martes, 23 de noviembre de 2010


By Danilo López

“The journey, not the destination, becomes the source of wonder”

Lorena McKennit, “The Mask and Mirror”

At the Hotel du Lys, 23 Rue Serpente, Paris, France, it wasn’t her nipple what froze in the garden, but the inconstancy that served them well. The rest, adorned with festoons and clairvoyant silk roses was a monument to passing loves, boring laughs. No cats could be mastered, no clogs to ride. Only her expectant smile, eternally asking “how much longer?”

At the Hotel Endri, Rs. Vaso Pasha 27, Tirana, Albania she realized that in the beginning the heart rules over the head. She didn’t care much about not seeing him but once in a while. She didn’t care about him not answering her calls. So many endless nights she cried until dawn waiting for the phone to ring, in vain. Right before sunrise she would then slowly rise, shower, get pretty for him, drop off Brian at school, and head off to the office. At lunch they would have long conversations. After work, when he was able to, he would stop by her house. She would try to penetrate the heart and mind of that quiet man, so loved, so lonely, in vain. She, tired of being closed, would open to him as naturally as water and salt. He, tired of being open, would close to her as naturally as dust and air.

At the Hotel Carpati, Str Matei Millo 16, Bucharest, Romania, she discovered that in the legend of Dracul, the reincarnation of the love of his wife kills him in order to reach eternal salvation. It was not the destiny of the two souls to sail together and be saved in pairs. Each soul had to reach its own salvation alone. From this stand point, she concluded, soul mates don’t exist in eternity (souls are timeless) but in brief chosen associations formed in the temporal plane. So, in the end, she would sail into infinity by herself. She learned that in eternity the concepts of loneliness and separation don’t apply to a soul freed from a body: her soul was interconnected to all others, and all others were connected to the Cosmic Mind.

On the way back from Sevastopol to Odessa, she crossed the Black Sea. Standing at the veranda on starboard, looking into the dark blue waters and the misty coastline in the horizon, she slowly opened her purse, pulled out a packet of Virginia Slims, took one with expert fingers, and lighted it with her left hand. She inhaled deeply as if trying to trap in her lungs the countless memories that came to supplant reality, the mosaic of happy moments gone so many years ago.

But it was at Kadriog Park in Tallin’s Old Town, Estonia, where she convinced herself –in mind and heart- that having him incompletely was more painful than not having him at all. She decided to peel off one by one the conquest poems read in bed, the postcards received from unknown places, the memories flooding her mind, the punctual flowers on each of her birthdays, the infinite nights embracing nothingness, the painful unreturned messages, the absent phone calls, the mad lovemaking, the Orvietto Classic drank by the terrace, the warm baths together, the odious unstoppable tears, the flaring disco dances, the Mother’s Day unwrapped gifts, the unrealized Christmases. Until she stopped needing him.

The box burned for several minutes. The flames, red like the awnings in Riga’s Central Market and yellow like the dying sun in Vilnius, Lithuania, illuminated the back patio with large dancing shadows. The smoke became thick like the walls of old castles in Dubrovnik, Croatia, and then the ashes, gray like the skies of Oslo in mid-winter, were swept by clear rains and gentle winds.

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