- Vol. 03
- Chapter 01
He Saw Red Dead Sirius in My Eyes
'A comet is a hairy star, "aster kometes", as they used to say here in Greece. Sirius is a dog star, and dogs are hairy, but Sirius is not a comet. That is how you know reading the stars is nonsense' he said to me.
'I still like to look at them' I replied.
'Oh, I suppose there is no harm in that, you just can't be looking for signs or stories, that’s all.'
I remember thinking that his face felt like a burning starry night, and I also remember thinking: 'He's right, but he is also wrong’. What I meant was that I still liked to read them, even if I knew the stories were not exactly true.
He was my lover at the time and he had launched a campaign against metaphors done to death. He used expressions like 'decrepit symbolism' or 'anthropocentric delusion and fallacious attribution of human characteristics to objects, animals, landscapes and phenomena'. And all the time he was right, but he was also wrong.
I wanted to tell him about the hairy yellow waves on his face, about what I could read in his eyes. There were times I wished I could stand before him and recite like Vittorio Gassman: 'Death will come, and it will have your eyes'.
I left him, eventually. He reeked of absolute certainty. Ugh!
He was succeeded by his opposite, as they often do. An elegant man of romantic disposition (in the tortured sense), truly degenerate in a distinct and distinctive French way, who suffered from, and shamelessly overwhelmed others with periodic bouts of cynicism.
He Saw Red Dead Sirius in My EyesHe, in fact, read so much into the stars, that one night I was surprised to hear myself say to him in a nauseating professorial tone: 'The word "comet" comes from the Greek κομήτης ἀστήρ, which means that a comet is a hairy star. Sirius, as you know, is a dog star, the brightest in the constellation Canis Major, and dogs are hairy, but Sirius is not a comet. That is how you know you can't read the stars'. Boy, was I right! And, boy, was I wrong!
'No, love', he delivered the all-too-well-deserved laconic speech of rebuke and condescension, 'that is how you know YOU can't read the stars.'
A humbling experience. I’d been instantly turned into a walking idiom, a pedantic idiot, a metaphor done to death, and Death had come indeed, but it had my eyes.