Eveline – A different ending

Her time was running out, but she continued to sit by the window, thinking about her past and her future. Everything was very confused and her thoughts got muddled with the odour of cretonne coming from the old window curtains, where the layers of dust marked the age of the old house and beat the passing of the years. Suddenly she heard in the avenue a street organ playing…she knew very well that air: she had heard the same melancholy air of Italy in the night of her mother's death, a tragic death that ended a life of hardship, sufferings and humiliations. She seemed to hear again the voice of her mother saying with foolish insistence: "Follow your dreams! Follow your dreams!".

She stood up in a sudden impulse of terror. Escape! She must escape! Frank would save her. He would give her love and a respectable life. She wouldn't suffer the same humiliations and pains of her mother. She could be happy, she had a right to happiness, she could be save in Frank's arms. He could save her.

Duty, duty…till that moment her life was only a duty. It was made of privations and sufferings. The perpetual repetition of the identical and the sense of duty had paralyzed her, had made her unable to take the reins of her life.

Escape. I must escape. My mother, her mother. She had forgotten her words, but that air of Italy…right in that moment. She had to change, she had the right to chose her life. Escape. Frank could save me.

He stood among the swaying crowd in the station at the North Wall. He was alone. Eveline was not there. The boat blew a long mournful whistle into the mist that made people and objects pure contours without substance. He was not waiting for her. He knew she wouldn't come. He went up the boat but suddenly he felt seize by a hand…her hand. She had decided, she had left the nest, following her dreams. Her mother was right. Tomorrow she would be on the sea with Frank, steaming towards Buenos Ayres, starting another life with Frank. She had a new home waiting for her. She would be married and people would treat her with respect. She could be happy…she should have no longer fear of her father's violence. She could be safe. A new life for her.

He sat at the window watching the evening invade the avenue. His head was leaned against the window curtains and in his nostrils was the odour of dusty cretonne. He was tired. He was still waiting for her to return. But he didn't know that now she was far. All the seas of the world tumbled about her heart, shaking her existence. She fled from him. She fled away.