Looking back on my life, seeing its many paths etched in relief like the snaking patterns of a river glimpsed from a high peak, I cannot escape a sense of destiny. Though the chapters of my story are written and cannot be undone, and though it pains me to speak of what is in the past, still, my days were in some way touched by God.

In those early months of my journey I was still a boy. I had a boy’s dreams and taste for adventure and a boy’s inability to see himself as others might see him: eager, lonely, and at odds with so much of life. And yet, youth granted me a certain clarity which should not go unremarked, for that same clarity allowed me to see what few could – that the present is too fragile, too fleeting, to risk losing even a moment.

Those days in Alexandria and on the road in foreign lands appear in my mind’s eye like visions of a world in which the most mundane details are imbued with a vivid, dream-like quality. But, as is so often the case in dreams, there are scenes and events that cannot be entirely recaptured, that seem to slip through fingers that would grasp them ever tighter.

My name is Elias, the one they call betrayer, criminal, deceiver. There was a time when words branded my skin, scorching their poison into flesh and allowing me not a single night’s rest. But I have learned in this life that, when all dignity is gone and there exists not a shred of the man who once was, only then do we know ourselves as we are: immortal not in words and deeds but in spirit.

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