“I came to an ephiphany rather late in my life that I had spent years – decades, really – exquisitely devoted to guilt and its avoidance.
I tried so hard to be a good husband. I spent months away at a time from my wife and daughter. Every minute felt like a betrayal, particularly considering the nature of my work. I could not change my ’employment’ though; when my God blessed me with my gift, he created an opportunity that I was foolish enough to take. I was young and did not understand how the world would change. The Serb met with me in those early years to try and turn my path. I was on some hidden trajectory then, pulled toward my future with hideous gravity.
But you’ve seen the realisation of that, now.
When I would return to my home after those months away, I would be ceaseless in my devotion. Nothing was too much. I heaped gifts on them both. My time and energy was boundless. I would hire nannies, man- and maid-servants by the carriageful, then upon the slightest glimmer of dissatisfaction from my darling would dismiss them all and perform every chore myself. I was the very image of a perfect father, an impeccable husband and pillar of the shtetl. All to avoid that darkness that I was being dragged toward, all to quench guilt. If my wife approved of my every action at home, then that would allow me free reign – I thought – over what was happening on our days apart.
Now, my family is gone. My country, too, is gone – both the land that bore me and the one I called my home for so many years.
I am ’employed’ by something that I would have once called my enemy. No, not employed – just a tool, a mechanism. I am a part of a much larger machine. I realise now that I may be a particularly useful cog in this machine, but ultimately that is all I am now. I am part of something that cannot be outmatched, cannot be outrun. I have accepted this fate for myself. I have even accepted the guilt that I feel, that my wife and daughter would not approve of my current profession.
The only thing that remains is my guilt that, one day, I will realise that I will have changed so much from what I was that it will be as if they never existed.
I ahbor that thought. They must have existed. So, every morning when I rise, I remember their faces. I summon their memory and they move before me as if they were alive once more. But, to remember how they lived is to remember how they died. And perhaps that is the worst. Worse even than realising that, if they were alive, they would not recognise me at all, now. And that, that is where my guilt holds me. I am Orpheus, alive yet walking in the land of the dead.
Tesla, Nishimura and I were thought we were all anglers in the darkness, individually casting out our lines into that forbidden ocean and dragging back all manner of heresy and apocrypha. May our various Gods forgive us all for what we have done to this world.”