Why, Vera?

I just fin­ished read­ing A Hero of Our Time again. It’s the book I’ve read the most in my life, and I’ve lost count of the num­ber of times I’ve gone straight from cov­er to cov­er through var­i­ous trans­la­tions. Every time I’ve read it for the last eight years, I’ve grown a lit­tle more. Certain parts that I may not have under­stood before become clear and relate­able.

One par­tic­u­lar pas­sage struck me this time; Vera’s final let­ter to Pechorin.

For three hours now I have been sit­ting at the win­dow and await­ing your return…But you are alive, you can­not die! The car­riage is almost ready…Farewell, Farewell! I am lost — but what of it? If I could be cer­tain that you will always remem­ber me — I say noth­ing of lov­ing me, no — only remember…Goodbye! Someone is coming…I have to hide this let­ter…

I now ful­ly under­stand Vera’s final wish, hav­ing since wished the same thing myself. Yet it’s some­thing I can­not explain, even when I myself share this feel­ing. Why this need to not be for­got­ten? Why does remem­ber­ing mean so much?

Is it the need to know that I am impor­tant to some­one, even if it was some ephemer­al rela­tion­ship or some per­son­al mis­take? Is it so that I can believe that I was so spe­cial as to be unfor­get­table, an ego­tis­ti­cal or per­haps inse­cure shroud to fool myself? Is it to give my life mean­ing, a sort of pur­pose to know that I can indeli­bly change the lives of oth­ers? Or maybe it’s to know that the feel­ings I expe­ri­ence, how­ev­er bathet­ic or affect­ed, mean some­thing to some­one. I usu­al­ly pride myself in being able to per­fect­ly under­stand the feel­ings I go through, but this idea has left me at a loss. I won­der if oth­ers have ever felt the same way. I remem­ber not under­stand­ing this desire in myself at the time, but believ­ing that I would even­tu­al­ly.

Now I’m not sure if I ever will.


  1. Yep, trans­lat­ed by Martin Parker this time.

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