Paris, France 1920
AT last! They’ve left! They think that I’m asleep! They think that they can rest from their watch, but I know better, I know that they can’t stop me.
Here’s the window! Open the shutters, and there’s the street five stories below! They think I’m a coward, that I won’t, but I will, I will jump, they can’t stop me, God can’t stop me, He willed me to die, the same as Modi!
Mother says return to God, pray, but she doesn’t understand, I never left God, He left me! When God abandons you, what have you got left? I’m like the pot the potter made to smash.
They hate me, the world, the only one who loved me is gone … no one knows him but me. Now they will try to make him into something he wasn’t, a drunk, a wild man, and they’ll say he didn’t love me. He was desperate but only desperate for love, the love that only I could give. He was destroyed by other women before I came, and by the time I found him, it was too late, too late to save him, too late to cure his brokenness, too late to do anything but teach him what real love was before he died.
Beatrice Hastings! Now the “great writer” will try to tell his story. That witch, she did the most to destroy him, drinking like a beast with him and telling him that drinking made you an artist! Any idiot can see in the gutters of Paris, men who drink continually and their artistic capacity is nil. It is too late for me to write his story down, I have only a little time before I must fuse his destiny and mine forever.
If only he hadn’t gone out that last time … I told him not to go …. But his artist friends drew him, he really believed that he would never be great without them. They are revolting, men who squander their artistic gift and call it “freedom.” How can a man be free when he is starving?
It is all lies, all lies … Modi was not really one of them; he loved the people, anyone can see it in his canvases, men like Picasso love only themselves.
The man I loved was a genius! If only he could have stayed with me, I could have nurtured his gift, I could have bound it up with my own, we didn’t need them, now his artist friends will make him into a martyr, but they killed him!
If there is any proof that we live in a world gone mad, it’s the consumption, no, I think Andre’ is right, that there is no God, and Mother is wrong. How could there be a God and the world be like this? I rage mercilessly against any God who could preside over this catastrophe. God is easy to believe in for those who are warm and fed, but what about those who are starving? Do they call upon God? And does He answer?
No, He does not answer. I am a pot He meant to smash, but I will make one last gesture … I will prove that I am in control. Now, when the great artist I have loved is recognized, when the world, at last, sees how he stands out above them, beyond them, with his great compassion for the human world, I will be seen as his true love. I have drawn the picture of our secret marriage ceremony, how he bound our hands together with a golden cord and pledged himself to me forever. I told Andre’, I gave him the picture. Everyone will know. We will be buried together, I feel it. But for us to be buried together, there is one last step.
Here is the window, open beyond the blowing curtains! How the wind whips them back. I am sorry only for my child, but then, a world such as this, it is no kindness to bring a child into it, a fatherless child, at that. Modi should have thought of this before he died, how his children would be unprotected then. I am doing this for him and against him because he shouldn’t have died it’s his fault, it’s the world’s fault, this is the only action I can take to revolt against a million injustices.
My foot is upon the window sill! No one is outside. No one sees the crazy woman standing in the window with the curtains blowing back! I should laugh like a crazy woman, but I don’t. I am not crazy. Andre’ is asleep. He will be sorry. He need not have thought he could control me. I would murder them all, but then I would have to be seen as a murderess, to be placed in the dock, and hated by all, no this is better, though they deserve to die, everyone deserves to die, the artists of Montparnasse, mother, Andre’, that monster of an art dealer, they all deserved to die but they don’t die. If there was a God, they would all be dead already. I deserve to die; it is too late to hope for heaven.
The horrors I have seen, the screaming violence of birth, the moaning agony of death. It doesn’t seem possible. Dead, he who was once alive and the only meaning of my life and now he is gone, he who seemed like a God. No more paintings, for him or for me, I will never draw again, I will never eat again, I will never hold another man in my arms – that would be sacrilege! The world will know, that for love of him, I gave up a life I deemed not worth living.
I can still turn back! I am in control; I chose my ultimate destiny! But the memory of his dead face drives me on … he’s dead! And so am I … as dead in my mind right now as my body will momentarily be!
Jeanne Hebutuerne, the lover of Amadeo Modigliani, threw herself from the fifth-floor bedroom of her parents’ apartment on Rue Amyot. She was killed along with her unborn child and was buried first in the Parisian suburbs and eight years later next to him, in Pere Lachaise cemetery. Friends of the artist erected a single headstone, which reads, on his side, “Struck down by Death at the moment of glory.” while hers asserts: “Devoted companion to the extreme sacrifice.”
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