost visualize the steel wall, which stood between his ambitions and the things to be achieved, falling to pieces.

The most colorful and the funniest figure from among the three of them was the other Gerard. His baldness was not the only distinguishing feature of him. He was incredibly full of vitality, welcoming each day as if he had just seen the world for the first time and separating his life from the past, all the troubles, and the unnecessary worries. He was a painter, at least he tried to be one, but he painted only on rare occasions and although it could have been quite interesting, nobody had a single chance to see any of his works. What is more, he was persistently mistaken for his friend, the writer.

Gerard?” asked the baker. “Is that you walking in the street every day and putting about how great your stories are?”

No, I’m Gerard. I mean… the other Gerard. I paint. Gerard is my friend,” he explained patiently despite the fact he was certain the baker with large, ever-surprised eyes and the Mona Lisa smile would ask his friend the same question the following day.

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Gerard admired Van Gogh. He tracked and followed him passionately, from the yellow house to the places where the painter laid out his canvases. While walking along the nearby street, he would carefully observe each move of the brush made by an undoubtedly talented and, at the same time, distressed painter, who was yet to become appreciated. Gerard was fully aware that none of his paintings would ever go down in history but he was an artful and street-smart man so he came up with a solution for leaving his own mark behind. He would await the right moment and then walk into the scene Van Gogh was painting, staying there for a longer while and being a single figure among the crowd of nameless passers-by, and the only one whose presence was not accidental. This way, Gerard went down in history, immortalized by the unaware Van Gogh. His silhouette can be noticed in “The Night Café”, he’s a companion of the woman in “The Starry Night”, and he was also hiding among the flowers of the “Flowering Garden” but he was too concerned about disturbing the composition and the lack of resemblance between his head and any flower in the garden. Gerard was very proud of his achievements and enjoyed bragging about them in front of his friends but soon, he forgot both about Van Gogh and painting for which, according to him, he didn’t have time. Analogically to Paris, he threw himself into a whirl of rollicking dances, becoming one of the most recognizable figures in Arles.

A year after the three friends arrived in the Provençal city, the bubbles with their illusory dreams burst. Michel still preferred staying at home; he even started to write letters to his old friends, in which he blamed them for his current situation, dissociating himself once and for all. Little Gerard didn’t achieve anything with his writing, while all those wonderful people who had promised him so much and had initially been so engaged suddenly disappeared without a notice, leaving him all alone. Bald Gerard didn’t become any better, nor any greater, but was actually back to square one, which meant passive excitement at all novelties and amazement by Van Gogh’s not giving up.

Have you ever been pondering about the meaning of life?” said Michel one afternoon when a strong wind was blowing and the overall mood was exceptionally bad. “Have you thought about it… that things just cease to exist? About death? But more importantly, do you know what you’re going to bring God on the day of your death? Have you done anything worthy of that?” Michel would have made a great preacher if he’d only let those words influence himself. Yet, he didn’t relate to his own life and just kept complaining about being very important but unnoticed. “All we want is to fully exist and stop losing our way in the mist. Nothing more. Here, write down your thoughts on randomly chosen pages,” he added, handing his friends a small notepad. In his judgment, putting words in writing was supposed to anchor them in reality and make them break away from their habits and repeatable activities, enabling them to feel what life is and to learn what they want from it. For the time being, not a single word appeared in the notepad.

The three friends continued to live their lives and with the money received from their families they could afford the luxury of a permanent search of employment. They weren’t certain of who they were anymore – Michel stopped talking about becoming a monk, Little Gerard abandoned writing, claiming he had always wanted to practice law, and Bald Gerard hardly ever showed himself at home.

Their unspecified ambitions and expectations drowned in emptiness. Too much freedom didn’t bring them much good but rather bitterness and an even greater incompetence. They wandered around the streets of Arles, not having the faintest idea about what to do and being unable to name their feelings. In the daytime, the ubiquitous futility made them long for nighttime; while at nights, when they met people that would be instantly forgotten, they missed the daytime and were simultaneously frightened by it, being unable to comprehend what they were taking part in, what they were doing, and what was going on around them; they were barely alive due to the fear of the undefined loss. They didn’t even talk to each other, living jauntily and rather comfortably, devoid of the desires to accomplish anything in their lives.

