“I’m terribly sorry Crystal, you’ve known that this Cancer would not let you live for a long time, I’m sorry you’ve just got a few hours left”, announced Dr. Radisson. Crystal, lay still on her deathbed and tears ran down her pale cheeks. The pain and anguish that ran through her body made her feel weak and distressed. Her voice was just an audible whisper but it was already too late. She had to tell Alex everything, everything about herself and him. She turned to face him as she called out to him. “Alex, I have something to tell you, something you’ve always wanted to hear”.
Her mind felt heavy as she forced herself to think about the past. Her mind raced back to the Christmas Eve of 1939. As she turned down an Avenue her eyes caught sight of a house engulfed in flame. Her frantic footsteps automatically ran towards her house. Her mind grew stiff with tension as her velvet cloak swept the burnt carnation. She ran into her lane where she saw her husband being dragged out of the house. She immediately knew what was happening, but she couldn’t see the love of her life being tortured in front of her, she had to do something.
She ran towards Malthus and knelt beside him. The least she could do was beg those merciless Germans to spare him. She let out a shrill cry when she saw Mathus’s face drenched in blood. They wrenched her arm and threw her at the brick wall that Malthus and her had built. Blood trickled down the side of her lips as she felt a ponderous mass press against her body. She felt giddy as she was kicked towards the hard gravel in the porch over and over again. The Christmas goodies in her hand had lay on her side all crumpled.
She vaguely saw one of the men unbutton his shirt and unzip his pants. The man leaned down and grabbed her by the arm and pulled her from where she lay. She snapped at him and pulled her arm out of his hand and ran towards Malthus dead body. His eyes burned into hers as he looked down at her and grabbed her harder. Crystal could feel her chest tighten and hear the beginnings of a wheeze as she begged him. He grabbed both her arms, and then an instant later he tore the black cloak she was wearing in half, right of her shoulders, he stood naked and erect before her.
Tears slid down Crystal’s cheeks as she was helpless. He pinned her down with his powerful arms and the weight of his body. Her legs were swiftly parted by, his and he forced his way through her with more pain than she had ever imagined. He hammered at her again and again, tearing at her breasts, chewing at her lips, forcing him into her again and again, until she seemed to drift in a half state near death, wishing that finally, mercifully, he would kill her. He continued to pound at her, shouting and grunting and slapped her hard across her face and spat on her.
He left her lying there powerless, unable to move. The night was dark and cumbersome as she forced herself on her feet and helplessly walked towards the house. The cold breeze felt like needles pricking her skin. She curled into the armchair before the fireplace and thought of every special moment that she shared with Malthus, who was no more. Tears ran down her cheek as she cursed the German’s who had taken every memory of Malthus away from her, even her engagement ring. There was nothing she had of him but his memories. Crystal forced herself up the stairs into her room.
She opened Malthus’s wardrobe and buried her face into his shirt and she could still smell his strong perfume. Just as she was shutting the door of the wardrobe her eyes caught the sight of a velvet box in which lay the most memorable moment of her life. The day Mathus had proposed her he had presented her with a diamond necklace his mother had always worn before she died. Mathus’s house would drive Crystal mad; she had to move on even though she loved him. In a small leather suitcase she packed some clothes and an envelope consisting of a few thousand francs.
She knew where she was heading to; it was her parent’s home. She sat in her car and headed towards her parents house. The place had suddenly started looking different; the roses in the front yard did not bloom like they did before. Crystal took a few steps further as she reached the gate; she saw a number of people through the large windows. She squinted and concentrated but no face seemed familiar. She rang the bell and a stout man who answered the door told her that the house was taken away by Hitler’s officials and its previous owners had died.
Crystal ran towards her car and wept bitterly, she had lost her past, and she had no one to stay for and nowhere to go to, she was alone. She spent the night in the backseats of her car weeping. She didn’t know what to do; all she knew was that she had to leave Germany. She was a strong willed woman who just didn’t want to give up. She drove to the border between Germany and France. There was no oil in her car and she had gone as far as possible. She knew she had to walk her way. Crystal spent many nights finding shelter under trees and she survived on nothing but a few nuts that she’d find on her way.
