Oscars Day Part II

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With each visit she aged more and more, with that time beauty had also left her. Her eyes were red and shiny when she sat opposite him. He knew it was because of him and that it was not the only time he made her cry. When he married her he loved her, at least he felt an affection for her. She was pretty and warm-hearted. She was from a legal family and had money. Her grandfather left an inheritance and that was very convenient for him because he had a lot of debts.

He also liked the feeling of being deified and she did. She adored him and looked up to him. But then, then it just became annoying. In addition, she constantly interfered in conversations with his friends, always said the wrong thing and had neither tact nor a sense of wisdom.

She adored him and looked up to him.

With each visit she aged more and more, with that time beauty had also left her. Her eyes were red and shiny when she sat opposite him. He knew it was because of him and that it was not the only time he made her cry. When he married her he loved her, at least he felt an affection for her. She was pretty and warm-hearted. She was from a legal family and had money. Her grandfather left an inheritance and that was very convenient for him because he had a lot of debts. He also liked the feeling of being deified and she did. She adored him and looked up to him. But then, then it just became annoying. In addition, she constantly interfered in conversations with his friends, always said the wrong thing and had neither tact nor a sense of wisdom.


..and then slowly let himself fall into his velvet divan.

And the more famous he became, the weaker and more inadequate Constance felt…And with time he developed an aversion to her. Especially after the pregnancy, he only felt her body as disgusting and repulsive. He moved more and more into the room where he smoked opium-soaked cigarettes and soon became more and more interested in people outside his home. They were living apart and soon had separate bedrooms. Constance tended to let things go and despite the two children they had a very unhappy marriage. But she was just there to show off. He smiles. God, how he missed the taste of the cigarettes. He would do anything for a single cigarette. He would inhale much more pleasurably on the first draft and then slowly let himself fall into his velvet divan.

It was the most beautiful train, the strongest, liberating. And after the smoke spread slowly in the lungs, pull on it again. He enjoyed it in company but also alone. He touched the soft backrest with his fingers and closed his eyes for a moment when the opium began to work slowly. As it subsided, he looked at the dark blue ceiling, which became one with the golden walls. It was a beautiful study, right at the top of the house. In Oriental style, tastefully furnished. The lanterns, the carpets and the porcelain made the room a single work of art. For him, art was an intensified form of exaggeration.


He was a man of style and intellect and liked the role of the self-promoter.

Just as he appreciated aesthetics. Because that corresponded to his nature, his artistic temperament. And he felt a passion to own beautiful objects and that also applied to his extravagant appearance. Mostly he wore extravagant suits with a cape around his shoulder, decorated with noble cuff links, a hat and silk stockings. He was a welcome guest, liked to attract attention and that also with his witty charm and his good sense of humor. The society of the rich and beautiful honoured and admired him. He was a man of style and intellect and liked the role of the self-promoter.

The letter was ready, he would give it to Bosie the next time he saw him. He should know what greed and desire he feels for him. Unfortunately, Bosie visited him far too rarely. It was not the last letter he wrote to him, he dedicated countless works to him, countless confessions. And Bosie liked the attention of being almost adored by such a celebrity. But he, being a romantic, always dreamed of one great passionate love. And what he saw in Bosie was youth and beauty that fascinated him. Once he said:

“Beauty is the miracle of all miracles, they have only a few years in which they can really live fully and completely, when their youth leaves them, they also leave their beauty.

“Beauty is the miracle of all miracles, they have only a few years in which they can really live fully and completely, when their youth leaves them, they also leave their beauty.”*

Never before has he loved and suffered so much.
“You are old and ugly, I only want pretty men, I will leave you.”

He said to him again and again. More and more he suffered from Bosies whims. He became hysterical and aggressive all the time.
“Please don’t talk to me like that, you mustn’t talk to me like that. These words ruin my life”. He repeated it all the time. It was the most intimate but also the most passionate relationship he ever had. Days shifted between light and shadow, flight and decay. Toxic ecstasy that enriched his most beautiful hours, but also ruined and held him captive. Especially here in this confinement, in the midst of this loneliness, he realized how much Bosie had actually destroyed him.


Never before had he taken such risks, never before had the greatest pleasure been paired with so much suffering.

“They looked at each other intensively,” he had once written in a work. “then the young man lowered his gaze and came towards him. He could not approach him as a poet without a shiver coming over him. Never before had he taken such risks, never before had the greatest pleasure been paired with so much suffering.”“Every instinct we want to suffocate burrows in our minds and poisons us. The body sins only once. And there is nothing left but the memory of a lust or the delicious pain that it is over. The only way to get rid of the temptation to give in.”*

And he did, daily on thin ice, although his friends always warned him about it, but he always tended to bring things to the abyss until his life slipped away completely. “Do you engage in any form of sexual practice with men?” his prosecutor asked him at the time. “I beg you.” He answered with a smile. Sodomy, unchristian behavior was the reproach against him. He would have liked to forget exactly these memories, replacing them with other, less painful ones. But all too well he remembers every piece of evidence that was mentioned, every prostitute who testified against him.


But even stuck here in this room, he is certainly not the only one to carry this curse.


Too good to remember the happy face Bosies’ father had when he was sentenced to two years in prison. It was he who planned everything thoroughly and wanted to impose this punishment on him. At first he was grateful to be stuck in this cell, so at least he didn’t get any of the media attention. After all, everyone was on the father’s side. He had been a “perishable influence on his son”. But even stuck here in this room, he is certainly not the only one to carry this curse. He stood up. He was weakened, coughing much stronger in the meantime. They had ordered him to do forced labor.

The door opens: “Pack your things, you are a free man”. “I may go?” He was sleepy, dragging himself laboriously over the steel stairs to the outside. Two years have passed. Two years of suffering, every day. He dreamed of this day for a long time. From the much longed for freedom – finally. But as the doors open, he is received by a crowd of people who mock and spit at him. He tries to get through. There is nothing left for him. His house was auctioned off, his wife emigrated to Switzerland. Hardly anyone would read his works after all this, even his publisher distanced himself from him. Highly indebted and quite awkward, he drags through the streets. He had imagined freedom differently.


“Two years in prison didn’t bother me, no.”

“Hello.”
He replied. The first time they saw each other again, outside of any visiting hours.

“You don’t look good.” Replies Bosie.

“Two years in prison didn’t bother me, no.”
He had aged and lost a lot of colour and weight. Nevertheless, it was all for him to see Bosie.

“I wrote this letter for you, it’s for you.”

Wordlessly he accepted it.

“As you can imagine, I had a lot of time to think,” he smiled. “I think it’s right for both of us to finish it.”

Then he turned around and left. It was unpleasant for him. He was so ashamed to look at Bosie. Well, first I had to get some money, for a new piece because of me. He would ask his friends and tell them that he would do a terrific new piece. He would buy new clothes and stroll through the Rue de Champs des Lysees, order champagne and enjoy a rich meal. He would invite his friends to his hotel on the Seine and read his works to them, make them cry and laugh. And then, Oscar Wilde would die the way he lived beyond his means.

M.

 

Read Part I again
Read the article in German

*Zitate: Das Bildnis des Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde

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