Little Gerard found pleasure in arguing, and Bald Gerard would close the door to Michel’s room every night, being convinced he wanted to have them closed; however, Michel would open them immediately. With the history going in small circles, the persistent recurrence of identical situations confined the three friends to a cage. There was no key to the lock and no way to escape. Ordinary things gained a magical aspect for them. When they were bored, they would invent various games, finding a couple of balls and throwing them in such a way to make them land as close as possible to the pine cone, or they would start a fight in one of the nearby bars. They lived from day to day, being unaware of their personality and their destination; still, they didn’t feel the need to have such knowledge. They didn’t write letters to anyone because they couldn’t stand waiting, they hated the things they had been told as children: “life is out there, you just need to be patient.” Since they were of no particular value for others, they remained safe.

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Autumn came round. The three friends visited the wilderness of Camargue from time to time, observing the flamingoes and galloping across the vast plains. They kept looking for inspiration, a sign that would show them the road to follow. During one of the long Saturday nights, they met Francois – the mysterious man who sparked a number of half-legends circling around Arles. He didn’t look like someone who would tell others about the things he really did. People said he walked the plains of Camargue every day, shooting birds with a double-barreled shotgun.

I like you very much,” he said to his newly acquired friends several minutes after meeting them for the first time. “You’re talented, each of you. I’m glad I met you.”

It wasn’t a one-night pseudo-friendship. From that moment on, they would meet Francois quite frequently, and soon he began to accompany them each time they went out to have fun. Little Gerard claimed that Francois was one of the best people he had ever known, or at least a man who deserved the greatest respect from other residents of Arles. Thanks to him, he managed to shake off his depression and the aura of dark pessimism, which had surrounded him since the day he had received the publisher’s negative answer, the day when he had abandoned writing. Francois couldn’t understand the reasons for which Little Gerard had given up. He tried to convince him to write new stories for so long that the writer finally yielded to his suggestions and accepted his argument.

You’ve got talent, buddy. You can’t just waste it,” said Francois one afternoon when they were sitting in a café. “Keep writing. Never stop believing, never. I’ll help you. Just listen to me carefully. If you bring me your stories within the next few months, I’ll do my best to let others know about them. They’ll get published.” He said those words with such bright confidence that Little Gerard didn’t have any other choice but to believe him. It was exactly what he needed – someone who would appreciate him, notice his abilities, tell him to keep doing what he did, and help him with that. He squeezed Francois’ hand gratefully and dashed back home, being so overwhelmed with excitement that he wasn’t able to focus on anything.

Good times came for the three friends. They weren’t alone among the indifferent crowds anymore, and they stopped being the procrastinators who didn’t bother to do anything particular due to being convinced that others would do everything for them. Somebody put his trust in them, and they began to perceive their own dreams as something that could actually come true. They stopped moaning, complaining, and producing endless “if-only” sentences – they got down to work. Fate had decided to give them a chance and they didn’t intend to let it slip.

Little Gerard began his day shortly after midnight, writing unceasingly until morning, when he took a break to eat breakfast, drink several cups of coffee and go for a short walk, after which he continued writing. Occasionally, he came out of the house without saying a single word, holding the notebook under his arm, and returned with an ear-to-ear smile – most probably, there was a trusted person in Arles who read his stories and judged them. He was known for being rather distracted: while eating his dinner, he didn’t give much thought to the food he was consuming so his cotenants, as his best friends, couldn’t make do without playing tricks on him. When he sat down in the armchair to ponder over the plot of another story, he took great pleasure in stroking the coarse fur of the dog that snuggled to his leg. He had found the dog in front of the house one day and, since he was rather soft-hearted, he took it in. He boasted to his friends that he didn’t even have to look out the window – all he had to do was to ask the dog: “Is it raining?”, and it would answer him: “Yes, it is.”

Bald Gerard seemed to have witnessed the revelation with an angel telling him that his earthly mission was to become a painter. He painted like a madman, barely leaving the confines of his workshop; he would even ask his friends to bring him dinner. When he finally stuck his head out, he wouldn’t make more than several steps before he ran back home, crying how beautiful that scene was, how great the colors were, how fantastic the light was, and that he needed to immediately transfer all of that onto the piece of canvas. As a painter, he was obsessive and never gave up, not even in the face of receiving exceptionally bad opinions concerning his work. He repeated all the time, sometimes even talking to himself, that he would become famous in Arles by the end of the year, just like Francois had promised him.

Michel would probably continue his ruminations if it hadn’t been for the fact that one morning he banged his head while getting out of the bed and soon afterwards, he discovered that he could beautifully play the harpsichord. From then on, he played in cafés and gave a number of concerts at private parties. In the end, he landed in the church, however not as a priest but as an organist, being very proud of himself since people didn’t leave when he started to sing. It was the first such time in his life – he experienced a little bit of happiness and support of other people, which allowed him to temporarily become the person he had always wanted to be.

