Friday, 19 August 2016

Benchmarks For Betrayal.....

Tessa and I were having a dialogue about Betrayal the other morning at the new and rather intimidatingly overstaffed city café we had decided to try. We almost walked out because of the price of the Chocolate Brownies – Tessa maintained that $6.50 was outrageous and even though they looked more than tempting I had to agree. Less than ten minutes later though we were seated with Cappuccinos and Brownies before us and as it was her turn to pay she was $22 poorer. Betrayal on a personal level is what we discussed because Tessa is currently most distressed with a former close friend whom she considers has utterly let her down. When that aspect of the topic had been exhausted and we were drinking our second round of coffee – (my turn but no Brownies this time so not really fair) – we veered towards philosophy and onto Betrayal on a grander scale. She said that if it was the magnitude of the duplicity that really counted then there was once an officer in the Austrian army who definitely took the cake (though not the Brownie) because during WW1 he worked for the Russian military and leaked the Austrian plan to invade Serbia; truly treachery on a grand scale. She couldn’t quite recall his name but thought it was Alfred something or other and in the end he had the decency at least to commit suicide. This was something, she added bitterly, that her erstwhile friend might consider and of course I told her that she didn’t really mean that though she maintained she did. Then not wanting to appear to be completely ignorant of wholesale Betrayal I tentatively mentioned Harold Cole, of Scotland Yard who was considered to be a traitor worthy of gaining a place in history having divulged a great deal of information to the Gestapo concerning French Resistance escape lines. He did not need to suicide because the French shot him dead. ` Well they would wouldn’t they?’ Tessa said impatiently and added that she’d never heard of him (and to be fair neither had I until a week previously, courtesy of the History Channel). She began to tell me about the Rosenbergs, an American couple with Communist leanings who sold atomic secrets to the Russians during the Cold War. I listened politely even though I knew all about them anyway from my avid after-mass-on-Sundays reading of `The News Of The World’ decades earlier. She said she had no idea what happened to them but they were probably executed which would serve them right. There she was quite correct because they were. She folded her napkin, glared at a hovering wait person and declared loudly that anyhow personal Betrayal was much, much worse. She added, `After all, look at Julius Caesar….can you imagine how he must have felt when he realized that his own nephew was taking part in the plot to murder him?’ She shook her head and murmured, `Et tu Brutus?’ which is what everyone says when they mention that particular piece of family drama. However, I could only wholeheartedly agree. `It’s always a shock when an actual family member acts against you…..even though part of you is completely aware that family will let you down quicker than anyone else…’ I was now recalling the sharply painful part of a recent conversation with Judith from Ireland. . Tessa nodded fervently and said she supposed I was right there. A second hoverer in pristine wait-staff garb listened to this slightly odd conversation between two decidedly older patrons with undisguised tedium and I wondered why he bothered to eavesdrop at all. Now he stepped forward a fraction too impatiently to brush the table of crumbs and clear the cups. We rose and left, each giving him a hostile glance, each mentally crossing the place of our List For The Future, each still giving a thought or two to infidelity and betrayal. `Deception and deceit on any level can be astonishingly difficult to disregard,` I acknowledged as we stood in the street outside, preparing to say our goodbyes. Tessa said decisively, `No wonder people are inclined to take revenge.’ I was left wondering how and when she would do so and what form the retribution would take!

No comments:

Post a Comment