He said, never trembling on each syllable. His eyes fought the unbearable weight of those five words. For him the memory was not only a self-inflicted wound that he nursed, stitch by stitch. It was still a sensitive gaping hole waiting for the possibility to be bled open by temptations.
Amidst the pain, regret and devastation. His face flickered with pride for his temporary triumph.
I knew him from when his hair was long and disheveled. He was an embodiment of youth’s hedonism. Even the way he walked. He seemed not caring about what path he took and who he bumped into. It was as if he was swiftly floating in a fairytale land of euphoria.
I also knew about their clandestine lifestyle. He wasn’t the person he was. It was the alcohol, drugs and weed consuming a beautiful mind. He was fourteen when he first tasted the lure of addiction.
I remembered our talks about Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds as his favorite Beatles song. Perhaps it was my fondest memory of him.
“Do not ever give yourself in.”
It didn’t sound like an advice. It was a plea. As if saving others means redeeming himself.
“How did you get over with it?” I asked, not a question but a comfort.
“It took me two years of contemplating. It took me two years to love my real self. It took me two years to just be. I have to open myself up to the people who love me. I have to express myself. I have to forget eight years of my life that was lost. A portion of me had to die for my whole being to be renewed.”
As he spoke, he turned into a colorful imago. An imaginal that was able to regenerate from the dirty fluids of his larvae form to arise into an astounding being that will, in no time, inspire some lost and troubled caterpillar.
“Sometimes I could still hear their evil voices.”
He rested the spoon and fork on the bowl as if they too had been his baggage. He looked at the food as if they too were a challenge he has to defeat. He let out a heavy sigh.
I gazed into his eyes, it felt like looking all the way to his soul. The scene inside was strangely familiar. Suddenly, I am looking at a mirror, of myself.