She grew extremely weak and she had spent more than nine days this way. At last she reached the border at midnight as she crept below the barbed wires. She had reached France. She had to begin a different life no matter how she started. Crystal spent the next few months in a refugee camp, where she found out she was pregnant and the child was the German’s who had raped her. The shock was too much to bear but she knew the child was God’s gift to her. She had something to live up to. Life for this baby had to be beautiful, she wanted to give him the best and she knew she had to progress.
She lived there by cleaning dishes and washing clothes. The atmosphere created was rather unpleasant. They lived in tents built on soft mud. Crystal had never lived in such conditions before, insects had flooded the area and hygiene was not given much importance. There were two lavatories for 700 people and two nurses looking after the refugee masses. The refugee was one place she regretted being in, her face grew pale and all she had was stale pieces of bread an a piece of stale meat she adjusted to that way of life, but it was nothing like the finery she had experienced before Hitler’s rule.
After exactly 9 months and 5 days she gave birth to Alex. As she held the child in her hands she had felt a new wave of happiness and at that instant she wanted him to reflect Malthus. She wanted him to earn a good reputation in the world but she knew being a Jew it was impossible; she had to hide her past. As soon as she felt better she left the refugee camp in search of a better living. She caught the train to Paris and contacted one of her old friend who was with her in university, Matthew.
As she stepped down the train she saw a new rush of people heading to different place, everyone was so perfect; she wished Alex would be one of them someday. In the distance she saw Matthew waving at her. She ran down the railway platform with her heels cracking on the stone floor. She immediately knew Matthew was the friend she was in search of. With Matthew’s help she managed to send her portfolio in the top French modeling agency, Elle. Very soon crystal was all over the top fashion magazines in Paris. She modeled for Christian Dior and Estelle Lauder.
Just when Alex was old enough to go to school she bought an air ticket to New York and left him in one of the best boarding schools. She suddenly started seeing her dreams come true. She had her reign on the fashion industry over a decade. She had lived her dreams and annually she and Matthew would go to New York to visit Alex. She had been grateful to Matthew for he helped her through thick and thin. Alex had already reached high school and was a grown up. He realized his mother had worked very hard to bring him up and he also suggested working at a Pizza Place in order to get her some income.
There were tears running down Crystal’s eyes after looking at his concern but she had made enough to live her life. She had been in her late thirties by then but she had not aged a day she was still as young and beautiful as she had been with Malthus. She had just discovered that Matthew had loved her since University. He proposed her but she did not want to get into another commitment. Matthew was just happy to have her friendship and he told her he’d always be there for her. She moved to New York with Matthew. They bought a house in long Island and Alex moved in with them.
He had been studying law at the New York University and only had a year to complete his graduation. New York was beautiful. It relieved her of all her tensions, and she loved de summer sun, the warm neighborhood and most of all, it had been a home to Alex. In New York Alex had a life of his own and Crystal was an integral part of it. He had grown into a handsome young man who was seeing a beautiful girl from New Jersey named Julian. They had been in High School together and had been lovers ever since. Crystal was delighted to have Julian as her future daughter in law.
Crystal had lived her life; she raised Alex into a reflection of Malthus. Alex had always questioned her about who his father was and what had happened to him. She knew she couldn’t tell him the truth and shatter his life into pieces. She had to lie, there was no choice left. She had told him that his Father had been a pilot and had lost his life in an air crash. Matthew always urged her to tell Alex the truth, he had to find out one day, but Crystal always ignored it. She was scared to reveal her past to her only son; she didn’t want to lose him because he was all she had.
She had revealed her past only to Matthew, who had promised to keep it a secret. Alex was deeply in love with Julian and wanted to marry her, Crystal knew her son’s affections for Julian and decided that she would give Julian the diamond necklace that Malthus had given her, She had promised Malthus that she would give the necklace to her daughter in law, the day Crystal dies. The silence could not be broken. Crystal had revealed her hideous past, and Alex just respected her even more he knew she had made it through it all only for him.
Julian looked down at her mother in law with tears running down her eyes, she felt fortunate to be in a family such as this. Crystal had made her family, and in an odd way, Mathew was a part of it. She felt satisfied, she had discharged her duties, and she could feel the heavens call out to her. She handed Julian the necklace. Her eyes watered as she spoke to them, she couldn’t control her emotions she held them in for too long. Crystal turned back to the ceiling her eyelids fell with great ease as she let out her last sigh of relief, and the running tide had dashed on the shore of heaven.