They were golden days, they were. The sun was loved by poets and not just the moon. And she had loved me, you see. In everything and everywhere. Her name was Emilie and how I thought of her in all my doings. I imagined she was carved out of melted gold. For you see dear reader, those were golden days and indeed they were thoroughly filled with happiness and the likes of real gold shone on them. When I met her I was still in the process of discovering my ways of loving and living.
They seemed to go hand in hand but didn’t. I was an artist and she was most definitely my muse. I had seen her at an art exhibition. She saw my work and exclaimed how she had been bewitched by it, forcefully drawn by it. I laughed.I knew I was about to fall in love myself, knew I was about to be damned. And so, I laughed.
She spoke to me about her art icons. Said she was a lover of art nouveau. She then asked me if she could take a picture of me and I said yes. I stood. Naive as I was drunk with lust. The crowd of people seemed to be rushing but she seemed to take forever. I watched her take her camera out of her bag. Watched her wipe the lense. And above all, I watched her resemble the art she talked about loving. And just like that she became my muse! I, as shy as a little girl, asked her if she would like to join me on my trip to Ravenna. She told me she’d love it as she had always admired it’s architecture.
The city of Ravenna was connected to the Adriatic sea by the candiano canal. The architecture was mesmerizing and I had wanted to go for the purpose of learning art. We had gone 4 months after we had met. We made sure to visit all the Basilica of San Vitale. On that day the sun had mounted and illuminated the place. Glorious as ever. I thought of all the poetry I could’ve generated if I were a poet. I wondered if all the churches in the world were made after books of revelation. I was told that the architecture of the church was in order to prepare souls. I noticed the colorful mosaics of christian iconography that decorated the interior walls and ceilings. How I thanked God for being an artist. How I longed to be a poet.
After that we attended one of ravenna’s prominent classical music gatherings, the ravenna festival, it was a summer of opera, dance, jazz, ballet and the likes. A drama took place and Emilie cried. And I took her by her hand and kissed her. I kissed her for I was drunk with Venus living within me. And I fell under her spell and who was to blame but my foolish little heart. Sweet, sweet was the pink of her lips. And I did not want to say adieu to it. I kissed her on her brow and stared at her. I felt as though I was floating on the sea. “Let’s kiss again,” I wanted to tell her, “the night is graceful and so are you.” I caressed her salt-kissed curls and praised sappho in my heart. I wondered if she looked down at me, delighted and holy.
The next day Emilie spoke to me about her fear of death and I told her about my boredom of life. She gazed at me and smiled. “How can you be so full of it yet be bored by it?” she enquired. I did not know how to answer her. I was confused by her question and her beauty and I did not know whether the latter would be the cause of my death or the reason for my will to live. I looked at her eyes and sighed. How one was able to have so much good imposed upon them was beyond my comprehension. How one could fear evil even then was beyond me. I longed to live in her eyes the way one foolishly looks forward to living in their night dreams.
But right now reality was better than dreams of day and night. Right now, I was with her and she was with me and I didn’t wish to depart from her. She asked me if we could celebrate the new year’s eve at the Piazza del Popolo. I agreed and assumed she had searched it up on the internet. She dressed up in a glittery pink dress and held my hand. I thought she was, of beauty, the most astonishing thing ever created.
We reached the heart of the city. The stage was lit up and soul and gospel music played. Emilie told me that Cheryl Porter and the Hallelujah Gospel singers will be starring. They entered the stage and amazed us with voices that reminded me of a painting I had once seen. I could almost swear there was a sort of magic that enveloped the place. I thought of myself as being in wonderland. Or neverland. I wondered why Alice and Wendy ever left them. For now I was in a place where fireworks went up the nearest heaven.
I made a mental note to paint something with a dedication to the Basilica of San Vitale. The early Byzantine art had always made me wonder at the minds of the people who constructed them. The wealthy byzantine mosaics lumering like heavenly gems. I also made a mental note to visit the Mar museum with Emilie. I thought she might be tired if I were to ask her to go with me but I’d try nonetheless.
