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THE SHADOW BEHIND YOU

Plamen Laparev

web

If I were a dry twig in the coldest of winters, I would bring myself back to life from your breath.

If I were the mightiest of hurricanes I would be hushed by your whisper.

If I were a block of marble, let Thy Hand be my sculptor. Here, take mine, and I'll lead the way to the promised land, created only for us.

This way is neither short, nor easy. It is thorny and off the beaten track. I keep stumbling, falling, losing heart at times, but I find my feet time and again… and carry on and on…

I promise you the way not, but the end of it. Sooner or later I'll be where I've set out for. Stay with me and we'll get there sooner, for I'll have more strength to remove the obstacles, so that we can steer this course together.

 

Hi, darling!

We haven't seen each other for quite a while, but I still keep your image in my mind. Since you left me, the world has changed for me. It is different.

Darling, don't blame me for being jealous of you! Only those capable of being jealous are capable of being in love. I'm jealous of your past, of all the men who loved you and were loved back. I'm jealous of your present day, of all the leers you lure men into; I'm jealous of your future, for I know I won't have you then.

Isn't it weird - there are so many women living in this world but it's only you that I care about. It's only you that I can see.

This feeling is like an earthquake. One, that could destroy everything.

I'll go all the way: without a woman, a man would surely be the piteous creature in nature - so preposterous, that it would be sooner or later annihilated by that same nature as a stupid misunderstanding. We can exist only together. Just like… like the plug and the point it goes into. Separate, they are of no value; the electric current is unthinkable if they are not put into each other.

I am the clay you would shape an image from and infuse life into: you could come up with a beautiful creature that would love and be loved. You might as well design an unshapely being dragging on a wretched existence full of meaningless dawns.

Remember: I am the shadow you cast!

If a man has a woman, he can refashion the world. To have a woman is a necessity, a must. Mere egoism.

I am in search of perfection! I don't know exactly what philosophers mean by it, I take it literally.

Making sex reads like coming closer to Heaven. But copulation - an experience unique as it is, is to a great extent just a relief, a most ordinary physiological need. It's like the meals we can't do without, but it's only delight lies in the banality of having it regularly. Suppose, we put some feeling into it and it grows ad infinitum, it then spells: passion. Then and only then do we say that we make love, not only sex. Not a simple meal, but un grande festin. And I claim it from the point of view of my egoism. Therefore I tell you - don't be afraid to give love! Indulge in this sweetest of feelings no matter how little is on offer. Because love is a drug. I want to be a love-addict!

How do you think, are really shared memories that bind us together? Much too often I'm afraid to say all the truth to someone. But how could I tell lies to a blank sheet of paper?! Yes, I do think that the man and the woman are the two halves of a single entiy. They can exist independently, separately, but are not complete. Only their binding together would amount to something more than the mere sum of two halves, would be the catalyst in the chemistry of communication.

Of course, we can let things take their mundane course and be caught in the trap of their problems. When, though, shall we take any real steps in our life?

We tend to delay making our important decisions because we are afraid of them. Which one is the most important, though? Having a good job that gives you a sense of accomplishment? Certainly, but is it the most important thing? Power over people - could be, and yet it is transient and dangerous. Being at the spotlight, fame - it's all vanity growing with time into boredom. Money, wealth - certainly! Only to the effect that it nurtures our next steps.

No, definitely not! Nothing of the aforementioned would I define as the Single Absolute Necessary Condition that could make our existence meaningful - the very thing that makes us different from insects or any other crawling- on- the- world creature, so that we could fulfil the grandiosely conceived plan of Him who created the Earth and all living things on it.

To find the other half! That is the Meaning and the Condition and the Way.

Once, Plato claims, the man and the woman were a single being. But God grew so envious of that ideal being, that he separated it into two halves, doomed to seek each other forever. I do believe, that for every man, somewhere out there-in the broad world , there exists She-his perfect half, the image in the mirror.

Our problem is that we can't easily identify that most fitting half among all the others.But once we do find it,we ought not to be afraid of it, by no means, no!

We are haunted by that fear of disappointment so much that we devoid ourselves of courage to confess our pristine inability to confess what we feel for the other one.

After all these words I've used to unveil the manifestation of egoism as a state of mind, the ego as absolute self-love healed from the stigma of the self-absorbed hypocrisy so well accreted to the philistine, no matter that I'm terrified of uttering its real name, I gather, I should admit at last - I have just described love to you - something that you have no idea about!

Oh, how I despise you for that!

For all those years you laid the blame on me for your dreams that never came true. I was the one that suffered it all - your unending fits of bad mood, your monthly indispositions , the petty gains of your feeble-minded friends, which though, your blurred by envy mind introduced as stunning achievements of the West - available to any but you, because I were an incompetent imbecile, unable to deliver.

For all the hogwash of vile words poured out onto my head in the presence of those same friends that you were gossiping together from dawn to dusk. Those same friends that you liked to swear the image of and spit on behind their back, the minute they left your kitchen haunt.

You wanted me for the sole purpose of playing the infatuated fool who would combat your innumerable complexes and patiently, doggedly, make up for all the years of other men's neglect for you, for as you well know, you are no beauty, and never has been one. At school, I suppose, you used to be cast odd glances by some cocksuckers only to picture you or something yours while choking the chicken in the toilet. Not only did you want me to be always at the ready, available to make it up for you, an all-purpose substitute to steady the subtle equilibrium of your subtle to the extent of nonexistence soul, /by the way considered by you, I don't know why, very deep/ but you wanted everything I mentioned above from me.

Darling, should I happen to be a superman, I would not be able to break a single brick in that massive wall of yours called complex of inferiority, which is though, the only thing visible in your look of misunderstood intellectual.

Nevertheless… I … I can't live without you. Not the one I described above, but the image I created in my mind.

You want to hear the whole story?

Because of all that I've said I've decided… to kill you.

 

I don't want to take revenge for the lost years with you and my stamped-out dignity. Just the opposite. Just for the sake of love. For all those magical moments at the beginning, for the magic itself, for the handful of motley beads that are left in the past. I will kill you to keep your image alive, the image I shaped, the image I want to make immortal… and want to keep only for myself.

I still have the key to your flat. I know you haven't changed the lock. I've calculated everything: you'll wake up without the knowledge that it is your last morning, you'll get down, in your dressing-gown and with your curlers on, to pick up your mail. Then you'll sit down, your back to the door. You'll start filing your nails very focused - the only thing, perhaps, that you do love doing, you'll flip through the glossy, gossipy and insipid magazine of yours, which I never tolerated for all its wishy-washy stories about slimy characters in a hundred-percent-shit of soap opera, that you follow so persistently, as if your very life depended on it. You'll sip your morning cup of coffee slowly and then you'll look down at the bottom of it with the hope that you could make use of the single neuron of yours so that you could decipher the mysterious signs of fortune, left in the residue down there. Then you'll open the letter. You won't be interested at all and when you get to the end…

Do you want to read the end of the story?

Do you remember that "Magnum" that I never leave? You kept saying, I was mad for always carrying it around. Well, I have it now on me.

Can you guess where I am now?

 

© Plamen Laparev, 2002
© Ivailo Dagnev - translation, 2002
© E-publishing LiterNet, 19. 09. 2002
=============================
First edition, electronic.