Letter II – Anca Geambasu

Dear Kitty,

I received your letter and I must confess I was a little bit surprised. I didn’t expect you to be that brave and get so far away from home, but somehow I envy you. Things have changed since you have left, the atmoshpere in the house is more tense and suffocating than ever. I feel so loney and deserted…

The only friends I have left are those from my favourite books. As you can imagine, since not long ago you were finding yourself in the same position, I am locked with mama and her friends, preteding to enjoy their company. I am sick and tired of all this hypocrisy. I can read on their faces the disdain they carry towards me, and I know they do not appreciate me because I am not as beautiful as they wanted me to be, and also they interpret my innocence as foolishness. It’s funny to see the efforts they make in trying to be polite and gallant. All here seems to be just a failing attempt to live large. The girls are still only concerned about their appearance, the more fanciful garments the better, as if all you do is because you want to impress your future husbands. Even at parties, when they all sing and dance, you can see on their face the desire to be admired and considered worthy of respect. I wonder when this mentality will change, because after all these years things are just the same, as if our society hasn’t been afected by the pasing of time. The music that I played at the balls was for myself, was to enchant the soul, not the body, that is why I liked to play at the piano songs that inspired great deeds, but I guess it was in vain…

Despite our past, I am happy for you and I wouldn’t miss your wedding for anything in the world. In fact, I am eager to get away, escape the strains of this outdated mentality, and make, as you did, my own life without caring what other people say. I really need a change in my life, one that would make me feel an independent human being able to think for herself. Your escape inspired me, althought in front of the others I totally rejected your behaviour, and you must know that I empathise with your cause!

I think I also want to start afresh in Guayaquil since you seem so accomplished, and I am more than willing to start working with those poor souls you mentioned; but you should offer me some more details in order to make things going. Therefore, my dear sister, you will be my passport to a new beginning.

I am more than determined to take this step, to flush away the stinky life I’m bearing, to leave behind those who cannot or won’t understand that in this century moral progress must be made, and good causes must be fought.

I am looking forward to hearing from you!

Please send me all the necessary details for my coming to see you.

Yours,

Mary

River Guayas along Guayaquil from Cerro de San...

River Guayas along Guayaquil from Cerro de Santa Ana.

Letter I – Cristina Ene

Guayaquil

Dear Mary,

I know it has been a long time since I last saw you, and probably you are still angry with me, considering the way we left things. I’m writing this letter in an attempt to make peace with my past because I cannot live with the idea that my own sisters won’t talk to me. Maybe you do not fully understand my gesture, but I just couldn’t take it anymore. I was crawling in despair  like a prisonier trapped in her filthy cell with no escape whatsoever. You may thing of me as being a drama queen, but there are things you do not know. I know you believed all this time that I was living a perfect life back home, but it was all just a big lie.

At the last ball that I attended I met a not so young man, with not so much money, and as you may guess this wouldn’t have been such great news for mom and dad. I really enjoyed his presence, but because dad was reluctant with my going to Mrs. Wickham’s balls I suffered greatly because I couldn’t be around him anymore. You may think of me as a foolish young woman who gets herself into trouble without reason, and you may also think that I had no reason to cause such a fuss, but love is blind to rational arguments and financial issues. Our society frowns upon such way of thinking and I tried to comply to the general rules and not bring shame upon my family, but there comes a time when one must follow her own road and make some steps without being forced to do so. You may not agree with the road I took, believing that it leads to nowhere, but actually it leads to a merry happy life.

Since that snowy Christmas Eve I am a different person. I gathered myself and decided it was now or never. I put on the best attire, comb my hair and told mom I was going to buy some gifts that would be stuffed under the Christmas tree. Instead, I went straight to the airport and booked a one-way ticket to Guayaquil, the city where Anton was about to be transfered that winter. I was so terrified, but as soon as I set foot in that land I knew I had taken the right decision. It was summer there and all those warming people helped me start a new life by accepting me. Anton was surprised to see me there, although he had hoped for my arrival. Here, it is warm all year round, and I can go to the beach every day. The first weeks after my arrival we visited a lot and I got acquainted with the surroundings of the city. Anton started working and I voluntared to teach English to children coming from poor families. I cannot tell you how satisfied I feel with my activity knowing that I can be of use to those needy people. Anton is doing great with his job and we managed to get our own house, so here we are more fulfilled that anyone would have thought.

Now, we are planning out wedding and what’s a wedding without its family??! I would love to have you around in the happiest day of our lives and let’s overcome all this prejudice that has caused so many riots.

Hope to hearing from you!

Sincerly yours,

Kitty