But Emilie glowed at the thought of it. Said it was but a splendid idea. Took my hands and did a little dance. And kissed me as the fireworks went up. It all happened so fast and I felt dizzy. Yet I was excited. I was excited to go to the museum with her. I was, for once, excited for life. It was time for us to leave Ravenna. It was a summer the likes of which I would’ve never been able to see in my daydreams. How intimately I remember the way the breeze caressed my face and how the sun kissed me gently to keep me warm. I was a virgin and had thought I had experienced love in the most beautiful manner possible. Emilie. With her beauty and ephemerality, how I wanted to spend life with her and not with anybody else.
In case I lacked in giving further explanations on who Emilie was and what she was like, here is an account I made. She was an angel. I thought of her as something close to the angel who consoled the virgin Mary. For, you see, I had been at my lowest and then she came to me. Beauty and all. Apart from her beauty she had something in her. Was it wonder? Magic? I couldn’t tell but it did amaze me. She was your femme fatale. Except she didn’t seem to distress me as of yet. She was dream-like. I thought she was constructed by my dreams. Bit by bit assembled like the night sky with its stars. She dreamed of opening up a bookstore. She loved to read. Said it took her to places she could only dream of going.
I thought of her existence and thanked god. I wasn’t sure who I was thanking but I thanked them anyway. And that night I drew. I painted. I let my hand direct my mind in whatever manner was odd for I knew that’s the way it should be. I believed in art for art’s sake and didn’t need to explain my painting to anyone. My hand moved to the right spots and built a picture so divine. As I painted, I felt close to the one who created me and wondered at the way I was fashioned. I painted the Basilica of San Vitale. The colorful mosaics still lingering in my mind. Like pixies from a fairytale. At the airplane Emilie slept peacefully under a blanket and I daydreamed of assembling a flower crown for her. The previous day she told me that if she were to die she wanted flowers more than what was the norm. I asked her why she thought of death so suddenly and she explained to me about her sickness. How a being could be so unfortunate broke my heart. And who could mend it, I thought to myself. I watched her. Innocent as ever. Captivated by her sweet and luscious dreams but also the evil that was her sickness. I blamed death for having her thinking of him. And thought I finally understood why roses are red.
And I was against the fact that roses in any other name would smell as sweet. As I looked upn Emilie I thought there could only ever be one of her. And I would love her. Body and soul. I would love her.
I spent the summer months with Emilie’s family at a house that resembled the Litzberg house. The trees that enveloped the house gave out a calming perfume. I thought of myself in paradise and almost blamed Eve for not making me stay. But there was no need to blame anyone. I was happiest with this woman who resembled Art herself. I could almost feel the green of the trees seeping within me like some kind of gentle piercing. I promised to never hurt Emilie, my princess. They seemed to have their “hands” raised up to heaven: praying for our closeness.
“There’s a brewery nearby, my sweet,” said Emilie and reached out to hold my hand.
I told her I’d rather not, that she can go with her family and I would stay indoors and rest. She smiled and made her way downstairs. It was when she had left that I felt an ache in my heart. Anxiety ate me up quickly the way Alice ate the cake. A hurricane of what-ifs seemed to rush through my mind and I reached out to a pen and paper for refuge. I wrote. I am no poet but I wrote:
I feel like if lightning were to strike the earth, I would be among the fools who rush outside and volunteer as a sacrifice. I’d do it for you, Emilie. I’d climb the heavens, weary but willing, and I’d prostrate to the creator of the lightning and beg him to make it stop. I’d do it for you, Emilie. I’d do it for you. And if he were to shout at me and cause a thunderstorm on earth with you in it, I’d cry “mercy” and he’d stop. I’d do it for you, Emilie. For you.
I had just finished writing this when suddenly a poplar tree fell due to the lightning. And I grew worried and ran outside like a madman. I screamed her name over and over and no one replied. She did not reply. And I ran and ran and my heart screamed her name and she did not reply. And I called out to the tyrants of nature and said “mercy” and I heard her voice.
