Fiction: Black Heart, a tale of Jealousy


A fictional story created and written by Damian Galvin, to capture the magic and beauty of Romania and its people.

Sisters, Ranya and Gina grew up together in their parent’s house, Elena and Gheorghe Dima, in Bistrita, northern Transylvania.  Elena was a very kind mother and wife, who did everything for her 2 daughters, showering them with love and affection. She was a good wife to Gheorghe, a farmer, a hard-working man, but he was very soft on his children and never liked to discipline them. Instead, he would always be kind and never took sides when the children gave their mother a difficult time.

Ranya was a sweet girl growing up, a gentle soul, but Gina was mean and spiteful, and especially jealous of her sister. She would go out of her way to make sure Ranya would be blamed for things Gina herself did. She would spread rumors at school about Ranya, her own sister, rumors that led to bullying and fights. When Ranya was happy, Gina was raging with envy, But when Ranya was sad or unhappy, Gina was glowing, feeling powerful. She became addicted to this feeling of power.

As a result, Ranya had a very troubled childhood. Every time she tried to be good, she experienced unexplainable bad fortune and unwanted attention. Little did she know her own sister was actively plotting against her to ensure her failure in everything she would do.   Their father, Gheorghe, had a demanding and difficult job in the fields and did not reach old age, passing away in his fifties, leaving Elena alone to raise her two teenage daughters. Ranya’s struggle continued through her teens as one problem after another came her way, but she could never understand why. Her sister Gina kept a diary with details about her constant plans to sabotage her sister. Sinister, twisted plans about ways to ensure her sister’s failure.

Time passed and Ranya went to music university, where she excelled in Piano and Violin.  Gina instead pursued many careers in her search for a quick route to success, to be better than her sister but each one was unsuccessful and with that, her jealousy boiled within her black heart.

After graduation, Ranya met Claudiu, her childhood sweetheart again in Bucharest, working as a musician. They rekindled their love affair, settled down together and married. Meanwhile, Gina’s life was one of constant anger, unhappiness and ill will to all around her. She had few friends and none were genuine, as a result, and she blamed all of this on her sister Ranya.

Within a few years, Ranya and Claudiu had a wonderful daughter, Delia. Their relationship was OK but strained at times as Claudiu struggled to make a constant income. He would often come home drunk after gigs and be away a lot on music tours. Gina went out of her way to get attractive drinking-friends to flirt with Claudiu and to seduce him. Anything to tempt him away from Ranya. She would make sure Ranya found out about Claudiu’s adventures through gossip.  Ranya was devastated by the betrayal of Claudiu and eventually, they parted ways, much to Gina’s delight.  Ranya raised her daughter Delia alone, and they had a very happy life together although often difficult, due to a shortage of money, but they were very happy together.  Ranya taught her daughter to play Violin and by the age of 5, Delia was fluent at playing music, in fact, even more, talented than her own mother. She would go to national and European competitions before she was 8, almost always coming home with a prize or trophy.

Naturally, Gina was seething with jealousy at this. At around the same time, Gina went to stay with her now elderly mother Elena in Bistrita for a weekend. After the trip, she returned to her home in Galati but crucially, forgot her secret notebook at her mother’s house without realizing. After a few days, her mother, Elena discovered the black book and could not resist reading it. Elena was shocked in what she saw, from school days to the present day, chapter after chapter with notes and sabotage plans, and cynically, summaries of successful sabotage activity.  Elena cried and cried as she realized Gina had been the cause for so much pain in her beautiful daughter Ranya’s life, even to the present day. She was numbed with shock and could not sleep. It made her even sicker than she already was. She consulted with her neighbor, her best friend, and decided to cut Gina out of her will. She visited a Notary and made the arrangements immediately. But her broken heart destroyed her will to live and her health rapidly declined. She could not find the power to confront her daughter Gina, nor to warn Ranya. She wrote a long letter to each, explaining her heartbreak. But she sealed the letters and hid them behind a picture above her bed.

Meanwhile, young Delia continued to excel at the violin and was something of a child prodigy.  After some time, Elena passed away after a short illness. Both Ranya and Gina were informed of the contents of the Will and that Ranya was to inherit everything Elena had in this world, while Gina was to receive nothing,  But no one could understand why this was. It was illogical that Elena would be so cruel to favour one child. As you can imagine, Gina was incandescent with rage and set about the total distraction of what was left of Ranya’s life. She made up a story that Ranya had blackmailed her mother to write the Will and then poisoned her mother. She paid friends to act as false witnesses. She paid a young doctor to falsify a psychiatric examination and certify her as schizophrenic. She involved the police and in short, she took her sister to court, resulting in Ranya being blamed for the demise of her mother and committed to a mental institution.  Once there, she was regularly medicated into a stupor and quickly forgotten about by society. Since Claudiu was nowhere to be found in Romania, Gina easily gained custody of Delia, who by now was only 9 years old.