In November, Little Gerard delivered a selection of his best stories to Francois. He had put his heart and soul into those stories, incorporating himself and his entire life into them, and taking great pains to create something beautiful. His feelings were too close, making him unable to notice all of that – it all came to light in his writing, though. Francois promised him that he would take good care of the stories. He also took the pictures painted by Bald Gerard, claiming that he wasn’t worthy of such great paintings but would nevertheless make them famous. Apart from that, he became Michel’s manager, navigating his career and showing him how to make money, thus proving their power.

Life was good for them. They could feel happiness breathing down their necks; they almost completely subdued themselves to the vision of imminent bliss. Days were ticking off quickly but they didn’t remain unnoticed anymore, they didn’t shoot past them like shadows. If they had spent those weeks in different circumstances, they would have been a real torment but here, in Arles, everything was suffused with optimism.

The three friends began to sort things out with the hope they would be able to stay in Arles a bit longer or even make it here to a ripe old age, naturally a happy one. They made friends with their neighbors, acquainted themselves with the local customs, and eventually knew the streets of the city so well that it seemed as if they had a map of Arles at the back of their heads since the day they had been born. Michel found love – it was a funny woman who cared about everything and liked to call him “crackers” or “nutty”, and he loved her even more each time she did that. His friends envied him, but only for a moment since they would quickly immerse themselves back in work, waiting for the great day when their efforts and talents, which had been exploited to the limits, became noticed by others.

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Everything would still be just fine if it hadn’t been for a rather bulky letter from Little Gerard’s parents, delivered one chilly December morning. It was immediately snatched by Bald Gerard who had always been avid for the news. He carefully opened the envelope and examined its contents.

Look, they’ve sent you a book!” he shouted in excitement, as if he’d never seen anything like that in his entire life. “It’s written by Francois, can you believe it? Francois! I didn’t even know he could write! Incredible!” He opened the book with great reverence and began to browse it, reading single sentences from randomly selected pages. “Stories. Very good ones. I’ll tell you straight that I’ve never read something like that. But wait… Let’s take a look at the letter from your parents…” Little Gerard didn’t move, placing confidence in his friend and letting him open the letter. “So… they’re not writing much. They’ll come here soon, certainly. Apart from that, they’re sending you a present so that you can see the best stories of our times and maybe you’ll learn something…” Bald Gerard gave the envelope along with the book back to its original addressee.

Little Gerard took them rather half-heartedly, telling to himself that his parents didn’t know anything about writing since they hadn’t seen his own stories, yet. Nothing narcissistic, rather soaked with satisfaction. However, it was sufficient for him to take a quick look at the book’s cover, its title, the rhythm, the epithets, the selection of words, and the construction of sentences – suddenly, he sprang to his feet and flung the book against the wall, yelling at the top of his voice, shouting so loud that a group of curious passers-by stopped under their window in order to see what was going on.

These are my stories! He published my stories under his own name! And my parents… my parents tell me that’s how I should write… Crook! Liar! Thief!” He flung the window wide open. “I will kill Francois! Do you hear it? I will kill him!” He kept shouting until he strained his voice and exhausted the entire reserve of insults. As a result, people in the street started to hurl insults back at him, complaining that he created a disturbance.

A disturbance? The public order? What value did it have, anyway, if one couldn’t even express himself while he was getting ripped off his own success? If the real hero became public enemy number one? How can anybody sleep unbothered at night when someone’s dreams are getting crushed and the entire life of that person is getting buried at a quiet ceremony, with no one coming? What kind of public order is it if everybody is locked up in their rooms?

Several days later, Bald Gerard learnt that his paintings had been sold for considerable amounts of money but none of the buyers knew the real name of the artist. Not a single coin landed in Gerard’s pocket. Strangely enough, all the cafés closed their door before Michel, nobody asked him to play on wedding receptions anymore. The girl, who had been so much in love with him, left him, claiming that his efforts had been insufficient, while she actually hadn’t done much herself. All their friends disappeared suddenly, nobody wanted to keep in touch with them anymore. The three friends seemed to have withered away from existence, and the meticulously constructed faith tumbled down along with the persistently built-up hopes, like a house of cards that lacked a crucial element, or yielded to a strong gale which came in the most critical moment.

