“The Gift of Diamonds” is a story of survival. Mica loves life. She wants to live and she wants her parents to enjoy life with her and her family. A very simple wish; and yet, so difficult to attain. Often, to achieve a simple end, one must pass through complicated passages. This is survival – to overcome evil and to live. The opposite of EVIL is LIVE. They are anagrams, opposing forces.

Sometimes evil is embodied in men, who unfortunately become leaders and for their own demented pleasure and twisted reasons impose a reign of terror on others. In “The Gift of Diamonds,” Mica becomes a victim of such evil: evil in individuals, evil in government, evil in society. Her escape toward freedom is the triumph of her goodness and her power to fight.

In my personal life, evil was disease. My escape to be free and to live is the basis of Mica’s survival story.

As a student, I loved to read the poems of Baudelaire, the 19th century Symbolist poet. In “Les Fleurs du Mal” (The Flowers of Evil), Baudelaire describes the Evil inside Man; and yet, Man desires to be free of this Evil. For Baudelaire, hypocrisy, boredom, inertia, laziness, cruelty, are all masks of Evil. But when, and if, Man can exert himself with will power and love, there is beauty- flowers- that emerge from this Evil.

Baudelaire says it symbolically in “Le Spleen de Paris”:

“Il faut être toujours ivre. Tout est là: c’est l’unique question. Pour ne pas sentir l’horrible fardeau du Temps qui brise vos épaules et vous penche vers la terre, il faut vous enivrer sans trêve.

Mais de quoi? De vin, de poésie ou de vertu, à votre guise. Mais enivrez- vous.”

“One must always be drunk. Everything is there: it is the unique question. In order not to feel the horrible burden of Time that breaks your shoulders and inclines you toward the earth, one must always be drunk without stopping.

But of what? Of wine, of poetry, of virtue, at your choice. But be drunk.”

For Baudelaire, to get drunk, “Enivrez-vous,” means to live passionately, to give oneself completely to what one loves. To get the most out of life.

Those who have survived the horrific tragedies of life, be it from totalitarianism or disease or other people, have suffered intensely. They know how their core has been charred. They know how important it is to be free of pain. And once free, they know how to intensely appreciate the pleasures life. This is the consolation of suffering, the only reward from pain. These pleasures are the “Flowers,” les Fleurs, which comes out of EVIL. To LIVE is the best revenge against EVIL.

This is “The Gift of Diamonds” that I offer you.