We who speak with the sky, we, covered with dew, the mineral dancers feared by the nights, we the tamers of breezes, the charmers of birds, the guardians of silence. — Louis Aragon, Paris Peasant (1926)
It was my last night in that city. I’d been looking for her all day, dodging the traffic, the beggars, the rumours of war. Life is beautiful but cheap there. Even the poor buy flowers, they are a necessity. How cruelly the powerful reason need, the poverty of their imaginations. I slipped from the throng, the stormy heat into the cool, calm, security-guarded luxury of the hotel. The concierge had a package for me. It was from her. There was a notebook, a sporadic diary, many pages made illegible with drawings and scribbles, newspaper cuttings and photographs pasted over her barely legible hand. She had attached a note in her spidery script:
You won’t find me. I’ve already gone. What do you want? Evidence I presume. Here is my life, if you have learnt to love me. If you haven’t it will mean nothing. Burn this. Burn everything.