CHAPTER 14 – I
Stievo had been living in and around Seattle for three years. After winning double Olympic gold in 1936, he became determined to head west in search of Aricame, the man he met in the cafeteria that day in Berlin. But it was Victor, some months later, who finally revealed to him that Aricame was his Other – the man Stievo had been preparing his whole life to meet. Upon receiving the news, Stievo was in disbelief:
How/When/Why did you keep this from me?!
I was in the same room as him, within arm’s length
This game is infinite, yet the outcomes are final
Not until now – today – did you have the strength
Stievo’s obsession quickly became all-encompassing, however Victor persuaded him to head to Seattle rather than Los Angeles. The reason, Victor claimed, would become evident in time. Stievo would just have to take his word for it, per usual.
In the intervening three years Stievo took up odd jobs in odd locations. Jobs were hard to come by – the Great Depression was still depressing, after all – so most of his income came from amateur fights around the Pacific Northwest. Beating people – hurting them – allowed Stievo to make a living while traveling all over the region, looking for the sign that his mentor had promised.
The day following his most recent victory, Stievo was boarding a train when “the sign” arrived. His world turned black for a moment, as if he had been punched in the nose. A warm feeling washed over him yet his extremities shivered. It was deafening, yet silent. It filled his lungs, leaving him breathless. It lasted only a couple seconds, and yet it felt like an eternity. The other occupants of the train car melted away in his mind – all but one. There, six rows ahead, sat a man with broad shoulders and neatly combed hair. The man turned around to meet his glance. His eyes were black as the void, his smile icier than a winter back home.
My beginning – my history – my being
A missing part of me now filled
Everything that gives me meaning
I couldn’t be more thrilled
I know now what I knew then
But I didn’t know then what I know now
I can’t do now what I could then
It doesn’t matter now that I know how