Here's what I remember.
I will attempt to avoid embellishment, but I cannot promise anything. I do not lie. Only when I'm told to, and only a beautiful woman can make me do that. But let me respond to your question, inquisitor.
We begin the story with a girl—no, that's wrong—we commence with the impression of a character. If I recall correctly, she was a salient conversationalist, a shifting impresario, a lover of the orchestra and a facsimile of Bahrain, London and Madrid.
There's nothing to fear, she said to me, more than once. We're here for a drink, a laugh, a smirk and a wild thought. Let's not shy away from nothingness, or the tumultuous wholeness, let us pray and act. No. Let's kill. But what should we save though?
This question I pondered outside the bar that night, and later, behind the stadium finishing up the gasps of a dying cigarette.
The love you disregarded, I said, the life we lived when we first met? She responded coldly, like she was once a being of warm blood, not just the callous instant I felt when air became a cloud before my lips. My ears echoed her reply, still distant, always distant. You saw it there, she said; before your eyes, don't you remember? I shook my head. There, she said.
This time pointing.
And it was true, inquisitor, I had indeed seen it. A white oak with leaves colored by the runaway sun in the endless horizon, withstanding the incoming winter, burning and burning, the ember-leaves rebelling against the freshly fallen snow; a sunset-colored roar, vivid and flashing, waving a stark goodbye to the bygone summer.
She told me then, it was the season changing, the warrior's last fiery breath in every moonlit shadow and golden afternoon, the tremor of nature's lonely spartan eager to non-conform.
The glimmer in her eye did not lie, it did not quiver. She was not afraid of the transient fiends, or the soul-sucking trends, the icy shriveled path up ahead, why—I swear by the blazing reds—she was appeased by them! A reaction which I initially thought strange and later on knew to be enchanting. An idea strengthened by the crimson leaves in the cold and naked face of winter: the soul of change, she said to me, nature's spirit. An inverted spring, she dared call it. And I just stared, lost in that rouge oblivion, impossibly lost.
Don't be entranced, she reassured me, rather you should feel liberated. Uncompromised. For what is thereafter? Not the bones nor the land beyond its inner marrow, just the shifting cognition of human possibility, the hope of flowering verdure atop a cliff before the blooming prairie.
I have to be honest here, inquisitor. I was shackled—is shackled the right word?—no, I was enamored, I was stricken. No, I was empowered. Touched by nature's seasons folding and unfolding before my eyes, I amplified beneath her fiery self.
And to that, with grace and childish glamour, I whisper her evanescence—for what can mere words convey, inquisitor?—would I accomplish the construction of a perfect image, I'd still find myself lying. Beauty had beguiled me after all.
—Alexander Helas •