In Bruges

Lily is someone I’ve known since I learned to know people. She’s lives in Bruges around St. Gilles neighborhood. Until several years ago there were few reasons for anyone to include St. Gilles neighborhood in their plans for anything but that changed. Young restaurateurs, artists, and fashionistas have settled in and dubbed the area as “Saint-Gilles”. That’s about the time when Lily moved to the neighborhood.

Lily is generally an honest person. She always speaks her mind and does not care how she might be perceived by others. She is regarded by people around her as a stranger -due to her aptitude in maintaining indifference. That makes lily appear tough and resilient to some.

There is a captivating story about Lily that still provokes a lot of unchecked feelings in me. Several years ago and during one of my visits to Bruges, she had learned of her father’s death right before I arrived in Bruges, but she decided to withhold the news from me. And shortly after I left Bruges, I learned about the news myself. At first, Lily’s indifference throughout my visit struck me as her deep emotional detachment from the environment and circumstance. But after a while the thought changed to something else.

The problem with withholding information from people who would otherwise react in response, is a complicated one. On the one hand, the act may not be a lie but the one who does it, inherently suggests a moral superiority that sounds like “I decide whether you can deal with this information”. On the other hand, there are circumstances where cherished values might end up being at odds with each other. In this case, I’m guessing honesty and hospitality were the values that intersected. Ultimately, Lily’s unilateral decision did create some misunderstanding and confusion between two cousins.

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