...It's a cold December night. Winter has just begun, and it will be long and snowy. Like every one in this hilly area where I grew up. Disease was advanced and my sister received me in his house. Long time, I have no one anymore except her.
The pains are sometimes so strong that morphine makes it easy for just an hour or two, when I'm able to indulge more than rest. Anyway, I don't want to think of death, not yet. My thoughts are constantly coming back to everything I've seen, experienced and lived in these 53 years. Nothing I was sorry for, neither good nor bad. Why would, it was a rich life. Perhaps not rich by the scale of my fellow. But I was pleased, and that is only important.
When I was a very young man, I was opposed to a father who was a tyrant. I had so many ideas, I didn't mind that the Church or my father set rules. No one ever gets in my way, at any price.
But I will pay it later, I will pay it very much ... I don't regret, it would never change anything.
When some Gypsy told me, in whose words I didn't believe, I would not have the money and the love, but I will still be happy, I just laughed. In the end it was just like that. The money I inherited has spent spitefully on what I find worthwhile. Now I didn't have them anymore, but what would they do for me, would not bring back either youth or health.
And love? Oh, love was not my thing. Two marriages and one child. Women who were with me only while I was useful to them. I let them go their way, my way was not theirs either. I did not even know the child before she died.
The only person I loved was Eliot, a young trainee in my printing shop. Those little lucky moments we spent working, reading or talking he even didn't know what I was feeling. We live in a time when love between two men is punished by excitement and extortion. I would have done everything for him, I didn't care, but I did nothing for his own good. Eliot was so fragile and gentle, so I was silent and grateful for the time I spent with him.
I've never touched him. And then I lost him so suddenly when the city was burning cholera. With him went the only opportu nity to learn love and again I remembered the prophecies. I threw myself with even greater anger over the press's work. The written word had more power than anything else. Nobody never be able to stop her as well as a torrent when goes ....
Zero left the old pages on the closet beside the bed. This city owed much to Oliver, whose diary he accidentally found. Long ago, he was a revolutionary who fought against everything he thought was unjust. The only thing he didn't fought was love. Or maybe just the fact that he was not fighting, proof of how much he loved Eliot.
Zero is still thinking for a while, when with a smile looked at the man sleeping next to him. Jude was the editor of the Oliver's newspaper, wich now existed for more than 130 years. Maybe he and Jude are not met by accident? Namely, Oliver had the same last name as Zero. That's why he was so interested in his diary. And now that he began to read, he hoped to find out more about him.
It is filled with sadness. Jude was all his. Oliver and Eliot didn't have that. Eliot didn't even know Oliver loved him. Zero has not been active player for a few years now. He recently came to the forty. Now he could enjoy the fruits of his work. He and Jude met at one of his journeys. He ran a charity action with several players and one of the journalists who attended the press conference was Jude. Quite accidentally, because as an editor he didn't work that, but a sports journalist got sick and Jude came personally.
Zero noticed him among the masses of people and after making commitments on a cocktail party, he simply approached and introduced himself. After several date, Jude asked him to move with him and Zero agreed. He knew immediately that this was something completely different from his other relationships. Jude was the real one. It's been here for over a year now and never been happier.
In the morning, Jude has already gone to work. Zero came around noon to take him for lunch "I found something interesting yesterday, I'll show you when you come home. I wanted to ask you to find me what you got from Oliver West. " Jude is surprised, but doesn't ask much. Promises him to bring some in the evening, so Zero when come home keep reading diary, which accidentally found on someone's yard sale.
...... Today I'm a little better, I even walked out in the yard. Otherwise I spend all day and night in the room. Mainly thinking. Now it is more difficult to read for me, let alone something else. I liked to travel so much, but now it's an impossible mission. In the toughest moments of loneliness and pain, Eliot's image helps. I see him so clear as if it were here. Maybe he's calling me to join him ...
Zero interrupts when he hears Jude coming home. He got up and helped him put away the books, so he kissed him long. "Oh, why is this?" Jude hugged him "I'm not complaining." Zero shrugged "Because I love you?" waving to the kitchen "Dinner is on the table. After that I have to read you something."
Jude refreshes and he comes back to the table, talking about what his day was and what they plans for the weekend. "You know I'd like to go to one place, but I'll tell you later." After dinner, Zero read him an extract from the diary "Oliver and I have the same last name" says thoughtfully. Jude is again surprise "I know, we've already talked about it. But why are you now interested in it?" Zero is puzzled" We seem to have something in common, I would like to know more about him."
Jude still ends up doing something out of the job before joining him in bed. All around him are the diary pages. "I wanted to see the house where he died. Maybe I can somehow persuade you to go with me ... " Zero kisses him in the neck. Jude laughs "You know I cann't refuse you anything... especially when you asked so kindly" Jude is already surrendering when Zero's lips go down...
For a weekend they visit Oliver's sister house. Outside of the town is in the hills. No one is living in it now is decorated as a memorial house. They looks around and Zero has written some names that make him interesting. Maybe he can find something in the neighborhood too. They walk around the countryside and take a look at the village. Zero here felt Oliver's presence again. It is now even more convinced that something binds them.
