An origin story
We are all made of countless improbable events. I am made, inter alia, of assassinations. If the Narodnaya Volya hadn’t hurled their bombs at Alexander II Nikolayevich by the Catherine Canal, there would have been no outbreak of pogroms - destructions - that precipitated the departure of my maternal great grandparents from the Russian to the British worlds. If Gavrilo Princip had not fired his Fabrique Nationale .38 into Franz Ferdinand Carl Ludwig Joseph Maria of Austria and Duchess Sophie, there would have been no reason for my grandfather Maurice to travel from Johannesburg to Ontario and to enlist with a rifle regiment, no reason for that regiment to be deployed to Europe, no opportunity for grandpa to transfer to the nascent RAF and be posted to Bristol aerodrome, and little reason for my great grandfather Pinchas to entertain Jewish servicemen in his comfortable bourgeois villa.
Separated by time but connected by a chain of causality. My grandfather, placed in a Redland salon by a string of circumstances as bizarre as those that placed Princip outside Schiller’s Delicatessen, makes his move on my grandmother as Princip stalks the unsuspecting royal victims in Count von Harrach’s Gräf & Stift 32 horsepower.
We are made of history, and of dreams, and of the hopes and fears of those long dead.