Souvenir d’un lieu cher (memory of a dear place)


Tchaikovsky was the first classical composer I listened to. 1812 Overture. I fell in love with the grandeur and the elegance of that composition. From there on, it was a feast. Memories of a dear place indeed. They say he committed suicide. They say he was forced to take that measure upon authorities’ discovery about his sexual orientation. So brilliant a life blighted by intolerance. Freedom is an illusion if we aren’t permitted to love and acknowledge those who seize our hearts.

Let me tell you a story. It brings back memories of a dear place and is well-suited for this day as we mark Tchaikovsky’s life. Someone I know well would never have made it here if not for a hyacinth. With that hyacinth, that soul had known what it meant to live under the sun. They had their troubles. They had a society to reckon with. They had everything to lose. Everything ended, as everything ends sooner or later, but it was due to only themselves, and it was with a parting that left mellow memories of love, belonging, many uncompromising triumphs against a narrow-minded society and the life-long promise of a cherished safety net to fall lightly on when life turned into a catastrophe for either of them. The odds weren’t in their favour, but they managed. The hyacinth had always been favoured by fortune’s winds. It helped. They grew up, parted with a halo of beloved memories of each other, and became promises of unassuming love unfolding in different parts of the world.  They often reminisce about their age of innocence though, about the easy acceptance and comfort they managed to find in each other.

We are not all lucky to be loved equally in life. Only some are fortunate enough to have known love in its purest, unassuming, hallowed sense – a wellspring that will resurrect them again and again to that age of innocence. Blessed are those who have known that.

I wish Tchaikovsky had the chance to live so.

Today, I remember him and remember all those before us who died for the freedom to love. Today, I think of our children and the world we will leave them.

Today, I remember my heart, and I remember the hyacinth.


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