Often I look back at those years, when I had not met him yet, when you were his horizon, his sole love. I have wondered who you really were, how charming and determined you must have been then, to capture his heart, to change him from the timid little boy, to what he became, after falling in love with you, the silent street fighter – for you.
We will never know what reanimated the flame, after all that time. Was it a chance encounter, that morning in the Apple store, as he was to write much later, when his delusion had engulfed him? Was it the hazard of wandering in some of those imaginary places where his muse took him, when he was inspired? Was it tiredness with his adopted city?
But you are the only ghost I know whose presence has been alive for me, me the paragon of Cartesianism, me the scientist, the skeptical and rational woman. Julian is a very convincing man, and as his wife, I too was tempted to play the game, as his sister was. What a mistake! We only succeeded in reinforcing the mirage, in making you more present than ever. Then there was that feeling of guilt: the guilt he felt, I know now, all his life, for abandoning you, for letting you murdered, alone, far away from him, the guilt for never daring to make you his. And the guilt we all felt, to ignore how ill he was, to ignore the evidence, not of writer’s inspiration, but of a cruel delusion that could kill him.
Did the ghost seek revenge? Were you still angry with him then? Or did he conjure up the idealised young woman of his dreams, a reflection that had stayed with him over the years, a powerful intoxication of the soul?
Still, as I observe his peaceful sleep, in the calm of our house, I cannot not like you, the way one may like a beautiful, venomous flower. You are part of him, a fragment of the person I live with. I know that in his dreams you and I are are often one and the same, but I no longer feel the pang of jealousy. For he is mine, and has been all the time you have been in darkness, alone, unable to reach him. In fact I have started pitying you, and your loneliness.
O Sarah, how I love those words, how I admire the kindness and noble thoughts that once again I sense from you. How I understand why Julian is so deeply in love with you, why you are for him more precious than his own life, or those pitiful childhood memories. What he became, as a man, has far more to do with you, your love, the paradise you gave him, than anything he and I may have once shared.
Then, we were young, and without understanding of the world as it really was. And I, what to say, other than I was not worthy of him. His friends called me a bad girl, a slut, and that really was what I was. I was lost, diseased, my soul was as rotten as my flesh, even before they killed me. He was so much above me, an intelligent boy, a generous heart, courageous and loyal.
Yet, in the well of darkness I fell into, I had no other thought than finding him, seeing his face again, touching his hand, kissing his lips… I was selfish, the way stupid people are. I was unable to control my greed for him. I corrupted once again his innocence. I disrupted the perfect equilibrium you created for him. I am deeply ashamed of myself, and I do not know if I will ever be able to redeem myself. No, Sarah, we are not one and the same, but the opposite: you are clean, healthy, devoted to your husband; and I, I am a monster of egotism and lust, I am his rotten dream.
Image: G. Alberto Nacci – ‘One, No One, One hundred Thousand’, source: http://philosophyandthearts.tumblr.com/