There was once a young man named Anton who was torn in equal measure by his desire for love and his desire for possessions. All his life he was given very little love by his family and so it was always the one thing he longed for most in the world and spent his time wandering from woman to woman seeking to find it, if only for a little while. In place of love he had grown up watching his relations trample over one another in their attempts to secure possessions, each wanting better and more grandiose items than the next and so without him knowing it, this desire crept stealthily into his heart until he began to believe that the more he acquired the more successful and worthy he was as a man.
As the years went by and Anton grew older, he collected everything from trifles to expensive cars and even a boat. Until one day this man met a woman, who as time wore on, began to love him with the kind of love he’d been searching for all his life, the love he had forgotten about while chasing after his treasures. The woman, called Alice, grew very close to Anton and learnt of his unhappy childhood and she came to know the good and the bad, the kind and the wicked that lived inside him and none of it bothered her, in fact she loved him even more.
Anton could not believe he had found at last the thing he craved most and wanted to marry Alice and spend his life with her. Alas, the course of love never does run smoothly and as it happens another woman entered his life. This new woman, Greta, was not as attractive or as sweet as Alice, and by all accounts did not love Anton with the intensity of the other but she was incredibly rich and had in her possession more money than Anton could ever dream of making in his lifetime. For weeks he struggled over his love for both these women and his want of what they both had to offer him. Finally his greed got the better of him and he settled on marrying Greta, so he could reach the height of his success, surrounded by wealth. Indeed his family were very charmed and the marriage was a huge and luxurious affair, 700 guests attended the ceremony, the bride’s gown alone was made of French Chantilly lace and pearl satin sewn together with platinum thread, they had cheese, caviar and specially crafted chocolates flown in from far and wide. And the families, they got along as merrily as the couple themselves, outdoing each other with tales of their own richness, competing in superiority but in the most jovial way with big bright smiles and hardened, envious eyes.
At this point you might be wondering what happened to Alice? She broke off all ties with Anton when she heard of his decision from her neighbour and not from the man himself. Every class has at least one thing in common and that is among them a coward. And because that was exactly what she thought of him she didn’t allow herself to dwell to long over the loss and within a year was happily married to another.
But Anton did not share her good luck. He thought that once they were wed Greta’s wealth would be his too but she was not so generous and kept every penny of her fortune securely in her name and ownership. From her dear husband she expected the world and as a lady who had only the most expensive tastes her husband had no choice but to supply her with all the comforts she had grown to enjoy all her life and very soon Anton found himself in debt as his expenditure was leagues out of his income.
One day, over dinner at the home of her father, there occurred a conversation that went like this:
‘’I’ve been thinking,’’ began Greta, ‘’that we really ought to buy a house of our own.’’
‘’Very good idea darling,’’ said her father, ‘’perhaps somewhere nearer to me? I think I saw a house for sale not two streets away on Kipling Avenue. We could go have a look later.’’ Because whatever Greta wanted, Greta got, without any concern for Anton’s opinion. He felt more and more since their marriage that he was only there for decoration.
‘’Oh! That’s exactly the house I want! I saw it on the way over here and that’s what got me thinking.’’ Greta replied.
Her father smiled, ‘’ Then that’s the house you will get. The Smiths lived there for twenty years, never had a problem. It was built by Germans you know, a very sound house.’’
It was here that Anton spoke up. ‘’ Darling,’’ he called her darling but never meant it, ‘’maybe we should talk about this, hm? Think it over a little. I don’t know yet what the house will cost.’’
Greta waved him away like she did at mosquitoes, ‘’ Oh who cares? You’re still rich aren’t you? You can buy me a house can’t you?’’ And two sets of eyes stared at him waiting for a reply.
‘’Of course I am rich dear, but we have been making a lot of expensive purchases lately, and all the holidays we’ve taken…’’ He hoped that would be enough for them to realise what he was trying to say but rather than understanding his wife dismissed him.
‘’Oh who needs you!’’ She shouted and turning away said, ‘’You will buy me the house then, won’t you Father?’’ To which he answered yes and so Greta got the house she wanted while he lost his wife’s respect.
Such was the way things went for Anton, he was regularly dismissed in front of all her rich friends and family, his comments counted for nothing and sometimes she even went away on holiday without him.
Anton began to think more and more about Alice and regretted his decision to marry Greta, life among all this wealth was not as nice as he thought it would be. He searched for Alice and eventually found her in a shop in town, just a week before she was to marry, but she looked so radiantly happy he changed his mind at the last second and left without her having seen him.
On the day of their first anniversary a creditor stopped by their home and informed Greta of the huge debt due by Anton, who was avoiding him and disgusted with being married to a poor man she kicked him out of her beautiful new house that very night. And so the creditor took all that was left of his possessions, Greta had spent all of his money and Alice left with all her love.
Anton was never seen or heard from again.
All creative content on this blog by Fadila Henry is licensed under aCreative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.