– The Garden of Nemo. The Work of the Magister Templi.1 –
“Why can’t Human Beings learn their lesson, like all the other creatures of the Earth?
And the cycles repeat themselves, day after day, year after year, life after life....
In truth we can only perceive the treasure that we held when, too late, we see it sink in eternal seas of life.
And then all that’s left is pain, sorrow and silence...”
Over the days that followed I found myself dividing my time between Rachel and Michael. Not that I wished to spend so much time with him, especially after that first conversation. However, his constant phone calls had made my mother his biggest and most active fan. And she’d ask me almost every day about when our next date would be. Eternally curious, she’d be waiting for me to return, perched on the living room’s window, every time I got home. But, to her disappointment, I never allowed Michael to go in.
And so my life fell back into a new, calmer and more predictable routine. My day to day went back to be what it used to be, without Magic Spells, or demons, or strange powers. There were no more daily episodes of unexplained terror. No more emotional highs and downs.
When Rachel started to get worried from the lack of news from Gabriel, I told myself there was nothing to worry about. Even when she picked up the phone to call him on his cell phone and it rang endlessly without anyone answering. Or when she decided to call Gabriel’s mother, my supposed aunt, only to be answered by the robotic voice of an answering machine, constantly repeating that the number in question was out of service. None of that was any of my concern. My life had finally gone back to normal.
The only thing out of place in my new perfect life were the nightmares that woke me up every single night. However, and contrary to my previous recurrent dreams, this ones I could never seem recall. All I knew was that I’d suddenly find myself wide awake, sitting on my bed, with a silent scream lost in my lips, completely drenched in cold sweat. In those brief, frightening moments, I couldn’t resist the impulse to search the air, looking for even the smallest sign of his presence, my name, in his deep, velvet voice, echoing in my mind as if he’d just been there, right beside me.
School holidays were almost over when my face muscles started to ache. My real smiles were fewer everyday and only then did I truly realize how much I was out of practice in the art of appropriately smiling every time it was expected of me.
Rachel, in her constant preoccupation about a nephew that didn’t even exist, and trying at the same time to reassure me, had made up some story about a road trip that Gabriel would supposedly have taken during holidays. Surely he’d be back before the beginning of school term. I’d began to doubt it ... And although such thoughts should have make me feel relieved, happy even, my bitterness only grew deeper day by day. I’d stopped being able to refuse the images constantly playing in my mind, and almost everything in that house reminded me of Lea and him. I found myself wishing that, at the very least, he’d call, just to let me know they were still alive ... the shadow of that mystic war weighing on my chest. And the voice that, up till then had fought to keep me unchanged, finally went silent.