com'è disarmante sapere che nulla è come ci si convince che sia.
eppure solo l'autoconvincimento ci può fare andare avanti.
"How it is disarming to know that nothing is as you are convinced that it is.
yet only the self-conviction can move us forward."
AUTORE: Batsceba Hardy
EDITORE: Miraggi 2018
ARTICOLO DI: Erminio Fischetti
Sono passati sei mesi dall’ultima operazione, dal letto di metallo, dall’anestesia, dal candore tutt’intorno, dall’ospedale, dalla voce dell’infermiera, dalla totale asepsi. Andrea guarda il tutor a forma di sesso. Sorride. Apre l’armadietto sotto il lavandino e lo getta nella pattumiera. Ringrazia, ma non ne ha più bisogno. I giorni sono scivolati, uno dopo l’altro, come i grani del rosario di quella nonna il cui unico ricordo è proprio raccolta in preghiera col velo in testa in chiesa. Il caffè borbotta sul fuoco. Allunga una mano, spegne il gas e si ritrova a riflettere sul fatto che compie sempre gli stessi gesti. Tutto è uguale a prima. Eppure ora tutto è completamente diverso. Prende le chiavi di casa. Prima di uscire si guarda nello specchio. Le gambe sono lunghe. La muscolatura è morbida. Sono io, si dice. A voce alta. Di fronte alla sua immagine riflessa. Non appena sul marciapiede inizia a correre. E pensa che se ne vorrebbe andare. Del resto perché si trattiene in quella città che non ama? Non ha nulla lì, ha un padre che si imbarazza della sua presenza, e la madre…
L’arte è un settore in continua evoluzione e ormai, anche se in realtà l’idea del fare della propria esistenza un capolavoro non è certo nuova, si è imposto all’attenzione dei più il concetto di performance: ogni aspetto della vita viene considerato un tassello nella costruzione di una persona/personaggio. Batsceba Hardy è una fotografa, vive a Milano, a lungo è stata a Berlino, parla dell’arte dell’imperfezione, della sottrazione e della sdefinizione e sostiene testualmente nel suo manifesto ‒ che non ama le maiuscole ed è poliglotta come tutto il suo sito Internet, spazio che più d’ogni altro la rappresenta e in cui, solo, sembra vivere davvero ‒ che “l’arte è morta. concettualmente deprivata della sua necessità di esistere. argomentazioni vuote. inutili dissertazioni. bla bla disperante. ma l’artista non morirà mai. l’artista è colui che non sa fare altro che quello che fa: pensare per astrazione ed esprimere astrazione con ogni cosa lo circonda. il diverso non per scelta ma per essenza. colui che sta al di fuori. il raccontatore di storie. l’inefficace”. In questo suo romanzo corale, caleidoscopico e psichedelico, in cui sono fondamentali l’immagine e l’immaginazione, descrive bene e in modo avvincente con la forza di un diario polifonico la storia di due gemelli, Annalia e Andrea, prima fratello e sorella, ora entrambi di sesso femminile, in cerca di sé e di un nuovo reciproco rapporto.
book for sale - language: English/Italian
click on the image
you go through the playground
listening to embellish words
recalling your life
like a card collection
when will you learn that you can’t live as if you were writing your life?
attraversi il parco giochi,
ascoltando il suono impreziosito di parole
ripercorri la tua vita
come un album di figurine senza didascalie.
quando imparerai che non si può decidere della propria vita come se la si stesse scrivendo?
© Batsceba Hardy
realismo immaginario - imaginary realism
" Ci sono un paio di aspetti che trovo molto interessanti nelle tue storie: l'istintività con la quale i personaggi tendono a vivere le loro passioni e pulsioni sessuali, senza farsi troppi problemi, e la sicurezza e determinazione con la quale vengono compiute alcune scelte e messe in atto delle azioni tutt'altro che semplici... Insomma, gente che evidentemente non teme possibili rimorsi, o comunque capace di compiere gesti estremi con lucida volontà."
