Another thread from my novel in progress. .
Love this writing thing!
It was all too much to consider and answer here, sitting on a blanket with Frederika. Still, Oslo wasn’t that far from Hvitsten. How could she make sure that if she took the leap, she would still have at least a few visits permitted her in order to see her family each year? Like Fred had from Halvor, allowing her permission to take off now and then to see Nina. The truth is she was afraid of losing herself to someone else, like Frederika had lost herself to Halvor. She was afraid of putting herself on the shelf for someone else, of having to ask for permission for things. It seemed odd as an adult that she would not have authority over her own life. Her thoughts shifted to her Tante Liv whose marriage, she was told, had begun as the romance of the decade only to end up in an abusive power hungry struggle filled with misery.
As a young girl, Nina had witnessed Tante Liv and Oncle Bjarte’s strained marriage, the sharpness of tongue that Bjarte threw upon Liv when he was displeased with her. She never got any story right. He would correct her and interrupt her at every turn. Nina watched as Liv lost her voice over the years and ended up rarely vocalizing any opinion. The playfulness that she remembered of Liv as a young woman when Nina was just a little girl, had all but vanished. In its place was a pale woman that mostly obeyed her husband’s every whim and wish. She knew Liv was this way in order to keep the peace at home. Liv detested conflict. It made Nina sad to watch Liv transform from this vibrant young woman with the most amazing smile and laugh, into a silent soul in the background of their lives. It was a rare moment to hear her laugh anymore or to see her eyes twinkle as they had when they played and rode the horses together when she was a young girl. Bjarte and Liv never had children and Nina wondered if maybe this was a part of the displeasure and irritation that accompanied Oncle Bjarte everywhere he went.
She wondered what life might have been like if Liv had been blessed with a child or two. At least she would have a vessel into which she could direct her love. As it was, she knew that Liv primarily focused on raising the pigs and making a clean home for Bjarte. Their house was always immaculate and she wasn’t sure whether this was driven by Bjarte’s stern demeanor and demands or if this had been a natural inclination for Liv, perhaps a way for her to simply push forward and make life bearable. Bjarte walked around as if the world was against him and that his fate was to endure it rather than enjoy the many instances of beauty one finds when each dawn breaks.
Nina did not understand people who couldn’t see how amazing nature was and all that was within it. One only had to stop moving, look around and listen. Become aware of one’s surroundings. These experiences placed a struggle within Nina whenever she considered a life shared with another soul. If she committed herself to someone else, would that someone drain her of her own soul and energy?
At her age, she should be thinking mostly of the excitement of romance and the thrill of love. But unlike some of her contemporaries, she had an observant tendency and when she expressed those observations out loud, particularly at school, she would be chastised. She kept most of it to herself but was keenly aware of the downfalls of being partnered with a mismatched suitor. So she wanted to pace herself when it came to marriage and hoped that she would see signs of danger before it was too late for her. Until she found someone who seemed to share in her passions, she knew deep down that a partnership with the wrong person would be a life sentence of loneliness.