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Chronicles from the Future: Paul Dienach

Chronicles from the Future: Diary Page - January 17 to February 24

Note: Use the arrows at the bottom to navigate between the pages of the book.

January 17 th 1919

This morning, at 8:40, was the 2 year anniversary of my revival from my first coma. It was at that time that I opened my eyes and was myself again. I remember it was snowing. My mother was on the floor next to me crying tears of joy. “What happened?” I asked her. I got my answer by our family doctor: “Well, it was about time you woke up! You’ve broken every record!”

Apparently it was some kind of lethargy. I had been asleep for 14 days.

The doctor, wearing a fancy tie, was trying to give me courage. Not only did he not succeed, but instead of laughter, a grotesque grin was spread over his face.

As the months went by and I began to feel better, I regained my courage. In the end, human beings can get used to everything…

“Now you are familiar with my case”, I told the doctor once, “so I shouldn’t fear getting buried alive…”

January 23 rd 1919

Dienach getting a book

It’s the fourth misty, cloudy day in a row. What can one do in this weather? No friends come to visit me anymore… I’m reading a history book. Since I was in primary school, history has always had the power to take me away.  I remember thinking back then that we were all born in a certain place and era from a mere coincidence. We could have easily been born in a completely different country, culture and even century, with completely different friends, jobs, lovers. But we wouldn’t be able to know any of the things that were about to happen later, that is, now.

I’m trying to read but I’m pushing myself to do it. Back then I used to really engage with what I read. Not anymore. Today, my loneliness has reached its deepest depth.

February 8 th 1919

I started seeing the priest again. He never pressured me to talk and that eased me. Amelia had explained to him that I need time. He respected that. That’s why I went. He said he liked talking to me. I did as well. The conversation with him was always very interesting. He had a positive way of thinking and a clear judgment, free of prejudice and stereotypes. His mind was robust and bright.

I stared at his library. He had almost everything; from the mystics of the East and the Ionian philosophers to the modern philosophers of the Western civilization.

“I see you staring at these worthless books,” he told me as if he could read my mind, “Don’t expect big things from them. I’ve read them all. I know all that’s been said by the brightest minds of all times. But I will never feel the power that real love has to raise you to the highest point of knowledge… I’ll never experience a love like that…”

He turned to me. It was the first time that he, being such a discreet and considerate man had made an allusion to Ann, albeit indirectly. He was looking within me for help, for insights. He was hoping to feel what love is, even just through a description.

“She told me she’d be with me… that I’d feel her close to me from time to time.  It’s been ten years since then. Never, not once, have I had a sign from her. You tell me then, father, how does the concept of the imperishable soul that you preach about reconcile with the absolute lack of any communication with those who so loved us?”

“If you’re looking for shelter from the moments of pain I have nothing else to offer you other than faith; any faith. But let us focus on you. And I’m talking to you as a brother, not as a priest. If I were you, I would not place my hopes and future on this promise. All these years you’ve been over-thinking and consuming yourself at the expense of your mental health. Why? Do you consider this healthy or right? Haven’t you had enough experience to know that you’d better not rely on unrealistic expectations? You need a sign; why should Creation reveal its secrets to you? And why, with the sole excuse of lacking signs, do you discard them altogether? And how are you sure that they haven’t been revealed to you, but found you too blind to notice or understand them?”

I had no counter argument. We sat there for a while opposite each other without talking, and then we left.

That night I said a prayer after a very long time. I asked the Lord to calm me down and show me that my doubts were unjustified; nothing. But then I cried; I managed to cry! Could that have been the sign I was looking for?

Dienach praying

February 24 th 1919

The thought that I could leave this life, get away once and for all, was very attractive in the beginning. So many people are gone every day, at every age.  Nothing can be ruled out. Suicidal thoughts, however, didn’t cross my mind. I don’t know if my mother or my cowardice was to blame for that, or rather a pure selfishness created by that open wound in my heart.

The possibility alone, however, comforted me. I was vaguely looking forward to breaking the ties. If she’s gone I’m going with her; as simple as that. That was the thought. And she’d be waiting there for me, unchanged, and everything would go back to the way it was.  

Chronicles from the Future  is now available in Kindle or paperback format through  Amazon.

Copyright Achilleas Syrigos. All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be republished.