I am finally back, but this time with a new story.I decided to give up on the first one (it was mostly my first attempt, but now, when I look at it I realize that it wasn't so great; also, my writing style changed a lot, so I fear that if I would try to continue writing Mirrors from the Past everything would be more like someone else would be writing) and try something else.This time a translation (more like a visual adaptation) from a novel written by a Romanian author.
So, I want to make everything clear from the beginning.I do not claim this idea/plot/story as my own.I'm simply translating chapters from one of Mircea Eliade's novels (not his most famous work, but still an interesting one).If someone read the original novel they may notice some minor differences (like a different topic in some sentences, or an idea written differently, or even some chapters posted in a different order).The name of the book is "Return from Paradise" (ro - "Întoarcerea din Rai") and it was published for the first time in January, 1934.I don't know if it was ever translated in English (also, I'm not a professional translator, merely a high school student who's very fascinated with the life back in 1930-1940 and Eliade's work).Thank you if you read this ^^
*Una means One, but it can also be used as a name.Why Pavel calls the woman Una will also be explained later.I chose not to translate it and keep her name as the author chose it to be.
The moment he heard the bathroom door closing, Pavel took a jump out of the bed suddenly feeling free, relieved from the suffocating sensation he hand in her presence. He had been pretending to be asleep for about ten minutes now, hiding his face behind the arm, breathing slowly, while trying not to get himself noticed by the woman. As soon as he felt her getting out of the bed, his heart started to pound. Those love afternoons always made him crave for every moment of solitude that he looked forward to with a morbid anxiety – a moment of freedom seemed like a priceless wink of felicity when he had time to be himself again. Those minutes of solitude were like an oasis in a desert of passion, of sweet lassitude and useless combustion. There used to be a time when he had hours of freedom, when he was alone and he had enough time to himself. But that seclusion used to depress him, torturing him with its vacuity, transforming that liberty into something he couldn’t prize. True freedom was attained only in those moments, stolen from her.
He drew near the window, throwing aside the curtain’s crinkles. How simple would it be to simply leave, without saying any good bye.
A door closing, the gangway and then … the street, without any watcher or any love. The street where you can run anytime, stop anywhere. The simple thought of running away from her, even for a couple of seconds, communicates him a turbid feeling, feverish and restless, that he likes so much because of its unexpected temptations. But he’s wearing only his underclothes and Una would be back any minute. Though the departure wouldn’t mean anything to him. To her. Running away without forgetting is useless. If only he would be able to tear away from everything, without any remorse. Being a roué who doesn’t care about the ones he leaves behind. A person who doesn’t care about other’s drama or suffering.
Yet, I love her. I love her without any doubt. Maybe that’s why I long for being away from her now. What if she would suddenly as me “What do you wish, Paul?” – I wouldn’t be able to give her an answer. I can’t live with her and I can’t live without her. In order to find what I want I have to be alone.
The truth about happiness is that people always run from it. They don’t rake about for it. And as soon as they find it, they run away or they fizzle out, transforming happiness into anything else but it.
Taking all in all, I’m not interested in happiness at all. It suffocates me and I don’t know why. I’m not deficient in anything. If only I could find a reason to be sad …
The sound of the door opening makes him pretend to be drowsy, while laying down on the bed and rubbing his eyes. Una passes by him, touching his hair, saying nothing. She stops by the closet, opening it. That moment makes him feel ashamed of his abject delight. So he embraces her, trying to be as natural as possible.
“Are you in a hurry?” Please don’t make me accompany you …
He gets dressed while lighting a cigarette. The smoke feels sour and poignant. An unimportant discomfort that pleases him, because it integrates with his torpor. He gives her body unobserved glances at odd times, feeling tempted again as he observes her waist and thigh.
He bents down to put his shoes and thinks that it’s better that way, because he doesn’t want to be late. Long gone are their days of infatuation, when they used to take of all their clothes three or four times while attempting to leave. When they stopped by the door, with their hands still on the latch and he kissed her, carrying her body back to the bed. I used to love her less back then …
As he watches her naked thigh, he realized that he can’t remember how their passion began. Only a few thoughts and the perfume of that February day. But that perfume carries their entire history.
If only I wouldn’t love her so much … If I wouldn’t be so afraid that she wouldn’t understand me, maybe I would be capable of talking to her. With my hand on her shoulder, the other seeking for hers, and a look of familiarity in my eyes. My dear Una, let’s put a decent end to our love. I would tell you that I cheated on you and that it wasn’t just my vanity, but because I truly love her.I love her just as much as I love you, but in a different way. Different. You wouldn’t suffer, right? I wouldn’t be able to get if I would see a single tear from you, Una. You understand me all to well, Una. You know that what I tell you is the truth. You know very well what a stereotypical trifle is other people’s love, how fake their nuances are …
She doesn’t suspect a thing. All she does right now is getting dressed beside him, happy, still savoring that sensation she gets from every encounter with him. Maybe it’s better this way … Talking nonsense while getting dressed. A joke, a cursory touch, all while catching a glimpse of the other’s body and movements.
“Don’t cheat me on your appointment, Una!”
She laughs in her sleeve, with her cheek still hidden behind the mirror. Something unprintable transforms my Paul. Something that identifies him with a cheap lover, some way that trifles even the most sacred things. A trifle that doesn’t suit him.
“How odd our love is, Una!”
He smiles and leans towards her, warily embracing her body, because her headdress is carefully hung on the back of her head. She kissed him ardently and he feels her own perfume. The moment when he gathers her in his arms he recognizes the other’s face and a fatuous fury bursts against the one in his arms. The one that he loves too much to part from, that he doesn’t love enough not to quest the other, with her body, her mouth and her stupid naivite most of all. Whenever he thinks of Ghighi while he’s around Una, he hates Una. Maybe because he hates himself and his cowardice that forbids him from choosing one and giving up the other.
The both go downstairs, Una with his arm around her waist.
“When can I see you again, Paul?”
“Tomorrow, around four or four thirty in the afternoon …” Why do women always have to ask before the right time, dispelling the charm? All women ask for something: trysts, closeness, companionship. Never enough, always asking for more. They’re never tired of you. “Are you leaving, Paul?” , “Why are you leaving so soon, Paul?” , “How wrong it is to feel lonely, Faus!” , “Come, stay, please don’t leave me … Stay with me, close to me …”
“Four o’clock? Why so late? How can I be alone for so long …?” How sweet she is when she acts like that … I’ll come sooner if I won’t find Ghighi this afternoon. But I can’t promise you that.
“Please dear … I’m so busy tomorrow … “ How you make me lie to you …
“Ok, ok, you selfish. You love your friends and work more than you love your Una … “ Yes, selfish … How right it sounds when you say it, Una. Maybe I’m even worse, Una, a real rake, a sinner. But even a sinner is unable to sin only by himself. No one can be truly ill natured. Maybe love can be worse than we think.
I should tell this to David, for his ethics treatise.
They shake their hands looking into each other’s eyes and they can almost fell their love. She remains in the same place, watching him trailing off. Maybe I should turn the bridle like I used to. But it’s already getting late and she’s in a hurry.