Fiction | ‘Devotion of fate’ by Preetarpan Banerjee | Creative Writing Workshop

To The One Who Is Reading This

It was their last day in Sils Maria, Switzerland; and they planned to spend as much time outdoors as they could.

Peter’s favourite walk was around the East bank of Lake Sils, a kilometre from the town. The lake looked like a shimmering, crystal membrane at this time of the year, overlooked by the mountains on a horizon pulverised by cloudy peaks. It was this walk, which Peter and Liza desired of months ago, when they met after Meta had arrived in Sils, all the way from Kyoto. They had become really good friends, and this was how Liza wanted to spend her last days with him. She wanted to make memories, millions of them, with him and then leave for Norway. Neither of them knew if they would ever meet again after this.

They left shortly after breakfast. The sun was perfect, the sky had a tinge of cold copper and the air was silky. She led up front, and he hobbled along behind her with his walking stick. Barns and a small sugar beet farm passed. The streets were colourful with lush, green on either sides. Looking at the cows in the fields, Peter joked that the cows would be his most intellectual companions once she left. The two laughed, indulging in the occasional bouts of sing-song.

They ate around noon, beneath a large coniferous tree. Liza began to worry. They had come too far out in their excitement. And now she could see Peter struggling, both physically and mentally, to keep it together.

The walk back was arduous for him. Dragging himself, noticeably now, the reality of her leaving the next morning fell over him only now. He had grown bumpy, almost achy. The stops were frequent and he began muttering to himself. 

Liza didn’t want to leave Peter like this, but she had no choice.

They reached a village by late afternoon. The sun was waning, and the air felt like a burden. Peter lagged by a good fifteen metres, but Liza knew that the only way to get him home was by not stopping for him.

They passed the same sugar beet farm, the same barn and the cattle, his ‘intellectual companions’.

***

“What was that?” Peter shouted. “Where has God gone, you say?”

Liza knew what she would find before she turned. It was Peter, and with his walking stick waving in the air; he was shouting at a small herd of cows chewing hay in front of him.

“I shall tell you,” he said breathing heavily. Raising his stick, he gestured at the mountains around. “We have killed him—you and I! We are murderers. How could we do this?”

The cows continued to chew aimlessly. There seemed to be an unusual silence all around.

“How were we able to drink up the seas? Who gave us the sponge to wipe up the horizon? What did we do when we unchained the earth from the sun? Are we not perpetually falling in all directions? Are we not straying as though through some infinite nothing?”

“Peter, this is silly,” Liza said, striving to grab his sleeve and pull him along. He yanked his arm away, and looked down; there was madness in his eyes.

“Where is God? God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. There’s no God anymore,” he added.

“Please stop this nonsense, Peter. Come on, let’s go home.”

“How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all, has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? The human institution of principles have become corrupt till no end and there is suffering all around.”

Liza shook her head. It was of no use. This was it. This was how it would end. She began to walk away.

“What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals do we need for our own recreation? If people have to leave, then why do they even meet? Liza, I cannot understand if this is a game that overrules the institution of reliability, and trust. Why did our human institution of principles become so corrupt?

Silence… A moo rang out in the distance.

“Man is a rope, tied between Beast and Superman—a rope over a bottomless chasm. What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal: he can use himself to walk to that goal. But achieving the goal isn’t fully in his hands. It is bilateral and that sucks! We aren’t enough to grab and take stock of what we want for ourselves. Everything would have been in place otherwise. You would have been here.”

The words struck her. She turned and locked eyes with him. But, she realised it was simply another empirical construct, another human failure, another dead god.

***

Liza did some great things later on. 

Somewhere along the way, Liza decided that if spiritual religion is the thread that binds people, it was better to move on; move on with a future where she could spread love, and at the same time search for self love. She would be amor fati, like Nietzsche proposed. By devoting herself to her fate that was true to her, written with her own hands. 

Noone could change it. Not even Peter. She was just a friend of Peter’s, a supporting character in the life of a man whom she helped to understand Nietzsche’s amor fati. She was just a small lesson of his life. 

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