So, after I finished a prominent high-school in Moscow, my rich parents sent me to Berlin to study. There I began to enjoy my student’s life. Nothing can be more attractive. This sense of absolute freedom, living on your own in a community of young and idealistic people, striking parties which never end before dawn, talking passionately about life and death, about art and the mysteries of the human soul. Reading desperately in your room and forgetting about the world outside or wandering all day long through the city jungle, watching people go their ways, trying to make out their stories, lonely in a sea of strangers…Yes, I was lonely most of the time, in spite of the parties I went to and the clubs I joined…Oh, the clubs. Whenever I felt the inner turmoil was ready to overwhelm me, I would go to some gay night club and let me dazzled and purged by the violent music. I never danced, I just sat at the bar and watched the overheated bodies twist on the dancing floor in a mad unceasing search, desperate to find in other bodies what one body had already provided. This world could not be monogamous, it would thirst for love and find only lust. For me it was like a descent into hell, but paradoxically it was a very welcome one. The men touched each other in a tender, unthinkable way. Some were macho, others extremely feminine, there were always some drag queens around…the women came in groups and were generally older than me and very masculine, exceeding physical strength…I was impressed. On the whole, the atmosphere was very cozy and I felt secure and enjoyed the fact that the men only had eyes for each other. I would stay at the bar till I could only perceive the beats of the drums. It was like meditation or prayer. At a certain point I would reach some sort of ecstasy. Then I would steal out of the club and walk home, feeling the light breath of the sleeping city. And carrying that deep longing within me that I could not admit and not even understand.
It happened in my favourite club, the Oranienbar…it’s a dark and not very stylish place, but I like it because it’s so old, its walls could tell stories…I was sitting in my usual corner watching the people gather. The crowd was loud and merry. I was melancholy and restless as if I waited for my destiny to fulfill its promise. The music had lost its sedative effects on me. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to leave or rather to dance and throw myself in the arms of the first person I met. While I was pondering I saw a group of young men and women approaching me. One of the boys asked me directly if I wanted to join them for a night swim. “We are going right now, make up your mind quickly”. I was hesitating, searching for an excuse when I saw HER. She was not speaking, just waiting for me to make a decision. She had a black dress and an ironic smile. She looked away, not paying any attention to me. Now I should be able to return in time and relive everything again and again in order to find out why she made me change my mind and accept the invitation. But maybe I’ll never understand. It was not my need of adventure because I initially wanted to say no. And it was not love at first sight. I don’t believe in such things. It was neither this nor that, it was something in-between. We’ll never know exactly what. Never mind. While we were walking through the dark streets I suddenly looked at her and caught her eyes staring at me. I had a sudden insight, like a flash from a forgotten dream. I knew that face, I had seen it long ago in a dream. It was a mirror of my soul, the incarnation of my better half. But I should not anticipate. We eventually came to the pool. Everything was silent. I saw the moon, red and full like a witch’s eye. Day can deceive but at night no one is safe from revelations. You can no longer postpone your life indefinitely, that’s what I felt standing by that swimming pool and watching the group of strangers undress and bathe under the eye of the moon. Their shadowy figures gathering and separating and me trying to avoid any intimacy…all the while she was only a seed in my mind but I was to watch this seed grow into a flower. It soon became clear to me what the night swim was actually about. All are ensnared in a magic circle, fumbling, craving, touching each other and measuring each other’s physical beauty, everyone dissolved in a sexless mass. I think I am alone with my shame. But no. I see her soft shadow vibrating in the darkness. She comes towards me, yes she does, she ignores everything around…she comes out of the water like a nymph, she leans amorously towards me, she smiles, she takes my hand. We swim away from the group and I think I understand what eternity means. I must have been far away for a few minutes. When I recovered she was no longer there. A guy was grabbing me and blubbering uncontrollably. I think he was drunk. I feel sick and run away. I fall into her arms and her eyes shower me with their tenderness.
The time we spent in the tower was like a slow fall from heaven. It must have been a long time because otherwise my family wouldn’t have asked the police to look for me. Anyway, for me it’s timeless, just an eternal moment, I could say. They all lie who say she kidnapped me. I was in a trap but I loved it. We talked passionately hours on end searching doors to each other’s minds. While she kissed and caressed me there was nothing else between us but love, huge and simple. Alas, I know she is a metamorphic creature whose love has multiple indeterminate faces. She says things like: “You should love people regardless of their sex” or “I love them all, why should love be exclusive?” Is she another side of myself? Could I really be like her and love more than one human being in my life? Could I love someone else beside her? I torment my mind with these questions. There is no answer. She is who she is and our meeting has a meaning that goes beyond our lives. “Love is stronger than death”, she also said that. “My angel with sadist eyes”, I read this phrase in a book and it is surely about her.
If she hadn’t made that fatal mistake I wouldn’t have taken the poison. And if I hadn’t taken the poison they wouldn’t have found us. Never mind. I lie in bed and talk impersonally to family and doctors. There is no point in denying love even if they say you are crazy and explain to you a thousand things about that woman who is a cheater and a whore and a pimp. They want to talk me into sensibility. Let them talk. My beloved is mine and I am hers. She sends me a line: “Take good care of the girl who makes my heart beat. You are the one. I’ll take you with me. Soon”. I send her a reply: “Don’t worry, my love. Wait for me. Injure me, betray me, but make me sure of your love.”. I’m waiting for the right moment to steal out of hospital.
“I myself cannot construct my love story to the end; the end, like my own death, belongs to others. It is up to them to write the fiction, the external, mythic narrative”. (Roland Barthes, “A Lover’s Discourse”)
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