“I’m here. I’m here,” she said.
I recall, by the help of a picture I had taken, that I was with her during a foggy morning by the lake. The surface of the lake echoed the sound of nature with a melodious tune. The breeze was gentle and it had touched her hair with its tender fingers. It was one of those days when the world came to its full glory, changing from shades of gray to the colors of the rainbow. I had her and the fog with me and that was all that mattered. For they both warmed up the world and my heart. My thoughts rested like unfinished art on a canvas. The clouds sat upon the earth as did she upon my heart. And I walked with her as though I was walking on a wire. As the day approached and the sky cleared, we could see bees wander through the meadows to the wildflowers she had planted. They buzzed. A music of nature about the sun-filled moments. I held her hands. Warm like my heart and the honey of the bees she feared. We passed a cacophony of flowers and the grassy meadow seemed to be never ending. “What a pleasant campsite!” I remarked. She nodded and said nothing but watched the bees with an unsteadiness. After some time, she told me that the grass needed cutting. She didn’t look at me and it made me sad.
The trees and the sky seemed to be objects of an artwork. Painting themselves happily. Salzkammergut was home to lakes and Alpine ranges.The little beam of light that began to form made her happy and she marveled at it. She didn’t ignore me this time and I thought her a thing of beauty indeed. I watched the golden arching rays rest upon her eyes and thought I saw the garden of Eden. I felt safe. I knew the night was far away and the stars would delay falling. The world was a living work of art. A painting with vivacious hues.
“I was so sick last night, you know,” she whispered. I looked at her and noticed her pink lips and ebony hair. I kissed her and her lips curved into a small smile. The intensity of last summer was no more there and I felt relaxed. When we went back into the house I began to write a book. She leaned by my shoulder and asked what I was writing. “A new genre,” I replied and kissed her pink lips.
“I wanted to ask you to kiss me the last time I saw you, lest I become a mere forgotten memory of yours. Just another girl who loved you. I thought that some importance shall be of me in my mention if you were to kiss me: would you not? And I saw that you were something I could’ve loved. But I was too late to realize that. So I loved and loved and loved while you swore to never meet my eyes. Could it be that you deny yourself heaven? Or were you denied heaven. The love of a woman such as me: how could you say no to that?”
This she wrote in her diary as though it were a letter she’d leave for me when she was no more. For that was what she did these days: prepare for the afterlife but leave things for people to remember her by. “No one will forget who I was,” her soul screamed, the veins in her body already tired. Still she wrote and preserved them and her excuse was that one day somebody will find them. And that someone was, for sure, bound to be me. I had always known that without her, I wouldn’t be able to live or love again. She had taken her breath away, stealing it. And of my many wishes was that she’d be kind enough to leave it somewhere for me to find it. But alas! She had always been a woman of little consequence. So, remembering that, I yelled out that I was dying to breathe.
“Beauty, stab and set me free!” I had said.
But who would listen to me? Of men and heaven above? And she had realized this. She began visiting museums and making art in the park. She’d take pictures of monuments. Her favorite being that of Aphrodite. Every beautiful place was visited by her. So that she never walked in one without leaving a mark. In one place she sketched the sunlight. How it kissed the earth and the sea. She began to wish that she had kissed me back. Things would’ve been different if she had. She tried to forget me. Shaking her head every time I appeared in her mind. I could’ve made her immortal with just one kiss. The way Circe had made her lover no more a mortal. She was going to make herself an immortal on her own.
One by one the ingredients were brought. A kiss stolen from a forlorn lover, a tune composed about the winter nights, a letter to the moon…
“Yours truly, a Circe,” it said.
You can find her now sitting on her front porch, you know. The days have made her hopeless and hopeful. She sits and stares at nothing. Or is it the horizon filled with angels she sees? Her skin starts to not only look like honey but taste like it too. And men from far off would visit her there, declaring their undying love. The stars, my dear reader, also bowed down at her presence and she knew she had succeeded. She was an immortal. Never to be forgotten.