Tens of years from now, on a dusting tombstone, I'd like this written beneath my name. I may be taking a leaf out of the booklet of a famous Romanian composer, but if that's what it takes to get me to think about death, about life, then so be it.
There's a beauty in language. Some things you simply can't fully translate. Liniste, in Romanian, means several things. In the dictionary it's primary meaning is silence. But in the english language silence is a harsh word that cuts through the air sharply and deadens the atmosphere aburptly. Liniste, as I've always used the word, as I've been taught, means calmness. To be calm, at peace. You could even say the absence of noise. To be in silence, with this word, is to relax and unclench your arms after decades of trying to be the best you can be. Now, as you rest, you are finally free to sleep peacefully. To rest in peace.
All my life I've said words reflexively. Without thought, they come out of my mouth, and I rarely ponder as to what they truly mean. When someone teases you, you say "leave me alone". I don't wan't to be by myself. I'd like them to stop, but I'm quite literally telling them to distance themselves from me, so I don't have to hear it so closely to my heart. I know phrases change with the times, and connotations are not as important as denotations. But my heart isn't as post-structuralist or modern as the times. I look to the past to understand who I am.
In Romanian, if you want to say "leave me alone" it directly translates to "leave me in peace", a phrase that is not so common in the English language anymore. Funny.
Funny because my whole life I never realised that the last word in the Romanian sentence meant "peace". I just always understood it as "leave me alone". My mind, and my mouth were saying two different things, and yet, what I said, I actually wanted to say, and yet never realised it.
Now that's a word that gets tossed around a lot.
I've looked it up in three different languages, and it all has similar meanings. But the meanings in and of themselves are contradictory. One says "the normal, nonwarring condition of a nation, group of nations, or the world. " Peace is normal? If only it were so. But even more than that, is peace simply defined through opposition? Just the lack of war? And only war? No. It goes on in its second definition to be defined as an agreement between nations. So now peace is a piece of paper, a concept. A method to end antagonism between warring factions.
Sounds all a bit cold to me.
But then! Then it goes to say peace is mutual harmony, then normal freedoms, then tranquility and serenity. How can one word be so many things? Be so many different things? How can something be so precious, so sought after, if it is normal? Expected?
And then, as you thumb your page down (or scroll down the cyber page), you'll find that peace means stilness. Silence. Liniste.
And to say that two people get along in Romanian, "se impaca bine". A derivative, a conjugation of peace.
The piece of marble headstone that lies six feet above me cannot be an epic. Let it be, like the unknown composer whom I've lost over time. Let it be, a few lines of a favourite emotion you can only fully immerse in through music, and one word.
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