Discover more from The Holy Loneliness Collective (english)
The Secret Place
All right, if you really wanna know.... This is the story of how Leo and I became soul siblings. At least my version of it. Maybe Leo would tell something completely different.
When we first met we were terribly young. Almost kids. It was completely beyond me why she would waste her time with me. I was used to loathing everyone and being loathed by everyone. And then suddenly there was Leo and she was beautiful, clever and sad. Why would someone like that want to spend her time with me? I couldn't wrap my head around it. She was living at the protectory at the time - it was something like a boarding school with a youth home attached. Things were going on there that I still don't fully grasp today. But I quickly realized that behind those towering walls lay the source of all the darkness in Leo. Sometimes her cheeks were stained and swollen, sometimes the forearms freshly bandaged.
So we both had our pain, were both on the run in very different ways, and that was probably what tied us together. We never talked about it, only in poems or songs we strummed on poorly tuned guitars. There was a secret place where we met almost every day. It was a spot at the lake, invisible from the outside. There were ducks that we fed with stale bread and dragonflies as big as reptiles. So while the village youth squandered their virginity dancing on beer benches, we would sit by the lake, listening to Soko and Neutral Milk Hotel and feeling all alone together.
One time Leo had a worn-out gym bag with her. 'I'm not going back there,' she said. There was a mixture of defiance and horror flickering in her eyes and that was when I realized it was more than a fancy. There was simply no other option. Going back was unthinkable. Of course people would be looking for her. In a village where everyone knows everyone, you don't just disappear. At the edge of the forest there was an overgrown wasteland where dandelions and barbwire intertwined over the collapsed walls. There, among the debris, we found access to an old potato cellar that was still fairly intact. So for the next few months I was the only one who knew where Leo was. I brought her crispbread, toilet paper and candles, I lied to the police and the social worker. When it rained, we sat together in the darkness and listened to the patter as if it were the ocean roar. Maybe we both were never again as happy as we were then. Leo wove little bracelets out of beechnuts, dried corn and the threads of her slowly dissolving shirt, and we wore them day and night, like amulets against loneliness and indifference and whatever else seemed unbearable to us.
Eventually they stopped looking for Leo and she was able to move more freely again. That was a good thing, but now everything became more complicated. She learned that there were other people living mostly on the streets. Sometimes weeks would go by when I didn't hear from her. Every day I passed by her hiding place and sometimes I was close to giving up hope. But one day she would be sitting in the potato cellar again - her hair more colorful, her face pale and dirty, but back again. You see, some things never change. Or at least that's what I like to believe.