Anything can be said about that city, but one can never say that it does not have a distinct identity.
During the humid autumn evenings the city looks like a wounded being, nursing her own lacerations. On the sidewalks her dust is freely flowing, its smell overpowering the stench of cigarettes, and alcohol coming from her tiny, obscure pubs.
Clandestine risings to power, luxury cars zipping by, casinos filled with shady characters, rats zig-zagging in the basements of old buildings. Plenty of frustrations, running through the city’s blood like thousands of white blood cells through the veins of an infected patient.
A sea of beggars at every street corner: amputated hands, deep lesions, winkled faces painted in the colors of dirt. Pain exposed in plain view, like art objects in museums: the only difference being that pain is free; the entry in most museums is not.
The city’s decrepit buildings are haunted, and ghoulish masks are worn during its carnivals.
In that city our story began: a story in which we created and destroyed loves, trusted and betrayed friendships, invented beauty only to quickly eradicate it at the first sign of dawn. We tried to satisfy our egos. We ended up satisfying the city’s need to devour us.
“We are the children of our landscape; it dictates behaviour and even thought in the measure to which we are responsive to it. I can think of no better identification.”
Lawrence Durrell, Justine