As I look at those pictures, at the colours beginning to fade, and those faces not yet totally forgotten, I recall those instants I never seized, all those years back, before peace reached me. And peace, I owe to you, my love, you brought me down to reality, and to acceptance of the world. Yet I cannot entirely forget that other life, those other lives. These places still impregnated of the then recent disasters, the long wars, the signs of destruction still present all around us. Europe was then still on her knees.
From time to time, an article, a book, a scent, brings me back to those years, to a youth full of longing and unhappiness. The world was young… no, it was the old world, but we were young, naive, and dangerous. The calamities of today pale in insignificance compared to what was then the daily life of our parents: the sheer poverty, the cold, the threats, and the still smoking ruins. Yet there was also hope, born from the deep soul of their hearts.
This is when I met Melissa, both of us, me more than her, innocent and ignorant. This story is that of our loss, and the strange way we found each other again, decades apart, in a world we could never have then imagined. A world of shadows. But I have first to write about the present, this fabulous mixture of the seedy and the wonderful, called modernity, although this term is now, so passé…
This coming year, after much consideration, and with your help my love, I am leaving behind those preoccupations, the business where I have made my fortune, for indulging in my long postponed passions. I will be the writer – even if unpublished – that I have longed to be since my school days, and also the serious runner, the one unconstrained by time and professional duties: freedom. Freedom to train, to spend long hours refining the person I want to be. Then there will be the long hikes in the mountains we both love: and there will be pictures, of you.
And so, on the threshold of a new year, I will start anew. Soon I will have forgotten the illusions of ambition, the jealousies, the petty envy of lesser mortals. I will live again. My close friends will be the blank page, where I will share those memories and longings I care most for, and those beautiful lenses that will help me to see the world with new eyes. Soon I will roam those streets, in the city that has adopted me, reluctantly at first, but, ultimately, without looking back.
I will, but not now, I am just observing the clear sky from my desk, that faces our garden: a pale blue sky of December, small frayed clouds already tainted pink by the early sunset. Familiar tunes float through the room. My wife, Sarah, is upstairs washing her hair. Peace.