Gina was a cold and horrid stepmother to Delia, treating her with harsh punishments for the slightest mistake. She installed Delia into her tiny rented Galati apartment and forced her to play the violin at any moment, showing off to neighbors what a young star Delia was. Of course, Delia was desperately sad at this change in fortune, oblivious as to the reasons she had lost both parents but she had no reason to suspect Gina. Indeed she was grateful for a savior in her life.  She lost her passion for music very quickly and before she was 12, she refused to play the Violin any more. Delia became reclusive and sad, losing her magical sparkle. This led to more punishments but still, she refused to play. She struggled with school as she tried to refocus her studies in another direction, but she was not terribly successful at many other subjects except music, which she now hated as it represented a forced duty. She left school in time and went to university to study law at the age of 18, at the advice of Gina. At around the same time, she inherited her grandmother’s house in Bistrita because under the terms of the will, since Ranya was deemed mentally unstable although still alive, it was passed into her ownership.  Until now, the house had stood empty and untouched.  Soon after, Delia would return to the Bistrita house to retreat from life and escape the constant fighting with her evil stepmother.

After many weekends spent there, she started slowly to make changes but she refused to change the master bedroom, leaving it as a shrine to her Grandmother, something to give her a foundation and a connection to her once happy childhood. Gradually, she gave away the furniture room by room.

One night, while sleeping in her Grandmothers bed, she had a vision, or dream, or apparition. She was not really sure what to call it.  In her vision, her grandmother Elena came to her in spirit form. With her beautiful white skin, and a comforting smile, she sat on the bed beside Ranya, and talked to her about her childhood. Finally, after a long discussion, she told Ranya to look behind the portrait on the wall above them, and all would be clear to her, and then she was gone.

In the morning, Ranya woke up, recalling the experience, convinced it was only a silly dream.  But when she jumped out of bed, she saw her grandmothers slippers neatly aligned at the side of the bed and her prayer book on the side table which both scared and amazed Delia.  All morning she thought about the dream until she remembered her Grandmother’s advice to look behind the picture on the wall.

On removing the picture from the wall, two letters fell to the floor. Of course, Delia quickly read the letters and collapsed in shock at what she read. She read them, again and again, to be sure she was reading the content correctly. Delia visited the now very old neighbor who was once friends with her grandmother, who confirmed the stories to be the ones she had also been told.

Shortly after, Delia took the letters to the police, who began a half-hearted investigation. But they needed more evidence as the origins of the letters could not be verified. Delia pondered long and hard how to get this proof.  Finally, she decided she had to betray her own virtues to save her mother from her eternal hell being trapped in the psychiatric hospital.  She tracked down the doctor, who was now in his 30’s. Delia was by now a very beautiful young girl of 20 and she went out of her way to make the doctor fall for her charms. She made a point of being his patient, then stayed in touch. She would write to him frequently until eventually, he asked her on a date and from that, a relationship blossomed. Over time, she slowly found a way to raise the subject of her mother’s internment. The doctor fell hopelessly in love with Delia, and once smitten, now was her time to act. She finally got up the courage to threaten to break up their relationship with the doctor unless he would admit his guilt, in writing, about his part in getting Delia’s mother interned. If though, he would admit his guilt, she would settle down with the doctor. Unable to live with Delia, the doctor reluctantly agreed to give a signed confession of his crime. Now, armed with the missing piece of the puzzle, she got the police to reopen the investigation, and after some time, the truth came to light. Gina was found guilty and sent to prison and the doctor lost his medical license and moved to Germany in shame, to start a new life there.

Delia campaigned hard to get her mother released from the institution but by now, she was severely lacking in mental capacity, after so many years on medication such as levomepromazine, which is the standard medication given in Romanian institutions to suppress the patients into conformity. Delia needed funds to provide her mother with treatment, but given her lack of professional income, she was powerless to help. She considered selling the house to raise the funds, until one day after discussing her problems with friends; they collectively bought her a violin and convinced her to enter a music competition for national talent. Delia reluctantly accepted and set about rekindling her now-forgotten skills.

Night and day she practiced, playing at every opportunity. Finally, the night came for her to perform at the grand concert hall in Bucharest. Nervous about how she would be received, she was very unsure of herself. But her fears were unfounded. She played like an angel, with a finesse that the judges had not seen before and she won the grand prize and a standing ovation from the crowd.  After the event, she was in great demand. Contracts and public appearances followed in quick successions, and with that, incomes. So much in fact that she needed to hire a finance manager. Delia was able to pay private health consultants to get her mother, Ranya, back from the institution and then into a clinic in Vienna for reintegration treatment. From there to England, and on to France for more therapies, from music, to regression, to physical types.  All the while Delia played her heart out to packed theater halls, and the wealth flowed. Eventually, after 2 years, that flew by, Elena was able to return to Romania to rebuild her life. They eventually reunited and moved to Cluj Napoca to open a music school together for both talented and disadvantaged children. The facility exists even today in Cluj within the Gheorghe Dima Music School.

The end.

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