The events, characters, and situations listed in this book are fictional.
Any resemblance or closeness to real events, situations or people, whether alive or dead, is entirely coincidental (and not contrary to the truth).
THE CONFESSION OF LIRIKA MERTIRI
To forget one life, darling, any man requires, at least, one additional life…
The deadly numbness on your face had solidified the light, premature smile, as when the speaker, not waiting for the conversation to end, had already begun to smile. After that Arsenio, I never saw you again. I do not remember anything, only the muffled rumbling of the rain falling on the canopies of the pines, the wet grass and the thin furrows of your blood, which seemed to become rarer, and then freeze like a red exclamation mark from your temples to your lips.
What did that smile mean, Arsenio?
Knowing well the language of your mimicry, I know that you usually, after the grimace of such a smile, stick out your tongue. Were you trying to do just that at that fatal moment? Arsenio,to whom did you want to thrust forth you tongue thus? To my words? To the twisted truth masked by selected expressions? Or to your ideas, which pulsated and as soon as they instinctively reached the end of the perspective of thought and, as always, you were too lazy once again, but now in words, to cross their trajectory, Or maybe thus, holding the steering wheel, you accidentally hit the truth disguised in my expressions and so, in anticipation, listening to me, you started smiling at the simple essence that I was trying to convey to you in so many words? Because, Arsenio, the painful truths which make us sweat in the soul can not be transmitted that way, naked, without words of justification, without a kind of underestimating cunning, without the necessary relativization…
You, Arsenio, did not listen to me to the end. And I have no one else to confess to, though I swore a long time ago that I would only tell that to the tombstone. You were the only one… The others hold no brief. Others, without exception, either interrupt you in order, with a wise word, to spoil everything for you, or they do not have patience because they can not wait to tell you their stories as soon as possible, hungry to confirm them personally, leaving you no time to finish (isn’t this, as you would say, an ancient expression of the crisis of the subject?).
What to do when confessions pile up and terrorize you? When you bend under their weight for years and when you are cursed to drag them like corpses in the streets? Is there anyone still who can listen? It seems, Arsenio, that in our time you can no longer find this ancient feature! And our histories will remain such: piles of molten lead that weigh on our souls.
But I, Arsenio, have begun my confession; I raised the shimmering end where my animals roar; even more, I feel the movement of these shadows – animals and ghosts – moving, rolling: rushing to the exit doors as if a fire had broken out inside. Exit, Exit… I feel a seismic shock in my womb, even something physiological shaking deep inside, from under my belly, like mice before an earthquake in the ancient Chinese vases. And now I can not stop… Arsenio, I hate when they do not hear me out to the end. You listened to me. You understood the perspective that opened from behind the veil, then smiled, as adults do to free children from the fear caused by ghost stories. Because, my love, that is what your smile looked like to me: an almost imperceptible smile followed by the sticking out of the tongue: “What ghost, you fool! Are you OK? You really made us laugh now!”
But the exclamation from the bloody line that was thinning, coming from the temples to the edge of the smile did not allow you to listen to me until the end… My dearest, I had already planned my whole confession in my head. To Podgradec I would have told you about my sad home where I grew up and where this desperate blood was created for me. About the mysterious way in which my imaginary world got complicated for me, how the world got inside, the one, the outside world, how it affected it, what kind of movie was going on in the little child’s head. Then, about how the fantasies are engraved, the feel of the orphanage, the bitter taste of the constant punishment in the corner, about how the blows of fate are endured and how big the weight is in that little head of not being like everyone else. The rest of the time, after we arrived and all the way to dinner, I thought I would spend demystifying everything that looked completely different from what it actually was; the eerie touch of that cold snake, the coil we call reality, the turning off of every light bulb, every celebration and every holiday in adolescence, and even the walls that so quickly rose around me and extinguished every prospect of entering that world, the world they said was big. For me, though, the opposite was happening, this big world was constantly gathering, gathering like a thorny hedgehog, to, finally, end up with endless walls… With walls, Arsenio! With double walls, stains, traps everywhere… In front of the labyrinth intersections, everywhere – a Minotaur! Not the one of the myths, my dear, but disguised as an ugly male character, as a muffled sneeze in the libraries, as hotel dampness and those bad office tapestries.
This is how magnificent the dinner for your 40th birthday would have been: a table filled with the burden of my whole life. And I would wish you: “Take it, my dearest, here is all of it on the table! This is my gift, the only dowry I have inherited. For ten years you have been persistently trying to get it! And now it is all in front of you… the birthday gift!”
Then I would sit and wait. And, finally released, I would watch curiously what you would do. It does not matter whether you would accept it or not. Even if I wanted to, I could not have made up another life, the kind I would have liked to have.
But the dices determined, in this sorrow of ours, for me to have such a life.
God, how I wish I knew what your choice would have been, Arsenio! After that, it would not matter at all how we would return to Tirana: together or separately. But for everything, whatever it was, the reason for that unfulfilled dinner, was you, Arsenio, your ten-year insistence… Now, who will listen to my confession that I started?… It is not enough, Arsenio, it is not enough, even that bloody exclamation mark that, thinned by the rain, stretched from your temples to your frozen smile. Confession needs ears, a careful listener, an honest experiencer, because the confessor tore his soul from his chest and put it thus, bloody, to beat in your palms. It is not so easy to get rid of the one who confides his confession to you filled with allusions, symbols, allegories, you do not stop him, you do not leave him in the middle… Who, except you, my dearest, deserves this confession, precisely now when I have opened wide the exit door for my animals…?
You owe it to me to hear me out, Arsenio, without interrupting me… until the very end.