BY VAHE LEPEDJIAN
This is one of many attempts to translate my thoughts and feelings into words. The first few attempts proved futile, like a toddler trying to force his cubic block through a cylindrical hole. The second round of attempts was similar in its lack of success, each being reduced to incomprehensible, childlike scribbles smeared by tears. The attempts that then followed were far too offensive to share, but I suppose they were a healthy fragment of my grieving process. The growth and eventual fruition of this amalgamation of words resembled a child being brought into this world and learning to make sense of everything around him. Nevertheless, this birth was an unusual one. For it was the birth of you within me.
While others admired the beauty of Armenia at its surface, you never missed an opportunity to look deeper and cherish even its most minute elements. On occasion I’d follow you off the beaten path, not for the promise of a remarkable destination, but rather in anticipation of the gratifying journey to come. Your excitement and thirst for life were truly contagious. I loved when you’d run toward me with your radiant smile and inform me of something you had just discovered. The last time led me to a fig tree in Artsakh, where everyone was kept waiting while you, Allen and I indulged. Seeing you two together unearthed deeply rooted feelings within everyone. When thinking of you, we thought of Armenia… and feelings of helplessness turned into feelings of hope. We all knew without a doubt that you would play an instrumental role in the growth of our homeland.
As it turned out, August 11, 2012 was not only a day of new beginnings for you and Allen. It marked a turning point in my life as well. It was on your wedding day that I met your mother, Emma. Upon deciding to take a short break from the cognac-driven festivities ensuing in the back of the bus, I moved toward the front to find her serenely admiring Armenia’s breathtaking landscape. Though normally shy around unfamiliar people, my fresh dose of liquid courage compelled me to introduce myself. Your mom and I spoke for about an hour, through which I discovered the source of your strength and kindness. Before the bus came to a stop, she had inspired me to pursue a career in pharmacy.
Sosé, you never hesitated to point out my mistakes and help me get back on track. You never left my many questions unanswered. I’ve instinctively thought to turn to you so many times to seek guidance through this nightmare only to realize that I don’t have that luxury anymore. I can never bug you again. I can’t expect you to greet me at the airport when I visit Armenia. I can’t use the spare bedroom of your Yerevan apartment that you offered me just months ago. These burdensome realizations are painfully sinking in. Nevertheless, while our chances to communicate have abruptly ceased, our friendship has not. I didn’t feel you behind me that morning in Artsakh while I was playing piano… and today… though I miss you immensely…
I just don’t feel that you’re gone.