Next days, Zero reads Oliver's book and gets more and more thrilled how advanced he was. Brilliant mind and sharp tongue. How many times he was in prison for disagreement with the current political click. How many private tragedies surviving. How persistent was in what he believed. He was a pioneer in every sense. Because of all this he sacrificed a lot. As well as many of us. Oliver had so passionately worked that he neglected his own health and almost common sense.
He didn't have blood heirs. His only child died of the illness he had taken Eliot. It was as God punished him, so he left him behind after them, suffering and regretting. But his pain has shifted to a better future for some new generations to come after him. Zero in some ways felt his spirit in his life. Many people have fought in the past to have Zero right to love. People with vision as he had Oliver.
He was much more appreciated now. He was grateful for every day with Jude. He talked him and showed him this in a million ways, just like Jude to him. With Jude's help, he also talked to some people who knew more about Oliver's life.
Oliver had a large family, several brothers and sisters, but mostly they were ashamed of him. Only sister with whom he lived until his death remained with him.
There was a boy in the neighborhood of a relatives with whom he often talked. The boy was an orphan, so Oliver decided to adopt him officially and give him his last name so he could finish the school and find the job easier. His last name it still meant something, no matter what. When a boy reaches the age of 16, hired him in his print shop. His name was Gideon.
Zero startled at the memorial and his real name and again ponders how strange coincidence there is.
He didn't know much about his origin. His mother was called Emma and his last name was West, but who knows whose name was it? His father never knew. Maybe it was time to try to find out. Oliver's determination also gave him the strength to return to this troubled time. To remember Leo and Carla, the two scum that exploited the unlucky children and the milking system that didn't care about.
To find out more, Zero find a private detective. Gave him the little information he had, hoping for more. Jude and he talk a lot about all this. So far, Zero rarely talked about it, but now he needed someone's perspective. And even more support, which from Jude always had.
Frequently he look at the old journal page again. It was a little bit embarrassing, that was Oliver's intimacy, but he couldn't stop.
... I'm aware that morphine takes this little lucidity that has remained. But I'm also a human. Sometimes, however, I compress my teeth and skip some dose to recall all those days. I have considered them great and significant. Although they don't understand it today, I know that new generations will come. My books will be a pledge for the future. My struggle for some of the ideals that are today unimaginable will be the foundation on which they will be able to build. One day, women will have the right to vote. Medicine will progress to unimagined proportions. The church will not dictate every our move ... many things will be different. What I want most is freedom and equality for all...
Zero leans on the couch. Oliver was in many thing right. Zero wanted to be as brave as he was. Oliver lost health, love, honor, freedom, and most of the family. Yet no victim was difficult for the purpose he was following. He knew there was no progress without a victim.
After a couple of days, a private detective calls and arranges a meeting. Jude goes with him. He hopes that Zero will be able to close some of the bad chapters of his life, and perhaps open up a brand new one.
Zero nervously tapping his foot on the floor as a detective pulls data. Jude took him by the hand to calm him a little.
"Mr. West, I had to dig a lot, because I had little information, but I think I found what you are interested in.”
“Emma, your mother was in a short and burning relationship with Mat West. He was a local idler, who made her a child and went on to travel further. Parents warned her that it would happen, but soon after your birth they were killed in a traffic accident. Emma was left alone with baby. She was very young and unprepared for all this. Soon after, she begins to take drugs and when you reached the age of three years, things got worse. It was not long before, the neighbors found her overlooked. Social Services has come for you.
Interestingly, Mat was a direct descendant of Gideon West, which was adopted by Oliver West. Mat while Emma was pregnant told her stories about it, so she gave you the name Gideon. I'll leave some of the contacts I've found to find out more about his wider family.
How much did they tell me, Oliver's news papers are still there?”
Jude nods "Yes, I'm the editor" turned to Zero who still can‘t believe what he heard "You were right. Oliver and you are really connected."
They thanks on the detective and went home. Zero is full of impressions. He didn’t think he would ever know anything about his origin, and now he had so much information. Jude is happy for him. He promised that would contact several people tomorrow. Over there, they will find out much more about Oliver.
Zero can‘t sleep that night. He got up and took the diary again.
... Gideon is a really good and smart worker. It has my determination. I think I did well when I left the press and the newspaper to him. My sister was not happy, but I hope she will not be angry at me forever. She has everything she needs, and Gideon needed something to be able to accomplish his dreams and keep mine. This is a difficult time, and I have remained little more time. I’m happy to have someone like him. I'm not fanciful and I can only guess what the future bring, but I'm sure these are my last days. I would like to thank my sister for having suffered with me these couple of months. I wish all the happiness of Gideon and I hope it will go better than me. Eliot, I always loved you ... I'm coming ...
Zero understood to read the last words of the dying man. He returns to bed and embraces Jude and whispers "all dice are slowly matched" and he asleeps too.