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Ten ways of looking at a Valentine

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1. At the beginning Valentine cannot hear Lost, so Lost has to rely on written words to communicate. When they run into a limitation - the pen runs out, the notebook comes to an end - he expresses himself with gestures. Vincent looks at him, trying to read the shaking of his head, the waving of his hands, and interpreting them, forming meaning of the signs. Valentine is never sure whether he is really understanding Lost, or if he is imposing a pattern on the lonely signs here. But soon they settle into a routine. Now Valentine can hear Lost again, and the spoken words are more precise, more present than gestures. But sometimes they fall back to them again, and communicate in conformable silence.

2. Valentine wondered what his life and Eira’s would be like, if their lives would have never intersected. He would still be the fearless demon, the Saint Valentine in people’s mouth, with no hearts to break, no hearts to lose. Eira would still be the favourite human of the Lord of golems, never experiencing tears, never facing fear and then death. But then his head hurt too much for him to think about it. Demons were not built for speculation and idle thinking, he told himself. Time was better spent on action. However, sometimes he still wondered, especially when he looked at the boy now called Lost sleeping by his side.

3. It’s not so bad being a door. A door doesn’t speak. It doesn’t act. It has no place to go, no place to leave, nothing to feel, think or regret. A door only exists and waits. Silence envelops him as even the dolphins cease to talk. He has the eternity of time at his side, and he can wait patiently forever, for the time a special boy will return, hold up a special key, and open a special door. It’s not so bad being a door, but it is much better to be Valentine again, with the kid and the Duck.

4. Valentine didn’t think about the day Eira died. No, he didn’t think of it at all. He vaguely remembered the pain that almost tore his body open, ripping his heart out. He sort-of remembered the tears that threatened to break the dam and rush out. He could nearly recall facing the righteous anger of Ganymade, and knowing that he deserved everything. He could almost recall feeling so determined that he would have given up everything, bending every rule to bring the one he treasured back. But he didn’t think about the day Eira died. Never.

5. The City of Delight is like a dream, a dream that you never want to wake up from. Your grief and worries are left out of the dream, and only pleasure and hope and joy surround you. You sing and dance and let the songs flow through your body, flow through the place within people. You dance to the rhythm of time, to the oldest song of the land. You can forget the pain of losing a friend, and focus on the joy of having a new one, as you cheer with the crowd. You are happy, and you forget how long you haven’t been. You look at Lost and see him enjoying himself. When is the last time you saw him like this? you wonder.
Then you make a decision.

6. Valentine, come see it!” Standing just in front of his newly built city of memory, Eira waved Valentine over with a cheerful grin. Valentine put a hand over his shoulder, raised his head and smiled. “What‘s there to be seen?” There was a lot to be seen, really. Eira’s city was as childlike as him, formed by strands and strands of fluffy memory cloud. But what Valentine rolled his eyes at was the base of the city. Eira’s damn black cat and himself in the cat form. (What had he been thinking?) He couldn’t help but shiver at it. “What are you thinking?” Eira pulled at his sleeves. Valentine said nothing. Eira should never hear about his stupidity.

7. “Can you tell me a story?” Eira asked, was about to sleep by the fire.
“I don’t know any stories,” Valentine said, absentmindedly stirring the burning branches in the fire.
“Try it for once?” Eira begged.
“Alright, once upon a time there was a demon. He met a golem in the desert...”
“You’re telling a tale about ourselves, right? It doesn’t count as a story. You are cheating. ”
“You only asked for a story. You did not specify which story.”

“A story?” Lost writes on his notebook when they are on the way to another city.
“I don’t know how to tell stories,” Valentine says.
“Try?” Lost writes.
“Once upon a time, there was a demon. He met a golem...”
Lost writes, “Then?”
“That is the end of the story.”

8. Lost’s mouth is wide open when Valentine drives the Duck straight into the ocean - and they find themselves in the sky.
Lost writes, “Why?”
“In this city, you have to sink to the bottom of the sea to fly in the sky. “
They land on the city. Valentine sees Lost looking up at the palace on the top of the hill, eyes wide open, knowing that he is fascinated by the gold leaves and rubies covering the wall, and swears to never let him be near the place - in there the tortured people ‘s screams have already been reduced to wimpers, and slaves with heavy metal chains are pulling giant rocks to the underground. He leads him to the cemetery instead. Lost looks around, then his attention is captured by what must be the most beautiful music he has heard.
“Why?” Lost writes.
“This city speaks in a language alien to our own.”
Lost ponders for awhile, then writes, “If we want to find ourselves, must we run away from us?”
Valentine has no answer for it.

9. Once upon a time, a man lost his friend and he found a way to bring him back by remoulding him into a golem. He waited and waited for him to come back. Then one day, his friend returned. But he had no memory of the past and the man couldn’t help compare the way the new one was different from the old one. His friend had been young, childlike to the point of being naive, while the new one was quiet, sophisticated and prone to thinking. The man was confused. Did he really bring his friend back? Or did he make a new friend out of the old one? Was the new one an imitation of the older one, or vice-versa?
There were no endings to the story yet.

10. In the future, Valentine and Lost will visit a city of eternity, a city where spring flowers blossom just above the winter snow, babies are born in the graves and elderly people leave their world in a cradle. Time will run, pause, turn around and play hide-and-seek with everyone who enters. The rising sun will kiss the full Moon, water dancing backward and up to the sky. They will laugh, cry, argue, make up all in the same breath. However, they will not remember it, just like they won’t recall entering it now, because memory is your identity etched out in time.