ETERNAL HEIGHTS
- by Anshul Gandhi

 

This is the story of Mischa Volsky, a young girl who was born and brought up in a small province of Russia. The story has been presented in a fragmented fashion through the recollections of her friends and close ones along with her own thoughts.

Mischa : I was finally reunited with my mother on the 27th of May in the year 1987. It was supposed to happen exactly two years before that day, but He (God) had some other plans of his own. What He gave me in those two years was supposed to be a dream,but as it turned out, it was my worst nightmare. I still donít know why He did that. All I asked Him on the 27th of May 1985 was to show me what happiness meant before I set out to meet my mother. He granted me that wish, but. . . . it didnít stop there. Maybe that was His way of things, the way of all things - with every happiness, comes an inherent sadness.

 

Sergei : Everything was so perfect. We were doing so well together. I found in her a friend I was looking for all along. But then, I had to move.

I chose my career over her. I am sure she understands. Infact, she would always have wanted the best for me. I know that. I still remember the day we met at high school. It was the first day of school and I had just broken up with Elena. I was feeling so awful when all of a sudden I saw Mischa. She was looking even more awful than me. Thatís when I introduced myself to her. From then on, it had been a steady ride.

But when I got my chance to move to Moscow for higher studies, I knew the ride was going to come to an end. I just didnít have the courage to say it to her. I know that she would have advised me to go ahead and complete my studies, but I also knew that I would not have been able to stop her from crying, and I just canít see her sad.

I am happy that Elena helped me out by consoling Mischa. If it wasnít for her, I donít know how I would have been able to tell all this to Mischa. Elena was the only one besides Natsya who knew about Mischa and me.

Maybe I will still meet Mischa some day. Maybe we can ride together again. Maybe.

 

Mischa : When Elena told me that evening, that she had something to say, I knew from her face that she had some bad news. But I never thought it would be that bad. Sergei was my only hope. I found in him a companion who would walk by me in the best and worst of times. But, all of a sudden, he changed his path. I had a fear that one day this might happen, but I just wasnít prepared for it. Maybe I never could have been.

 

Natsya : No one knew Mischa as well as I did. I am her cousin. After her mother left, I searched all over the village for her, but I couldnít find her. I cried all day. Maybe He was listening to my prayers. I found her the other day near the Eternal Heights, the only place in our village thatís worth seeing. It was called so because of its deep fall over the edge of the mountain. Mischa always went there in the evenings and stared into the clear waters. I donít know what she looked for in it. She always told me that someday she would merge with the Eternal Heights. I never understood it back then.

But on May 27th 1987, I understood everything when I saw her footsteps leading towards the Eternal Heights. There were no footsteps coming out of them.

She had finally merged with the Eternal Heights.

 

Mischa : When people told me, on the 25th of May 1985 that my mother had gone away for a few days and would return soon, I knew they were lying. I knew she had been suffering from a fatal disease and that she would never return. The next day, Natsya found me at the Eternal Heights and took me back to her place. She also made me join high school the other day. Thatís where I met Sergei. I was always a reserved person and I wasnít feeling very well that day. But, he was so friendly and looked so caring, we instantly connected.

That very morning, on the 27th of May 1985, before going to high school, I decided to end my life at the Eternal Heights to go and meet mother. I knew I would find her easily. She told me that she would always wait for me. But, I felt as though He didnít want me to meet her so soon. He had some plans of his own. When I met Sergei, I thanked Him (God) for giving me a new hope. But then, it didnít last long.

 

Elena : You must all be thinking that the story is done. But I have a confession to make.

When Sergei and I broke up on the morning of 27th May 1985, he told me that somehow things werenít going very well between us and I agreed. We didnít feel for each other that way anymore. We decided we could still be great friends and he did. Only, I never could. I couldnít forget my love for him. Though things had changed, I somehow didnít want to let go. I just couldnít.

You know, when we broke up and whenever I looked at Sergei, I felt that destiny had been rather harsh with me. I had to see Sergei everyday and I knew that he was still the same nice guy. If only I had felt some anger for him, if only it would have been his fault, I could have blamed him and not destiny. That way, I would never see him again and I would have easily gotten over him. It still pains me to think of him.

And when Sergei told me about his plans to move to Moscow, I promised myself that I would do everything in my control to avoid Mischa from suffering from the same pain that I still bear today. Thatís when I decided to help Sergei out by telling Mischa about his decision. But I never told her the truth. I didnít want her to feel the same pain. Instead, I told her that he was moving to Moscow because he was fed up with her childish manners and that he had decided to take up further studies to leave the past behind him. I could see the agony in her face. I told her to forget him and that he wasnít capable of her love. Later, Natsya told me that Mischa left the village to look for her mother. I think she must have been separated from her mother during the Civil War. I am sure she must have found her in the neighboring towns somewhere. I am just happy that she didnít have to face what all I faced.

But I never told anyone about Sergeiís reality. I wanted everyone to despise Sergei, something which I could never do, and maybe will never be able to do.

 

Mischa : I never thought that Sergei was so bad. I thought he loved me truly. But when Elena told me everything, I couldnít digest it. I knew that it felt like a fairy tale all along but, I just wasnít prepared for all this. Thatís when I decided to do what I had set out to do two years back. After all, what did I have back there to live for. Nothing. At least I could hope to find my mother here, and I did.

I met my mother up here, waiting for me. I never looked back at anyone after that. I just didnít have the courage. Mother tells me that someday her turn might come, or maybe my turn would come and He (God) would send us back to earth in a new form.

I just hope I donít remember all this. Mother says know one will remember anything. But I just canít believe anyone anymore. Is it my fault ? . . maybe it is. Maybe.

 

I wanted to present the innocence and helplessness of Mischa as best as I could. The story's essence was inspired by the movie "The Grave Of The Fireflies." . The story represents the cruelty of situations at times and how easily one can become a prey of it. There isn't much of a moral in the story.

The Eternal Heights thing was inspired by The Shimmering Sands from Wilkie Collins'  "The Moonstone".

Elena's part wasn't needed but it was required to keep Love away from blame. It was due to Elena that the blame shifts from Sergei's lack of love for Mischa to Elena herself. I didn't want to put a bad name to love in any way. That is why I needed a negative character. Yet, in her own immature way, Elena did whatever she had to not out of vengeance alone, but also due to concern for Mischa.