Come to me in the silence of the night;
Come in the speaking silence of a dream;
Come with soft rounded cheeks and eyes as bright
As sunlight on a stream;
Come back in tears,
O memory, hope, love of finished years.
You may never have realized how much I ached for you while your body was still here. Now, I'm left all alone with your soul and my memories flow like fresh water and vanish, and all that remains is their echo. Until when will I wait for you to come again?
The Athenian sun has started picking its head somewhat lazily above the horizon, looking a little bit pale, gifting the land with a yellow annealed hue, a bitter light. It seems to be searching for a destiny, just like I do right now, as I sit down on the ground and look at it straight in its blazing eye, surrendered in memories of a future that was never meant to be.
As I speak to you, at this very moment, soul to soul, I think that your life has brought to me the greatest joy, and your death the most exquisite sorrow. Death may have been for you the salvation that you desperately needed, but for me your going was a freedom that I've never felt the need to conquer.
You were the only goal that I really wanted to succeed in, the one and only peak that I wholeheartedly wanted to reach. I've climbed a million stairs and stretched my hand to touch the sky and it moved further away. That sky was you and now you've become one with the apeiron, the infinite in which there's no place for bodies but only for spirits. Our joys are all passing.
I have never shed a single tear for someone who died before in my life, and yet I've spent the whole night crying for you. In my book though death is nothing but a journey's end, and all the journeys sooner or later come to pass.
My soul that for times immemorial used to resemble a windless port, now looks like a furious sea that fights hard to turn me into a castaway to the seashore of your remembrance.
My thoughts return time and again to the blessed past, to all the things I've left unsaid, to the few I've dared to speak loud. Everyone knew that I loved you, how much I loved you, including you. Before meeting you I was like a turtle that never dared venture out of its shell. I never told anyone what I felt about them, especially the women that had the ill fortune of crossing paths with me. But you came to change me. To change me and go away, as a hurried wanderer.
You, with your watery eyes and shuttered words, made me confess my secret love for you. And you also tried to stop it from breathing out into the open. Despite that I've felt that you loved me also, Eleni, but there was always something or someone pulling you away from me. What was to blame? Who was to blame? Maybe me who I am not meant to enjoy anything in the world anymore.
I overhear people talking about love and without really realizing it I start laughing. What do they know about love, these people that follow a schedule every single day of their lives? Who kiss each other hurriedly in the morning before going to work? That consider doing something crazy every now and then think "yes, sure, but…"? Who only make love on Friday and Saturday nights, before or after the news hour? That believe that what really counts in life is credit cards, saving accounts and market shares? What do they know about love? Most of them would ignore its very existence if someone else hadn't informed them about it.
To love it to feel pain when your loved one does, to weep when they weep, to share their joy with them, to talk and to listen, to spend your every living breath for them.
The daylight is a devious comrade when it comes to memories. It doesn't even allow you the sweet relief of feeling desperate and expressing that through tears. The night is the big sister of all the souls, the clouds their worries, and the starlit sky the dreams the dead have left behind to those who are still alive, but, alas, don't know how to live.
I will go now. I will go and leave you in your lonesome to rest, at least according to the stupid know-it-alls who claim that the soul shares the same fate with the body. Some other people will come here soon enough, of that I am sure, to light a candle in the memory of the soon to be forgotten, to adorn the dust that covers your shell with brand new marigolds and then water it with the tears of their ignorance, as in their foolishness they think that they cry for you that you are gone and not their egoist selves that have lost you. And, I bet, every single one of them will say, how good a person you were, and what a shame it was that you had to go so early. Every day will be the same, a rerun of the same play, until the body turns into earth, dust, and like dust it dissolves into this overland abyss, blown away by the winds of lost memories, and then you will be forgotten almost by all, my own and only, and eternally beloved.
To be continued
This is the first draft of the translation of my first novella Lathos Pathos that was published in Greek in 2000. The words written in Italian fonts are by the Greek poet Maria Polydouri.
The image was taken from here