by Kleitia Vaso

In a falsely joyous tone, La Traviata’s Violetta sings the famous aria Sempre Libera, right at the very moment she senses her freedom irretrievably slipping away. The disparity between her voice, her words and the situation betray not only her growing sense of fear but also the insincere rapport between actions and words. Feelings and words. The truth and words.

Despite the rare but intense revulsion for explanations and elaborations, I love words; they exercise more power over me than most images, most means of expression. Yet, I know, am certain even, that once I hear a word, a sentence attempting to capture and summarize the essence of a person, topic, situation, anything, the opposite is most likely true. Like in poor Violetta’s case. In the meantime, Alfredo, who readily accepts and even freely expresses that “love is the pulse of the universe, a curse and blessing,” survives, despite his suffering and, more importantly, the greater suffering he causes her.

Perhaps, the word does not quite imply the opposite of the action. But, it certainly signals the end of something. Word as the death of action, the grave of a feeling, the articulation or description of which announces its very end. Even when beautiful, even when praiseworthy. The phrase I love you so avidly awaited and hoped for in the greatest number of cases marks in reality, the beginning of the emotion’s consummation.

Very rarely have I uttered something that I absolutely knew to be true. As soon as it left my lips, I could hear my disembodied voice, ringing strangely foreign and false. I suspect, a result of the mismatch between the nebulous internal and the clear, presumptuous but always inadequate sentence coming out of my mouth. Sentence, sentence. I sentence you to….”I will never betray you, I will be careful, etc. etc.” The existence of the statement, the fact that it has to be articulated, exposes the inherent doubt, poorly hidden among the seemingly innocent letters. Its very utterance is a betrayal of the feeling, the truth breathing unencumbered within.

A similar experience occurs with words declared by others. “I am open, not possessive, would never restrict your freedom,” which instead of feeling like an enormous relief, a refreshing gust of air coming in, begins to counter-intuitively suck all the oxygen out of the space, becoming increasingly suffocating. Again, the sentence, a line attempting to limit something ideally infinite like freedom. A line marking the horizon, horizon-line.

Such a profound epiphany, personally, as I am always certain others already know my “discoveries, yet I felt it with all its weight while looking at a few covers of People’s magazine and its now-ridiculous, once-fascinating 50 most beautiful people rubric. The shallow and profound eternally intermingle and I am not sure that I could learn anything without one or the other. While you might be scoffing, I painfully realized, contemplating my own past, present, future that any of the few privileged stars had made the cover not at the very beginning, when their dazzling beauty held something unknown, mysterious still, perhaps the promise of becoming greater, even more painfully luminous but at the point of confirmation, at the very moment of transition from had been to not for much longer. Zenith, the most powerful and, consequently, most difficult moment,  presented in an apparently flattering way by People’s sentences but hiding a million threats, fears, doubts.

Speaking of stars, the greatest one of all, clarifies everything if one carefully looks at it. Look but do not stare as it might prove fatal to your vision and mean nothing to him. As the sun climbs to the northernmost point, summer solstice – so longed for by people who yearn for the day to become longer (why?!) and the scary night to limit itself to their dream state – heralds the beginning of our most cheerful season, the colder, moodier seasons  behind us. Yet, really, day’s short-lived victorious moment  simultaneously signals the official opening of the season and the onset of its very end. From this point on, the day which had slowly and fearfully, at first, and then mercilessly and shamelessly invaded night’s territory, will grow shorter until the sisters/rivals become even again.

“Do not hurry the journey at all.”

“There is a forward motion to yearning”

It seems better not to grow obsessed with clarity.  Once you grasp it, that thing in your hand has already turned to dust.

by Kleitia Vaso