DEMIAN

A few months had passed since I read Herman Hesse's book. Throughout that time I had had many experiences and I had observed my friend very closely. In my head, the words with which Sinclair described Max Demian in Hesse's work, echoed. I would like to quote some of these descriptions:

[] whose face held a peculiar fascination for me, and I observed the intelligent, light, unusually resolute face bent attentively and diligently over his work; he didn't at all look like a student doing an assignment, but rather like a scientist investigating a problem of his own. [] I can only say that he was in every respect different from all the others, was entirely himself, with a personality all his own which made him noticeable even though he did his best not to be noticed; his manner and bearing was that of a prince disguised among farm boys, taking great pains to appear one of them.

He turned into the Altgasse and left me standing there, more baffled than I had ever been in my life.

What pleased me was the ease and grace with which he was able to say such things, as though everything were self-evident; and then the look in his eyes!

Why does he have such a powerful gaze?

Demian exerted equal fascination over the other students.

For a time everything, even the most extravagant assertions were believed

[] somehow a thousand years old, somehow timeless, bearing the scars of an entirely different history than we knew; animals could look like that, or trees, or planets []All I saw was that he was different from us, he was like an animal or like a spirit or like a picture, he was different, unimaginably different from the rest of us.

Those words define my friend perfectly. I did not possess that literary genius since, in spite of knowing Demian, I would not have been able to describe him better. Without doubt, my friend was that Demian. He shared with Hesse's Demian that unprecedented way dealing with issues and expressing them in such a way to make you think that those ideas had been obtained from places that were inaccessible to ordinary mortals.

Many of those who got to know Demian had the same sensations that Hesse describes so masterfully. I could see it in their faces. I could see how those people asked themselves mental questions, trying to decipher the enigma that was Demian.

On one occasion, when we were celebrating the birthday of a friend of his girlfriend, he was introduced to the former's grandfather. He was a sensitive soul who dedicated to his niece a book of poetry that he had written himself, edited for the event.

That evening, Demian told me how he himself had been the most intense spiritual experience that that man had had in all his life. It was just that Demian could not leave anyone indifferent. He produced strange effects in people and that was visible to anyone who was attentive to these reactions. I always was.

In the first place, because of his physical attractiveness, everyone looked at him. His attractiveness was such that during his time at university he acquired a fan club of female admirers, women who got together with the sole purpose of talking about their admiration for him. Something pretty unusual. Sometimes it was difficult to walk next to him, it was difficult to concentrate on what we were talking about when someone turned back to look in utter amazement, as if he could not believe what his eyes were telling him. In effect, how everyone fixed their attention on him.