Darkness had descended on Richmond, Virginia, as i trudged along the snow carpeted path that led to the old Cemetery. All the animals were scurrying back to their homes, feeling unsafe and dangerous to be out in the gloom that was now enveloping the place. They would sometimes crawl among the bushes and eye me suspiciously, as if i had done wrong in trespassing on their territory.
Startled birds fluttered out of their black reacesses; crows awoke in the trees and cawed their alarms, and then, as if calmed by some passing thought, kept silent. The icy blasts of wind had made my body numb by now and i thrust my hands deep into the pockets of my coat and kept walking. Reaching the desired grave i stopped, sat down on one knee and procuring a flashlight from inside the coat, flashed it on the epitaph. Rivulets of tears streamed down my face as i read and re-read the inscription, memorable times, moments spent together started replaying in my mind. I now understood why the sweet, sensitive lips smiled so rarely and so restrainedly then, and why the clear blue eyes looked at me, sometimes with the pity of an angel, sometimes with the innocent perplexity of a child. But the change meant more than this. There was a coldness in her hand, an unnatural mobility in her face, there was in all movements the mute expression of constant fear and clinging self-reproach. "She didn't die. No, no she's..she is still alive", i kept babbling like this in my mind, oblivious to the sounds around me, when the crackle of twigs jolted me from my reverie and rooted me to the spot. With an alacrity i had acquired in my old profession, i divulged the Glock from the coat pocket and listened intently.
"Its funny how one simple sound can divert your thoughts of the past from the depths of your brain to the present", said someone with a raspy voice.
The adrenaline of rush flowing through my body had almost paralyzed my limbs and I reeled around to find the owner of that voice but the dim light emanating from the old lampposts rendered it futile. Footsteps resounded behind me and the sound of a gun cocking behind me made me fire the gun in all directions in fear and anger.
"What do you want?!", i screamed on the top of my lungs but the sound of laughing and talking and sneezing behind me vexed me even more.
Deja vu. 'God, has this happened before? Damn!'
I fell on the ground and rubbed my face with snow but to no avail. I hit the butt of the gun on my head but, noting. I could feel nothing except a faint sound of ringing, the ringing of a bell. The ringing of a bell in an office with blue carpet and caramel coloured walls.
"What? what..no. HELENA!", I shouted with all my strength but my mouth was sore and i felt like choking.
"No need to shout, Victor. Its past bedtime, come to sleep". That voice, that sweet voice, those raspberry lips. Helena? NO. I craned my head to the left and discerned in the dim light her elegant figure, holding an umbrella and smiling that beautiful smile of her's. I smiled too and wiped my eyes.
"Paradox, Victor, none of this is true. Paradox is a statement that seems self-contradictory but in reality expresses a possible truth", said the nurse.
A bell rang three times and then stopped.
"Mr. Victor, please step forward and enter the room to be passed for examination in the transorbital lobotomy", said someone with a sweet voice.
My stomach was hurting from laughing so much, i wiped the tears off my eyes and opened them. The guys sitting beside me started laughing too. I stood up from my seat and walked haughtily towards the nurse sitting on a chair, smiling from ear to ear. Sitting down on a chair facing her, i smoothed my shirt and bent forward, eager to listen to her and still smiling.
"You are a patient, okay? Paradox, Victor, none of this is true. Paradox is a statement that seems self contradictory but in reality expresses a possible truth. Paradox is rubbish. Memories help no one, they only furthar derange a person.
Deja Vu. Memories are mere spectres in the fog. The more you visit them, the more they exceed your grasp. An unfinished puzzle with its pieces scattered about.
My smile now turend into a deep frown, and i closed my eyes.