It was such a good idea. I would ‘remember the magic:’ I would write about the major magical moments of my life. I’d write about them in the order in which they happened, not in an attempt to write an autobiography, but only to bring some discipline into this undertaking — discipline that would, I hoped, work to sustain my inspiration. In turn, this exercise would work to remind me that I have, in fact, come across quite a lot of magic in my life, thus opening up my eyes to the possibilities of further magic. It would, in short, ‘beget new magic.’ While I was at it, I would find my voice again, or at least my ability to write. Oh, and I would post every day for the month of November.
Except that’s not quite how things turned out. I lasted thirteen days — which is not too bad, all things considered. And I did get somewhat unstuck, it’s true. By the end of the first week I could just sit down, think of a moment, and confidently wait for the writing to come. But instead of a renewed faith in the magicalness of the world I was left with a renewed sense of despair — the despair that haunted me in the summer of 2001, which is to say after Constantin and I had ran out of opportunities to miss; which continued to haunt for the years that followed; which was still, evidently, lurking somewhere in the dark recesses of my heart last November.
There was a lot of magic in those years, in that summer in particular, but it was all of the even though kind: even though my world as I knew it had fallen to bits, even though I lost what was dearest to my heart, even though I couldn’t imagine how to go on, even then, great things happened. They were full of good things, these years — songs that pointed the way, places to travel to and explore, friends that warmed my heart. They were the years in which my world grew and grew until it was big enough for me, and also the years in which I grew and grew until I became myself. But even so, there was a hole in my heart, because I’d once found something precious and then lost it again.
There was this one time, perhaps the second or third time we made love, in my room, in my parents’ flat, which wasn’t the best of choices but it was better than wandering around town in the bitter cold, and not making love at all — there was this time when he kissed me gently and said, in the dark, “I will protect you from everything; I can’t stop it from happening, but I will be like a sponge, and wipe it all away,” and I knew just what he meant. The thing is, Constantin and I, despite our numerous and significant differences, we have this one thing in common: we look at the way people move through the world with the same question in our eyes. For that one moment, he knew what it was like to be me, and he had taken this into his heart. As far as I am aware, that was the one time in my life I was looked at in the way that I look at others.
I believed him.
He didn’t live up to that, you know that by now. Of course he didn’t, you’re thinking: he was a boy, it is a tall order, there was so much in the way. I know that, and, mostly, I knew it then, too; and yet the fact that after a while he didn’t even try broke my heart. I took it personally, of course I did, I thought he didn’t love me enough because I wasn’t good enough. All of which is nonsense, of course, but still. For years, I wondered if anyone would ever love me as he had. Eventually I worked out that it didn’t matter, that people love you in their own different ways, and that this is a gift in itself, and I was happy with that. I am happy with that. But I still wonder if there will ever be another moment like that. I fear that there will not. And I dare not hope, for fear of having my heart broken, or of appearing like a fool.
Oh Dimitra. You know better than that.