This is the third of the little triad of snippets contained in Under this sun stands tall the hyacinth, A love story’s epitaph and Beatus Hyacinthus
Leaving is something he knows how to do. He excels at leaving. He can take to the road, to lands unknown, to the bosom of strangers, with nary a pang of fear or uncertainty. Apollo knows how to leave without looking at that he is hastening away from.
He does not know how to return.
Long after an epitaph is engraved in stone, and long after he has taken to the road with staff and wayclothes, he finds that he must return. Fear is no less bitter or pungent the second time around, he realises. So he lingers in inaction, closing his eyes and wishing that circumstances change and that he may never need to face his Waterloo again. He will be glad enough to remain on St. Helena for long, long years to come.
He does not know how he will return and look upon a hyacinth swaying merrily in the western wind. He will. Somehow. He will shine upon the hyacinth, and each ray shall be a strain of music, seeking to sing a paean to the hyacinth, enough to warm the delicate petals; but never enough to burn and wither. Nobody will notice, and everything shall remain the same, for who will believe that the sun rises only to shine upon a flower?
This is the second of the little triad of snippets contained in Under this sun stands tall the hyacinth, A love story’s epitaph and Beatus Hyacinthus
All love stories are the same in essence. Every one of us thinks that ours is the most complicated, the most exalted and the most tragic. It is really not so. Love is as complicated for Nabokov’s Lolita as it is for Dumas’s Dantes. Here is a love story’s epitaph, commonplace, cliched and bitter, as is every other epitaph.
Apollo liked the language of love. And he liked some words in that language more than he liked others. So it was that he always bid those he held precious au revoir and never adieu. One was temporary and the other an end.
He did not do adieus. They said he had will enough to have the sun rise in the west. And he willed that he would not do adieus.
Even the most mulish of men must succumb to love at least once in their lives, and so it was with him. He willed permanence. His will had granted him everything, had it not? He trusted it would prevail, once again.
And yet, under the harsh summer sun, when he had been langorously crafting sweet odes of love, came a demand from those chapped lips he so cherished. It was a demand for adieu. He reasoned, he wept and he begged, as does every other protagonist bearing passionate regard for a beloved. Futility and despair swallowed him whole. He caved in. Thus it was that Apollo learnt to voice the word adieu. The wisdom of Apollo was wrought by tears and partings, by failure and futility, crowned by the love he bore and the adieu that was asked of him.
…and lo, at the horizon does the weeping sun kiss the bleeding sea goodbye.