~ Martha and sisters ~

The story of Martha and her sisters began at the residence of an ambassador, in one of the old ramshackle buildings, where everything smelled of fustiness and transience. It looked as though the high, spooky ceilings were built with the intention of collecting the traces of all the souls that traveled through its premises for decades. The jaundiced reproductions, framed by the ornate frames, contributed to the highness of the atmosphere, but the plastic flowers, which had come from all corners, pointed to its transience. The narrow windows were always closed because their tenants were afraid that some secret would escape through them if they opened them. Behind the thick walls and dense curtains, many performances were played, whose audience was mainly made up of moths and mites hidden in old, massive furniture. The quiet conversations at the round table interrupted only rare phone calls and intermittent short sounds that came from the direction of the old concert piano. Under that glass bell, Martha and her sisters grew up. Like dolls of colorful shop windows, they could only watch the world, but not touch it. They spent a part of their lives in isolation, separated from their childhood friends, with the explanation that this is the only way to the stars. They believed in it and followed this path without opposition. Their father, from their first steps and cognition, persuaded them that they were better and different from other children and that they were born to be princesses. Carrying the crown of special features of the little legs, they lived in fairy tales and grew with the belief that everyone, except them, is irrelevant on this planet. By virtue of their rich father and armed with ambitions, they could become whatever they wanted: singers, poets, and even scientists. He could buy every desire they wanted to get it done. For him, people were only chess figures, and life was an open field in which he constantly moved them and changed their positions. He easily sacrificed them for some of his victory. In everything and in everyone he saw pawns. Part of passion for gambling he passed on to life. Eager of wealth in his early youth and aware of his unenviable position and status, he knew that the only risk could lead him to the road he wanted to go. It was the only way that could help him to provide a comfortable life and existence to himself and his family. He did not hesitate. He started that way. Like all good chess players, he always knew who was sitting on the other side of the table and as long as he could go with his own risks. His defeat could only have been a draw. Ambitions led him to a high position in the country, which later enabled him to become the ambassador. Although a bad orator, and even worse foreign language connoisseur, he still managed very well in the role of the diplomat. He wanted to be seen, and he never refused offers and calls. Together with his daughters, he spent a large part of the day in front of a mirror. Every exit for him meant a ceremony. Constantly dressed in ceremonial clothes, he looked comic, but he also attracted attention. Patient and tricky, he used his position for various manipulations and connections with influential and rich people. He transformed each of these connections into a business. He was able to cut all the forests and explore the deepest layers of the earth to find treasure for his daughters. Everything was not enough to them and everything in this world in their eyes became overcome, boring and insignificant. It seemed as if they had grown old before time, as if they had burned out in their superficiality and self-love. The early wrinkles on their faces, caused by frequent unnatural smiles, were piled up like jewelry by which they filled their boxes. Martha, the oldest among them, led in everything, even in ambitions. She had a hilly body, hands like a woodcutter, rough voice and a word sharp as a saber. All the emotions contained in her were elementary. She compensated her shortcomings in expression with gestures. People were moving away from her when she began to talk, because she was constantly waving her hands as if she was catching words in the air. Overwhelmed with jewelry of different origins, she always smelled sharp and pungent, and her wide smile, decorated with rare teeth, never disappeared when it noticed the camera in the vicinity. Only the face, without eyes, took part in that smile. It seemed as if her eyes belonged to some other world, the far and her own. By her appearance, she differed from the sophistication and suavity of the environment. She caused ambivalent feelings in people. Some were watching her with ridicule and wonder, but there were also those who admired her persistence. She did everything the other ambassadors’ daughters do, without rebellion and rejection. Regardless of the fact that they were boring to her and that she did not follow and understand them, she always attended the theater performances, ceremonies, events, exits and gatherings of a high society. She worked tirelessly to become an integral part of that world, and with her persistent imposing, she somehow managed to achieve it. Her constant aspiration to be a leader was reflected in her attitude towards others. Who knows, maybe she saw herself in one of those life roles. Someone once said that people should never mock people who have a dream. Martha had no dream, but she had a goal. In her eyes, without gleam and inspiration, it constantly stood as a stationary point. The road that needed to go to that goal was just a routine for her. She was never burdened with superfluous thoughts. A programmed life, a predictable and secure future, a closed circle of people and a large sum of money, armed her with self-confidence. Being accustomed to following her father’s moves since childhood, she was always sure she would win. She approached every task as a robot. Although robust and heavy, after every stumbling, she easily stood up and continued on. In all this coldness and impersonally, deprived of conscience and emotions, there were still things that brought joy to Martha’s heart. She loved flowers and gifts. These may have been the only moments when the traces of some strange glow appeared in her eyes. These moments constantly reminded her that she was important and special. Being special is what her thoughts were constantly preoccupied, and therefore she was always unnatural. The lives of famous people greatly influenced her psychological development. She was constantly trying to imitate them, picking up and appropriating all the best of them, like collector, and she looked like a strange machine, made up of parts of various renowned manufacturers, which did not work. She was obsessed with the functions and all that came with them. The more the functions and the longer the list of the same, it was the goal to which she tirelessly sought. She ran for them like a dog. The president was her favorite word, which she most often mentioned. Being the president of something, whatever, in her opinion, is the meaning of life, because a man without a title is the same as a bird without wings? All of her titles and functions, as well as all of their shifts, she neatly recorded on all social media platforms. Still, most of all, Martha, like her father, loved watches. Large, golden, silver, heavy and striking, they were in line with her personality and influenced her very well to her self-confidence. In addition to watches, bracelets against spells were obligatory. Martha, her father and sisters, were convinced that they had to wear them so that nothing would go wrong. Though surrounded by contempt and the views of many hungry and humiliated souls, they were a harmonious family and did not look at it. Martha’s sisters went her way. They imitated her in everything, except in obsessions. They were obsessed with dresses. Nothing in this world could make them happier than full wardrobes. They were constantly opening and showing them to others, as if they were showing a trophy that was hard to come by. In those huge, bottomless boxes, there was everything and anything except the style that fled, confused with the colorful things that attacked it from all sides. They lived in some movie with a happy ending, in which every desire became reality. Arthur Schopenhauer said that every light that somebody turned on for himself illuminated later and others. Martha and her sisters bathed in the light of their father, which will probably brighten up their descendants. However, no matter how great they are, their successes will remain in the shadow of the way they were created. Although they completely forgot the scents of their homeland and went into some new and certain future, somewhere far behind them, there were remained a choppy wave of eternally confronted people and wilderness, from which, although they wanted it very much, they could not be released.
Martha and sisters, author Suzana Stojanović, November 28, 2017