When, after two years of exertion trying to come here, I finally returned to Kyrgyzstan this past October, I had a reveré during my second evening. I found myself among throngs of young men streaming through the streets of Bishkek — the revolutions? or something still to come? — and there you were, dancing amidst them, rejoiceful and oblivious to the upheaval around you.
How have you, in my mind, become connected to this country? Two years after you left this world, I had thought that I had let you go, not just my pain and anger about what you had done, but you, yourself — the echo of you within. Then three years later, I was beseeching your assistance to bring me here; and now, four years later, I’m finally here. Perhaps it’s like the experience of a devout supplicant kneeling before an Orthodox icon, your image is alive for me, and its meaning has gradually shifted as time goes forward.
So, yes, now I’m here, and somehow, so are you. I had a little relic from the railroad that I was supposed to bring here with me, to plant in the dry, dusty mountain soil. It was a chunk of a rusted metal spring, broken at either end. It was big enough to fit in one’s palm, probably snapped off a train.
Somehow, this devastated spring signified you: the spiral of the eternal dancer. And somehow, it seemed to signify both closure and beginning: a seed to be planted in the soil of time, an edelweiss to sprout, grow, and bloom upon the eternal mountain slopes, where it would eventually whither from the cold blasts of cosmic wind, then surrender itself to a cycle turning, always turning, turning, turning.
Then, in my last days in Belgium, I packed the spring in a box, to be stored until some future day. I’m not sure whether it was the forgetfulness of haste or somehow more purposeful, but whatever the truth, I left that relic of you behind.
And yet, it doesn’t seem to matter. For I feel that you have come along with me anyway — or that you were waiting here all along. Or perhaps not “here”, not the physical here, as much as the here within me, that strange inner place, where thirsts trickle forth and inexplicable passions can finally drink deep.