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Tainaron by Leena Krohn, 1998

Mail from another city

© Leena Krohn

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Tainaron - Mail from another city





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The charioteer - the tenth letter


I have received a card from my home country. Yes, it was not from you; we know that. The bronze statue on the card is two thousand four hundred years old, but he whom the card shows is a mere youth. His forehead is encircled by an ornamental ribbon, and his hair curls, lightly gilded, over his ears. He holds a pair of reins in his hands, and his eyes are dark stones, glittering, mysterious and surprised.


But what life and riches shine from them! It is hard for me to believe that what I see is merely coloured light reflected from stone. What a coincidence that it arrived just as I had sent you my last letter! For, don't you see, he has the same gaze, the one I was talking about, which hurts me, which I recognise everywhere.


But this young man is astonished at something; even his mouth is astonished, already ajar and about to open. I am sure I am not mistaken in remembering that I once saw a similar expression on the face of someone who was dying; all the tubes had been disengaged, and his eyes were wide open. The same concentration marks both their faces and forces both of them forward in an invisible race.


Why is it that it is in the form of this young man's face that I should most like to remember the face of humankind....


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