Chronicles from the Future: Second Diary - July 21 to August 17, 1922
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July 21 st 1922
The number of my evening solitude companions is dwindling. Maybe they’re right. There isn’t much left to say every other night. At this point, most of the times my companions are my books, and I am happy with that. Who would have thought that everything that went down in history since they were written, would justify the value of their contents. My own old childhood loves, Schiller, Goethe, but more recent names as well, like Einstein, Schweitzer, Bertrand Russell, Thomas Mann, Maeterlinck… I can’t express how strange a feeling a meeting with them would give me. I could - and I alone - tell them things on the course of the last years of their lives, on how their work would be glorified in history, on their end, things that they never knew and never could have known.
I’m sitting at the bottom of a tree, awe-struck by the vastness of the existences that I have wandering around me. And yet I feel like, from this very spot, I could cut the universe in half and squeeze into it!
August 10 th 1922
Tonight I went through hell. On the one hand, I felt like talking about everything I know, getting everything out of my system, but on the other hand I knew I had to push myself to bury everything deep down inside forever!
Where are you, Mom? Were you alive I’d tell you everything! To you, everything! I know that you’d always respect what’s now the most sacred thing in my life.
August 14 th 1922
Two days ago I ran into Father Jacob on the street. He had come back from his trip to Italy. I thanked him for all the help and support he gave my mother during my lethargy. I told him I would visit him the day after, which I did. We sat in his garden. How differently it felt being next to him this time! All the doubts I used to have were long gone now.
“Father, I’m not the same person as I used to be. If only you knew about the change I’ve been through…”
I reminded him of my old thought and my disrespectful conclusions and I assured him that I don’t share the same point of view with my old self anymore. At the same time, however, I felt like I had no right to talk to him more clearly. He seemed very excited that faith had spoken to me.
“I was wrong father. If only you knew all those great things there are…” I stopped suddenly. The tone of my voice surprised even me. The priest stared at me in silence raring to hear the rest.
“Even the very toughest pain is welcomed, both physical and mental. Vindication will come in the end. Never should a sigh come out of a human mouth.”
And then came a moment of silence. The priest was now getting nervous. He looked like he was trying to make me talk without asking. Finally he said: “See, son? That’s faith!”
“No, father, no”, I replied with a calm and steady voice. “It’s not just faith that changed me. You can’t even imagine what’s really out there. The human mind is incapable of realizing the greatness of it.”
I didn’t reveal more. But I had already said too much, more than I was entitled to…
At first, Father Jacob was patiently waiting for me to proceed. Later he started asking me, in his own casual, indirect way. Then he started begging me. He called me “son”, he called me “brother” and he reminded me of our past discussions back in the winter of 1919. Finally he claimed that it’s a sin to believe that something can be exclusively ours to keep, ending with how that something would eventually become a burden on my conscience. I regretted having said all that and having spoiled those sacred truths by giving them the shape of human reason.
Since last night, I’ve been thinking that something has changed between me and the priest, and that our long lasting friendship now belongs in the past.
August 16 th 1922
In such summer days like this, the sky is so clear- nearly transparent- and the breeze so cool, that midday time resembles a crystal clear spring morning. I am so glad that I postponed all my responsibilities for tomorrow; all the paperwork, all the boring seriousness of my everyday routine. Mornings like this are not designed to be spent between four walls. It should be considered a sin to work on such divine days. Now I understand why we, all the worms of this earth, should think twice before we refer to the divine. I was told that all the great things that surround us are far beyond the capabilities of our finite mind to comprehend. That’s why little children find joy in trifles, and based on that, they´re undoubtedly a lot wiser than we are.
Forgive me Heavenly Father for my lack of faith.
August 17 th 1922
When it happens that three people are having a conversation on the pavement, in the midst of the complete silence of the night, it´s normal that someone could overhear them, no matter how low the volume of their voice is, especially if that someone´s open window is right above their heads...
Half an hour ago, I was lucky enough to experience such an annoying situation, without them knowing I was listening. At first they were talking loudly about local matters. I could hear the deep voice of a hotel owner, the typical tone of our family doctor’s voice and a third person talking, whose voice I couldn’t recognize. At some point, they realized where they were standing and turned the conversation to me. They asked the doctor what exactly was wrong with me and he gave them a few minutes lecture on lethargy. The other two kept on asking more questions and a few “shhhs” interrupted the conversation every time someone was raising their voice.
Then the idea popped into my mind. I remembered the motif from the second part of Ruthemir’s composition. Once, twice, three times I played it in my head without any mistakes. I could easily play in on the piano. I sat on my stool, with my window open and then, the divine melody broke the silence of the night, like a storm of happiness, a genuine expression of the knowledge of the future. Then I approached my window. The doctor, the hotel owner and the third man were still standing there talking, like nothing had ever happened; unbelievable! I think that even the human flocks that used to carry massive stones for the pyramids would be less indifferent to the sound of this melody.
In a few days I’m leaving for Athens. I’ve already made all the arrangements. I need a more temperate climate, the doctors agreed with me on that. Psychologically I’m fine but physically I’m weak; the tuberculosis never went away, I know I haven’t got much time left. Maybe a couple of years…
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Copyright Achilleas Syrigos. All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be republished.