But when he told me how they had helped her to get rid of her fear of abortion – which, if I calculated it well, happened around the time Valerija and I met – I replied: I wish you had never done that, none of you. What he said next influenced me as nothing else in my life. However, before that he told me everything in detail, forcing me to listen to it all.
During that session, he had performed a surgery on Valerija’s soul with the help of his friends, intending to help her free herself of a fear she had admitted to him some months before, as he phrased it, during a confessional conversation. (For this is how he connected things: she was punishing herself within a long-lasting relationship with a drug addict – the one before I came – because she was in obsessive fear of abortion.) Pavle was overseeing the situation, guiding her gently, giving suggestions, encouraging her, controlling the rudder; his girlfriend, Chili, who was incidentally a kindergarten teacher and who kept bringing home armfuls of children’s drawings, held Valerija’s hand and stroked her forehead with a handkerchief dipped in chamomile tea. All the while Igor, Pavle’s marionette, who represents such a pointless existence that has only now merited to be introduced into the story, inserted slowly and carefully, observing Pavle’s instructions, a kitchen knife into Valerija’s vagina. – I told him he had no right to do that. They shouldn’t have done it. Stunned, shocked by what I was hearing, I told him sentimentally that I would like it best if he had never done it. And he replied that the sentence I had just said gave him the right to kill me. I was paralyzed. If it had been a threat, I don’t believe it would have defeated me so deeply (although it would have scared me, numbed me, to death, that is certain). But to hear him say he had the right to kill me since I wished he hadn’t done something he had astounded me, froze me to the bone.
While he was describing the scene he kept repeating that not a drop of blood had been spilt, and this insistence on emphasizing that fact made it all, in some inexplicable way, even more unacceptable. I left. I don’t think I have ever left a place in a more furious state. There was an African mask hanging on the wall in the hall, and I paused enough to look at it pleadingly and in confusion a second before I gripped the front door handle nervously. The day after, I told Valerija that I wanted nothing more to do with Pavle (which obviously hurt her pride and – though not for long – brought into question her loyalty to the person who had helped her so much). What later came to my mind when I was able to think about things with a cooler head – after months of depression during which I constantly dreamed of them, and was in fear of every shadow every time I left the house thinking I might bump across one of them – was that all suicides should be somehow told (and I have told it to myself as well) to beware those who wish to dissuade them from committing the act because such people, if they were anything like Pavle, might later come to possess them in a way that is more than unacceptable for any human being.
And yet, the thing that always made me in some special way vulnerable, and that still comes to me as an afterimage, though I did not witness the scene myself – was the death of the unfortunate bunny rabbit which perished one night when Valerija’s ex-boyfriend came home high and, having thrown himself on the armchair where the rabbit was sleeping, he himself fell asleep on her, squashing her to death. With the TV on. Why was this death necessary for Valerija to finally decide to leave him?