December, 1999. Thessaloniki.

I’d waited for a while, and then I stopped. I even stopped dreaming. There was something like an emptiness inside me, a calm, bright, almost beautiful emptiness, reflected impeccably in the world around me as I wandered through the town with wet, cold feet and the snow fell, landed, and melted tirelessly throughout the day.

Night had fallen, a dark, cold, quiet night, and I, alone in the flat, stood in front of the front windows with the phone in my hand. He was a teacher, which is how I’d met him, he taught one of my friends — but he had an occasional radio show, too, and that’s what where I’d called him. I don’t remember why I had, although I am guessing I just wanted to have a meaningful conversation before the day was out. (There had always been something between us: he had a habit of looking at me, really looking at me for a moment, and saying something oddly profound.) I don’t remember what we talked about, although perhaps I asked him to play something for me. I don’t remember if he agreed, or how we said goodbye. I can’t even remember if that was the last time we talked — it might have been.

What I do remember is him saying, unexpectedly, on the radio that “she is looking for whatever positivity is left in people. You wouldn’t say her life is filled with love, no, but, well, there is always a light that never goes out,” and following it, of course, with the song by the same name. And I remember standing in the dark, waiting for my heart to quiet down, and wondering — how did could he tell?