A FRESH WATER SPRING
Ruth had married very young to leave a family where no one had never cared for her, where indeed she was also mistreated. In her family of origin her life had always been hell. Of course, if as a child and as a teenager someone had asked her what plans she had for her life, she couldn’t certainly have answered that she was thinking of a family of hers, with husband and children. Yet at the age of seventeen she had married, and she had not married for love either, and not even because she wanted to have children and husband. Getting married was the easiest way to get out of her family. Her marriage had been a disaster. Ruth had married to get rid of parents and siblings who mistreated her and she had ended up with a husband who beat her, who spied on her, who didn’t allow her the slightest freedom. Ruth had run away, bringing her child, of a few months , with her. She had been arrested for child abduction and locked up in a psychiatric hospital. Her life continued to be hell. Since she was sure that she would never have been released from the asylum, she had run away. She had taken care not to leave traces, so that no one could find her again. Surely Ruth still had illusions about her parents, about her brothers, about her husband, since none of them had thought of looking for her. She was gone? But that she also went to hell! None of them had worried that something bad could have happened to her, that she could even be dead. If anything , it had been the opposite: all of them had wished she had died.
Ruth kept wandering for years from one country to another. She lived as a homeless in Prague, Paris, Berlin. She had never forgotten her child, who had been taken from her, when the baby was a few months old. Ruth could never claim the right to see him, since by law she was no longer the child’s mother . In her wandering and troubled life the thought of her child, Peter, was something comforting, giving her courage, helping her to live. For her having him in mind , hoping to be able to see him again , was as thinking of a glass of fresh water for a thirsty person, or rather of a clear, fresh gushing water where to find refreshment. Ruth, obsessed with the hope of finding her son (child) abducted in Budapest a child in which she thought to have recognized her child Peter. It had been almost funny to…kidnap that little one. Oh, but that she had kidnapped him, they had told so ( it), those who had arrested her. Since when she had brought that child with her, Ruth didn’t think she was kidnapping him at all. Yes, she was convinced that the child was her son Peter. Of course, he had grown up, now he was able to walk…oh, but he had the same face, and same eyes, and same mouth too as Peter. Ah, no doubt that child was her son, who had been unjustly taken ( away) from her and now she was taking him back. She saw that child as he was walking across a large square, held by the hand of a young woman , who dragged that little one, since she seemed to not worry at all the child could not keep up with her, so that he remained behind her. Oh, but why doesn’t she pick the child up? Doesn’t she see that the poor baby can’t keep up with her? This had been the first thought Ruth had had when she saw that child. Then , watching him, within a few minutes she had felt her heart leap. Oh God! But look…the rounded cheeks, and the chin with dimple of that child, oh, but they were identical to those as her child. Ruth had gone before that child, close to him and the little boy had smiled at her, putting the little finger at the corner of his mouth….That gesture what a thrill had given to her…. how many times had she seen Peter make a gesture identical to that!
It had been easy to pick the child up. The woman who was holding him by the hand, dragging him behind, she didn’t pay any attention to the little one…It was evident that she did not care of about him at all. She held him ( the child) , indeed she dragged him by the hand as she would have done with…a suitcase. Ruth took the child in her arms and ran away, being behind the woman who, when she realized that the child was gone, started screaming, asking for help. Perhaps she ( that woman) had pointed to her, Ruth, as the kidnapper of the child, since she had to have noticed her( Ruth)who was running away, almost folded in two. People there in the square had started running and shouting at her, but now Ruth was far enough , she had come out of the square, and had taken refuge , she and the…kidnapped child, in the first door she had found open along the street. It was a great multi-story building with elevator. Ruth , to escape from people who were chasing her, she got on the elevator, and pressed the button for the thirteenth floor, that was the last. Meanwhile the child had started to cry, and, crying, he kept calling : “ Mom! Mom!” Ruth took care to reassure the little one, and, as she cradled him in her arms, she repeated to him that oh, but she was his mom ! Didn’t he recognize her? Wasn’t he Peter, her little son from whom she had been separated years ago? The child was looking at her with wide eyes, at first almost incredulous, even frightened. But then, when he started fiddling with the buttons of her shirt, he began to look at her with trusting eyes, smiling at her. He kept calling : Mom! Mom!, but he stopped crying. She, Ruth, felt so happy! Oh, she had found her child finally! Now no one could take him away from her anymore! They would stay ( be) together forever! But , what strange, the elevator kept going up, never stopping, How long did it take to get to the top floor? Was it possible it took so long? The elevator, after continuing to go up for a time which seemed interminable to Ruth, it stopped just a moment and started to go down. But what was happening? The elevator after going up started to go down again, then it went up again….It had taken to going up and down, almost uninterruptedly. Ruth was more and more worried. Her child was now laughing and stammering words, but indeed pieces of words, which she was not able to understand. Oh, her child seemed to have a lot of fun…
The elevator kept on going up and down and then up again. Even if it stopped, for a few moments, before starting to go up or down again, the door never opened. Ruth she felt trapped, she knew she was a prisoner in that elevator, from which it was impossible to get out. They wanted to drive her crazy, like when she had been locked up in an asylum. What could she do ? Just now that she had found her child, now that she thought she had made it out of the hell that her life had been until then. Ruth looked at the child who to her was Peter, her son. The child in the meantime had fallen asleep in her arms. He was sleeping peacefully, serene, as if he felt safe there, in her arms. Oh, but he wasn’t safe either, if they couldn’t get out of the elevator. Ruth also knew that getting out of that elevator ( it) would have meant for her to be locked up again. They would have locked her in jail or, that would be even worse, in an asylum. The elevator kept going up and down, she couldn’t see a way out. Ruth dropped to the ground, with the sleeping child in her arms, and she fell asleep too. She dreamed that she was walking barefoot in a vast , arid, dried plain, where there was not even a blade of grass. It was a kind of desert. The soil ( ground) burned under her feet. It was furrowed by deep cracks. Ruth was tired and very thirsty. But she kept walking in the hope of finding , sooner or later, water with which she could quench her thirsty and refresh. Suddenly in the blinding light of the sun, beating grazing on that desolate land she saw something shimmering. Although she was exhausted, she started running and , as she approached that something shimmering and clear, which appeared and disappeared in the sunlight, it seemed to her that, but yes, it was water, water which gushed from that arid, desolate land. A miracle! That gush of water, falling to the ground, formed a pool, almost a small lake. Only when Ruth arrived very close that water, she realized, if she had time, that it was not a pool of water, gushing from a spring, but it was a sewer. In the rush to get to what she believed (it) was a spring of water Ruth put her feet in the sewer, into which she plunged.