I always believed that a great writer is as good in heart as his most beautiful positive personage and in the same time as wicked as his worst character, or as naïve as his most innocent, an so on. He can really – and should- be anything and anyway he wants to be.
No wonder that most of the stories are written from the THE GOOD and STRONG one’s point of view.

The last book I’ve read, PROMISES (Chaterine Gaskin) is of course about a good person, a young woman Lally, not a beauty (the writer is trying to be modest I think), but a smart, calm, generous and… humble woman.
I found little things in common with her.  I could identify my self with Alice, not because of the name but because of the chances she got, her incredible luck and unexpected love.  She died somewhere at the beginning  of the story.
Is it just me or is it true that in most of the stories there is an Alice, a weak woman, who’s destiny depends only on chance? Is it that all the writers choose this name- with all it’s variations- for most of the crazy female characters, not bad ones, but with deep problems.

Another  character was Margaret, a striking beauty, generous, but hard headed. She reminds me of my cousin, Oana, same age as I am, a natural beauty, with that glow only a good person can have.

I remember one time, in the summer of 1988, when we were together in a camp, somewhere near Sibiu: happy like two little birds, among other kids. She was my best friend and our mothers –sisters- used to dress us with the same clothes so we would look like twins. Only I was a skinny little thing and Oana had an angelic, round beautiful face. Everything looked great on here when I was like a boy with a skirt. But that didn’t matter for me as long we were together.

One day she came to me to ask for my slippers. She wanted to give them to her new friend, the daughter of the head teacher. I refused, but she insisted  again and again. I was so furious that this thing is so important to her, so annoyed that she would ask something like that… I slapped her. Yes, I did! Straight in the face. My palm was hurting. She didn’t cry, or at least I didn’t see that. She was so surprised, amazed of what just happened. She left saying nothing, together with the other girl who was trying to comfort her.

After that, I started to cry, alone. A teacher came to see what happened thought that I was the victim. I told  her the truth so no one got punished.
Later that day, Oana came to me, like nothing happened, to ask me if I want to came to play by the river. Yes, I wanted, I would swim for her in the middle of that fast cold river. But I never said “ I’m sorry”, even though I wanted to and she never said a word about that day.

Black Jack is the strongest male character of that book. He kept the family together with a strong but gentle hand and the only person I could think of is my grandfather from my mother line.

He was a short man, few years younger than my grandmother whom he adored, always working, doing something important and serious, always happy and correct.
He was a psalm reader and he had only one black suit for the church.

One day- I was 5 I think- I was with Rada, a little gipsy girl, the daughter of a neighbour, playing brides. She was wearing an old white curtain around her shoulders  , I was dressed with one of my grandfathers white shirts. The new one, so you see… I was very proud of how I looked!

We didn’t know what a bride should do once she’s dressed in white, so we went to the swamp, playing with the mud, having the time of our lives. 
Back home my grandfather was looking at me in disbelief: he was upset but trying not to smile. Probably I was looking quite interesting with those bare dusty feet, mud up to the head and that dirty shirt with too long sleeves.

He decided to be serious so he sent me to wash his shirt again and again until it was white. That was impossible so I had to start to cry and say I’m sorry.
The hardest words for me to say, even now…

John was the first son of Black Jack- a rich good fellow, good husband, a good father. He married Lally and died soon after the birth of his son. Totally uninteresting.

But the pain of Lally… all those unsaid words, the feeling that you cannot do one damn thing about it. That I can remember.

Don’t read that book. It is captivating but it finishes with a happy ending.




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