Lucille is satisfied with her life. Not happy, but satisfied.
She has never really known what happiness meant. It is something that lasts for a short period of one’s lifetime and disappears. Happiness is a moment, not a state of being. There are many things that can make you happy. Your heart races, your mouth curves into a smile, sometimes even your eyes tear. And then it’s over.
Lucille never thought much of happiness. She never thought of being happy as a life goal. Naturally, you want to experience some wonderful moments, but that just happens along your way through life. Her goal was to be successful. And one could say that success made her happy, but for her, that would be an understatement. Success lasted longer. It made your life better. It made you better. It was something you could hold on to.
All of this makes Lucille sound like a cold, shrewd person. But it would be wrong to say that. There are people in Lucille’s life for whom she cares deeply. She would do everything to help them in need, and she observes them carefully, paying attention to every detail of their life. Maybe that is a part of her problem, if problem is what you wish to call it. She observes too closely. Observes and draws conclusions, because that is what a scientific mind always does.
As only a child, she observed her parents as their marriage fell apart. Her father was a kind, loving person, and that is not an idealisation. He already had a son before he married her mother. He always said how she made him believe in love again, after his first love left him to take care of a baby boy alone. That first love of his was a mystery for Lucille. She only knew that the woman broke her father’s heart. She never saw a picture of her, she never knew how she behaved, what she liked to do, what she hated, or if she ever really loved her father. Did she at least love her son? Lucille’s half-brother Liam never asked any of those questions and it seemed to Lucille that the mystery surrounding his mother troubled her more than it troubled him. She never asked him why he was so uninterested. But the mystery woman became some sort of a symbol to her, a symbol that all happiness comes to an end.
This conclusion was soon confirmed. Lucille’s mother was unhappy in a marriage that once made her happy. She cheated on her father. He forgave her. She was still unhappy. She cheated again. He wanted to forgive her, but she left anyway.
“I got married too young”, she said to eleven-year-old Lucille, who stared at her pale cheeks soaked with tears. Mother was never pale. “Do not do the same mistake. Nice men are not always good for you. Nice is not enough.”
She never saw her mother cry again. She never saw her pale and shaking. Maybe divorce was a right choice for her. But Lucille still felt sorry for her father. She never wanted to be like him, Even though she loved her father more, she wanted to be like her mother.
When she was sixteen, her father met Joanna. She was beautiful, and younger than him. But she never acted like Lucille’s mother. She was staid, dressed like a lady and walked with a posture of a queen. Lucille knew right away – she was a woman perfect for her father. He had some doubts in the beginning, but Lucille never did. For Joanna, nice was enough.
But nice wasn’t enough for Lucille. At the time, she started dating her first boyfriend, Rick. All the girls liked Rick, but she proved to be better than all of them. He liked her. They were together for a whole year before he broke up with her. She expected that. She was proud that she managed to keep him that long. They were too young for a serious relationship, and he was never a serious guy. Nevertheless, she was hurt. She hated seeing him with other girls. It was hard for her to explain that to herself. She knew he was just her first, teenage love. She never thought they could get married and live happily ever after. She was smarter than that. But emotions, she learned, are never logical.
When Lucille went to college, her father and Joanna were already married and had a baby boy. Liam lived with his boyfriend and they adopted a little girl. She was happy to leave them like that – fulfilled.
In college, she met Roxy, a girl who would soon become unimaginably important for her. Roxy lived with her boyfriend Jonah and her younger brother Edwin. Jonah never liked that arrangement, but there was no discussion about it. Roxy’s mother died when she was still a child, and her father soon fell into deep depression, so it was up to her to take care of everything. She would never allow to be separated from Edwin, as long as he needed her. Long story short, they needed a roommate to share the bills with. And that’s how Lucille got in the picture.
Roxy and Jonah were a terrible couple. Lucille saw that right away, Edwin agreed, and even Roxy herself knew the truth. But Roxy loved Jonah. They met in high school and were together ever since. Except for those two months when they were apart, and Roxy slept with some guy, and Jonah never really forgave her. But Roxy wasn’t the cheat, Jonah was. All the time. And she would forgive him, and he would love her to death for a few months. And once college was over, they decided to live together. He cheated again, this time she broke. She didn’t want to live with him after that.
Lucille went on a few dates during college. She never got into a relationship, and she never felt the need to. She knew it would end. She studied the guys she went out with carefully and she couldn’t picture a common future. She knew what she wanted, and it never included them. She liked some of them, sometimes strongly. But relationships were just not for her.
Now, Lucille lives with Roxy. Jonah is out of the picture, and Edwin lives in another city. Roxy never changed. She still wears black clothes, black nail polish and even black lipstick. She became a successful interior designer, and in her job the extravagant look is sometimes even appreciated. Lucille works in a biological institute, because even they need a physicist in their team. Physics, Lucille has always thought, is the mother of all sciences. Everything around you – is physics.
One day, Roxy brought a friend home. Lucille’s heart jumped a beat. That’s what people say in cases like that, though the heart doesn’t really do it. Bradley was dark skinned, with black eyes and a wide white smile. He was funny, but never silly.
“So, where did you meet Bradley?” asked Lucille.
“At work. I did his flat”, Roxy smiled.
Lucille misinterpreted her smile.
“You’re dating?” she asked.
“I don’t date”, mumbled Roxy.
“No, I’m the one who doesn’t date”, Lucille knew Roxy was still hurt, but she didn’t want to talk about Jonah. It would only make it worse.
“You do. You just don’t fall in love.”
Lucille knew Roxy was right. But now, somewhere deep inside her, she knew she wished to fall in love. She would try dating Bradley. However, if Roxy likes him, than he’s off the limits.
“Did you?” Lucille finally got the strength to ask.
“Fall in love. With Bradley.”
Roxy looked at Lucille like she couldn’t believe her words.
“I don’t do that either”, she answered coldly.
“I know you do”, Lucille couldn’t look her friend in the eyes.
“Well, I did”, Roxy shrugged.
“Jonah was an idiot.”
“He still is. That’s why I don’t date. Because if I did, it would be him.”
Lucille felt like crying. She never cried, but now everything was set for it. All of her observations led to this moment. Roxy was exaggerating. She won’t be in love with Jonah forever. She will get over it. She will fall in love again because she is sentimental. Lucille knew that for a fact. But it still hurt. Roxy couldn’t see the bigger picture. She was hurting now, and now is all that matters. Long plans are not living, they are just constructs, idealisations, imaginations. Not real. Not physical. Lucille thought she was being rational, but she was the one who refused to accept reality.
“I invited Bradley because I wanted you to meet him”, said Roxy. “He is great. He would be perfect for you. And he liked you, I saw it in the way he looked at you.”
It is true that happiness is just a moment, but moments are what life is made of.