and then she spoke about all of her loves — acquired and foregone, snared and shamed, stolen and misplaced, open and hidden, exalted and condemned. Loves that came suddenly and unexpectedly, loves that she painstakingly constructed, loves with the flavor of flame and metal, loves with the remnants of nighttime arguments and morning silence, loves that went by quickly and that she kept returning to, loves she fended off and used to steady herself. She spoke, recollecting and contriving, forgetting and transposing, protecting her guy friends and blaming her girlfriends, exposing bloody secrets, and indicating crime scenes, listing addresses where she was happy, indicating neighborhoods where she lost faith, griping about the metro and how it makes her lonely, refreshing her memory of bus routes, the ones that always rejuvenate her, repeating her fiancés' names, speaking about how things went with them, what she liked about them, why she couldn’t live without them, and how she eventually got rid of them all.

She spoke about the loves she was afraid to profess, and about the loves shared carelessly with anyone, the loves could never have gone anywhere, the loves doomed to be passing or persistent, the loves full of secrets, the loves consisting of emails and phone calls, the loves that she adored grieving over, the loves that made her tears dry up. She cast whispered spells about the loves that made her wise and vulnerable, the loves that were her pride pride and protection, the loves that made pain inevitable, the loves that made remembering anything impossible, the loves like a way to wait out the winter in another city, the loves like a remedy for cold and aging, the loves like September air and July leaves, the loves like a voice and the loves like pain, the loves that you tire of easily, the loves that are never enough.

© Serhiy Zhadan

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