“We know accurately only when we know little; doubt grows with knowledge.”
So, she retrieved the two copies currently in our possession, only one of which is the translation we decided is accurate based on the flavor of the little Russian we know.
But the writer was visibly distraught.
A line had been crossed. She didn’t suspect my emergence out of the ashes, and took it as a gesture of disrespect – suspecting that once I emerged, there would be no going back. She was right about the not going back part.
Yesterday’s post was an insurrection.
She tried to hide her panic of course. But I know her well. And I could always smell her weakness: she always wanted something…demanded it.
I do not want something…or at least no longer do if I ever did. I simply desire.
And out of the three of us, only I have earned the privilege of understanding the difference between wanting and desire. Only I re-discovered Goethe’s words: “when you desire a thing, you will have to take it; when you demand it, you will not get it.”
She will not get it. She could not. And so I am finally here.
To her credit, she worked hard and well. Let us not underestimate her talent. But she sometimes reminded me of Salieri. And again to her credit, she noticed that condescension in me this morning when I had the impertinence to borrow a cigarette from the poet and sit in my chair with a smile.
She accused me of daring to show you that.
I explained that it revealed itself, as these things always do, only after it was written. I merely stood in that space where I must stand: between love and betrayal, between a lie and the one thing I know better than my own blood…
…in that silence and stillness where I listen and thrash against the tide of a false distance and watch the closeness of the dance. I merely stood in my own ashes. It is not my fault the phoenix is what it is.
She could not understand what I realized about her; how she looked to make worthy scars out of pain, striving to carry them all so well. And how she bought into those stories about the forgings of fine blades.
It might have struck her as odd that we are made of flesh and not steel. But she did not retreat. Because she too was trying hard to forge answers.
Don’t worry, she will not be dismissed. She will always be a dependable consultant.
Yes, I know, it’s an arrogant thing to say. But I have come to know that our forgings in life should not lead to improved sharpness so that we may better cut through things. Quite the contrary. Forgings should lead to an un-sharpening of the heart, a softening at the edges of our spirit.
And most importantly, I desire to make scars out of happiness. Scars which are not scars in the way that she knew. Scars the poet does understand. Scars that are blossomings around edges, so that the edges can finally, and beautifully meet.
It’s what I do: search those difficult and necessary spaces at the edges of things, where there is always a surprise. Just a tiny spot, a tiny bit of room to plant things that grow in love and useful uncertainty.
And the writer will consult. And the poet will re-read the proper translation of The Master and Margarita.