They furiously crisscrossed the city, looking for Francois. They could see his spirit-lifting smile, his friendly eyes as well as all those shiny false diamonds, gestures, and his fallacious, empty words that had successfully cast a spell on them. Without much effort, they found him sitting leisurely among a group of people on the bank of the Rhône. It appeared as he had been purposefully waiting for them, sending them disdainful smiles.

I like you very much,” he repeated the words he had said to them during their first meeting. “You’re talented, each of you. I’m glad I met you.”

Then, the friends threw their weight at him in an unbridled fury, hitting him with all the grievances and accusations, the entire malice they bore towards both their rescuer and torturer. However, they were clearly down on their luck on that day since the large group of Francois’ companions pleaded his cause and helped him knock the living daylight out of the three unknown young men, giving them such a beating that they would never resemble themselves. They lay on the grass on the Rhône’s bank until a couple of beggars took them back to their house – in the door, they met Little Gerard’s parents, who were terrified at first but quickly waked and called for the nearest doctor. They stayed with their son and his two friends until they fully recovered. Then, being convinced they were perfectly capable of returning to work and their usual lives, Gerard’s parents left them alone and said that beginning with the New Year, they wouldn’t send them money anymore. They didn’t want to hear any explanations, either.

On the last day of the year, the three friends wanted to get their lost lives back, start again from scratch or at least somehow return to their previous lives. They went to the New Year’s Eve party but they neither danced there nor had any fun; they just stood by the wall, in the place where nobody could see them, resembling the ghosts that observe the world they had already left. They returned home around four in the morning only to find their rooms emptied of everything: all the valuables, clothes, and even the wonky chairs. Somebody robbed them, leaving a happy-new-year note on the door.

I think we can go now, shall we?” said Michel in a sad voice. The others nodded their heads. With their strength flagged, they couldn’t bring themselves to shout furiously.

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Although they were enfeebled and not able to see the point of living anymore, they continued their travel. They fell victim to a diabolical joke; fate inflicted great pain on them and made a laughing stock of them, having surrounded them with falsehood and emptiness, having made them believe they could achieve everything on their own if they only believed, strained every nerve, and held their hands for happiness more boldly. As it turned out, it was not the right time nor place. What they lacked on the road to their dreams was a bit of support, a single chance, one good man, at least one positive thought. They say we can’t always get what we want. If we have what we need – it doesn’t depend solely on us.

The three friends grew a couple of years older, returning to the starting point. They still didn’t know who they were, what they wanted, and where they should go. Apart from uncertainty and dubieties, hatred and aversion to the world surged up in them – they didn’t trust other people anymore, they didn’t even trust each other and their own dreams. Bald Gerard came to hate his paintings, Little Gerard detested his stories, and Michel wasn’t able to look at the harpsichord anymore. They deprived themselves of dreams and goals, they became devoid of the vision of themselves, which they had intended to translate into reality. The reason for doing such a thing was the desire to avoid another disappointment; they didn’t want to be the tragic characters in a drama, the end of which they wouldn’t even see. Balancing on the verge of an abyss, without any support, a rock they could grasp, they became homeless and nameless vagabonds. They became nobodies, they didn’t own anything – with nothing to lose, they were capable of anything.

Soon enough, their families learnt about their fate, found them and took them back home, where they tried to restore their self-confidence and will of life. It took several months but eventually the three friends raised from fall and continued their travel with their former perseverance and doggedness. Each of them managed to find a well-paid job, and soon they met good people as well – they got married, love gave them happiness, and they lived on, continuing their travel, each day trying to get as far away from their past as possible. The past, how awkward that was…

Thirty years later, while the three friends were playing cards, a journalist knocked on the door of Little Gerard’s apartment in Paris. Slightly surprised, they let him in and once they handed him a cup of coffee, they asked him what brought him.

You wrote fantastic, timeless and immortal stories. I’d like to help you get them back and achieve the recognition that unfairly passed you over,” he said concretely, squinting his eyes like a cat.

I don’t know what you’re talking about.” A tiny spot of light appeared in Little Gerard’s eye, resembling a flicker of fireworks being launched into the sky, but it quickly withered away; Little Gerard provided the journalist with a prompt answer and escorted him back to the door. When he returned to the table, the three friends resumed their game, as if nothing particular happened.

The three friends met on a regular basis. Each of them had a son, and their sons made friends with each other as well. Little Gerard, Bald Gerard and Michel often talked to them. The boys loved their father very much. Once they reached adulthood, they set off on a trip across the globe in search of happiness.

Nico Cigale

(Mikołaj Wyrzykowski)

To be continued

The whole noel can be purchased here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00W63AV26?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

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