Questioning Love

How can you measure love?
Is it the power of feelings
Holding onto your heart;
Is it the everyday acts
Altering life into art;
Is it the given facts?

How can you endure love?
Is it by gathering the tears
Garnishing your bed-side;
Is it by facing the fears
That in the secrets hide;
Is it by ticking years?

How can you kill love?
Is it by making habit
What used desire to be;
Is it by spending time
On your solidity;
Is just neglect the key?

Blighted Eden

Night had already laid the dark veil of mystery and distrust upon this remote little village. Abandonment and decay were observant to the shallowest eye, while inhaling the suffocating air made dead silence smell like a real corpse. Folded into dense mist the street laments filled the atmosphere with doubt and remorse. A few passengers went by in haste, holding tightly their personal effects – a parcel, an umbrella, a walking stick – as if someone would try to take possession of them out of a sudden.

As soon as the streets got empty again, a strange man appeared on the bridge that provided a safe passing over the river which was a natural boundary between the safety of the village and the wilderness of the forest. The man gave the impression of a gentleman, with his refined black coat, his black hat, and his black leather gloves. Enveloped into this blackness he walked heavily, but decisively towards the village. He had crossed his arms before his chest in defense of the wild wind that blew incessantly against his vulnerable existence, slowing down his already slow pace. His will was too futile to persist on Nature’s intentions, thus forcing him to stand still for a moment. He was a figure almost shadowy, a strange wanderer of solitude, who under the dim lit moon formed uncommon shapes on to the stone walls of the narrow bridge. He carried nothing, but his own puzzles and agony. He had no reason to haste or a place to go. Despite his neat appearance, he cared not for stepping into the mud and paid no attention to the howling that came from the deep forest. It was not bravery, but rather indifference what kept him calm and unaffected.

His dark and skinny silhouette from a distance and within this foggy air resembled to a tree trunk, or at least this was the first impression of another fine man, who was galloping quickly closer and closer. Reaching the man, the rider ordered his horse to stop and looking down the mysterious gentleman, he said: “Pray, stranger, I truly wonder, what on earth a man is doing outside this late an hour and under these weather conditions?”

“Sir, my minute quest goes as far as to reach a stay for the night. I was betting for a warm bed in this foreign place. Maybe you could prove me right. Is there any inn to find here?” replied the man, who was now trembling from cold.

“Your luck, stranger, is short in that direction. You see, the only inn of the area is not yet available. Due to a recent fire it is under reconstruction” said the rider with a disappointing voice, and pausing for a moment to think, he added “However, if you trust your luck and a stranger’s offer, I can provide for you the bed you wish. My place is not far from here.”

Something in the man’s heart bounced with hope, but his face remained unexpressed and stiff. Maybe it was the cold that prevented his smile to be formed, maybe it was the unfamiliarity of the offer that made him feel uneasy, or maybe it was just late to have such sort of puzzles. Given the circumstances, the response came out rather impulsively “It seems to me sir that there is no other way, but to accept the offer with much gratitude for your unique kindness.” Having said that, the man got on the back of the horse with the assistance of the other and the two co-riders vanished into the deep black forest.

The night passed by better than the initial expectations. The guest was very pleased to have a rest in a cozy room and wake up in a place beyond common beauty. A new Eden was laid before his eyes and demonstrated without a doubt the finest example of man’s love towards Nature. The garden formed a unique tapestry of colors and of varieties of rare flowers, herms and plants that filled the air with a mixture of extraordinaire odors. Such a paradise-like environment irresistible to all senses was indeed the ultimate temptation for the man, who could not yet trust his consciousness, knowing well the power of dreams to blend the fancy with the real.

His desire to throw some fresh water onto his face, partly to wake up and mostly to test his senses, made him go out of the room instantly. Walking carefully among the garden he could not disregard and indeed admire the perfectness of the surroundings. Everything looked so perfectly shaped and healthy, so beautiful and colorful and intoxicating, that he could not resist mumbling about being in an earthly heaven. A few steps below, he found a well, where he happily stopped to grant his desire, but while he was raising the bucket he felt a strong hand on his shoulder. Scared to death as he was, he turned around to see his host smiling at him.

“Did I scare you that much? You turned all white and pale, as if you have just seen a ghost” said he in a playful tone to tease his victim of surprise.

“Well, yes, pretty much. I didn’t perceive that you were coming” replied the poor man, who started just then to regain his ordinary color.

“I apologize for my attitude. I should have warned you somehow. How was your night, then? Did you have a good rest?” he asked as a good host should do.

“Yes, indeed. Thank you very much.”

“Great, and how did you like my garden?” he asked again, apparently eager to hear some compliments for his outstanding achievement.

“I wouldn’t call it a garden, sir, but paradise. It’s true, we are in heaven, are we not?” replied the man with genuine sincerity and admiration.

“Ah, it is My Heaven for sure. Everything you see is the result of much personal effort, patience, design, and of course my deep knowledge upon Nature’s modes” said the creator proudly.

“An extraordinary achievement, indeed!” said the visitor who was now examining the environment more thoroughly “But what about human nature? Is there not an Eve residing at this paradise?”

“An Eve? Nice touch! Come with me”, said the other laughing at the comment of his interlocutor and taking him by the hand, they headed towards the house. There, they encountered a beautiful young lady, who was preoccupied with the domestic affairs and in the appearance of the two men she stopped to take a breath.

“This is my sister V and this is, I shall say, mister D” uttered the man and hasted to clarify the utterance that reached the ears of his guest with much of astonishment “We may have not introduced ourselves properly, but you see, here in my paradise, there is no need for proper names and rules”

Mister D, as an easily compromising man took no offense of the matter, and accepted the peculiar idiosyncrasy of his host as such with a smile. Then, he said gently “Nice to meet you. Is it V, comme la vie en rose?”

The woman shrugged “No, it is just V. I am a V in the same way you were given a D for a name.”

“And our Godfather’s initial is…” asked he with a sense of humor.

“G. I am G. Now, let us forget all these letters and make a toast on our visitor.”

Three glasses of red wine were raised in the air and just before they met each other, a thunder stroke suddenly making the interior of the room tremble for a while. Mister D was terrified by this coincidence, but the other two seemed totally unaffected by the natural phenomenon. During the discussion that followed, it was agreed that mister D would spend a few days more among his new friends. A tour in the property of mister G was then planned, and the two men left V behind to prepare dinner, while they were to ride the rest of the day.

It was a nice trip into the forest that released the human heart from any earthly concerns and fears, and filled it instead with fresh air and a sentiment of freedom. The two riders did not have much of a talk, but they seemed content from each other’s company. With dusk approaching dangerously they decided to take the way of return. The sensuality of the forest together with the dense greenery, the branches and the tree trunks took an entirely different look in the evening. The shadows and the strange noises behind the bushes and the leaves made mister D very anxious.

“It is only the wind, do not be afraid my friend” said G in an effort to console his stressed companion, but the latter could not find peace in his heart any more. “Here, take some wine to sooth your spirit” he said again offering his wooden gourd-bottle.
Sipping the wine, a feeling of numbness and dizziness conquered his tense body. Before he lost his senses, he thought he heard evil laughter and drums and thunders. The next thing he felt was moisture upon his forehead. He opened his eyes to see a young lady holding a wet towel. He was burning with fever.

“Is it you V?” he asked in anxiety “where am I?”

The woman urged him not to talk. Her loving figure and her tender caring were too familiar, but he was not sure of her identity and intentions. In a moment he fell unconscious again. She raised and got out of the room quietly, where two innocent childish eyes met her glance with worry. “Your father is quite ill, but he will be alright” said she calmly.

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