- Ian, un lettore del destino
" Dovessi proprio dare una tua descrizione.... non facile tra l'altro, potrei azzardare .... i suoi romanzi sono vividi come fotografie, catturano in ogni pagina l'essenza del momento stesso in cui vengono raccontati, e le sue fotografie, sono come dei brevi racconti, dove ogni attore, inconsapevole, è esattamente dove dovrebbe essere... e poi si, sei una ca**ona, ovvio "
Grazie, Fabio Balestra
"A mio avviso sono vari libri, tutti molto ben pensati e scritti, capaci di integrarsi pienamente tra loro …C’è un bildungroman degno, per delicatezza di tono e per la convinta adesione, della grande tradizione … le parti parigine sono davvero benedette dall'indescrivibile "dolce ala della giovinezza" …C'è un "romanzo di montagna" nella scia del sommo Stifter o della nostra Zangrandi …C'è lo sviluppo finale, reso con grazia e delicatezza…. Insomma un risultato maturo e significativo, espresso nelle varie lingue che i testi diversi richiedevano, e con una complessiva atmosfera, come di Kairos ineluttabile, che collega poi molto il libro ai nostri tempi. … Infine lo stile, alieno da qualsiasi 'ruffianismo'..."
Intervista, clicca sull'immagine
Short story Language: English
romanzi e racconti in formato ebook in vendita su Amazon - lingua: Italiano
ho attraversato la mia vita
in una bolla di vetro.
ho lasciato parole appese
in una pozza d"acqua.
muta in un mondo assordante.
un arcobaleno invisibile.
[caption of the disorder]
I went through my life
in a glass bubble.
I left hanging words
in the wind
in a pool of water.
changes into a deafening world.
an invisible rainbow.
Now, I fly when I’m awake
And the ceiling overhead opens up to let me go
as a child I had a recurrent dream, I dreamt of flying.
I didn’t use my hands like wings, though. I just crossed the sky like Superman.
I got out of the window to get away from the “thieves” and… flew. No falling down.
Now, I fly when I’m awake.
And the ceiling overhead opens up to let me go
da bambina sognavo spesso di volare.
non muovevo le mani, no. ma come superman attraversavo il cielo.
pluf fuori dalla finestra scappando dai “ladri”.
e invece di cadere volavo via.
ora volo da sveglia.
e il soffitto si apre sopra di me lasciandomi andare
Today, sitting with my legs in the sun, I think there is no difference between void and fullness.
My void is full of white. an empty white. but thick.
Why should I fill in a void which is already complete?
and what is fullness without a void to be filled in. Like concave and convex.
Legs in the sun. The whole and the part. Me and the sun. I’m hot.
where is the heart beating?
I don’t have a heart inside. Because inside I’m empty.
My organs, I don’t know where they’re placed, but not inside me.
full void. What is the difference?
oggi seduta con le gambe al sole penso che non c'è alcuna differenza fra vuoto e pieno.
il mio vuoto così pieno di bianco. un bianco vuoto. ma denso.
perché dovrei colmare un vuoto che è già pieno?
e cos'è il pieno senza un vuoto da colmare. come concavo e convesso.
le gambe al sole. il tutto e la parte. io al sole. ho caldo.
dove batte il cuore?
non ho un cuore dentro. perché dentro io sono vuota.
i miei organi non so dove siano dislocati, ma non sono dentro di me.
vuoto pieno. qual è la differenza?
Non vi capita mai?
non vi capita mai di trasformarvi
in parole sconnesse?
e in un arcobaleno di odori?
non vi capita mai di sapere
che l'anima è uscita
e tu sei solo e sconosciuto?
non vi capita mai?
Do not you ever happen?
do not you ever happen to turn you
into disconnected words?
and in a rainbow of odors?
do not you ever happen to know
that the soul is out
and you are alone and unknown?
il presente esteso
nulla scorre più
un unico continuo
senso di mancanza
il mio vuoto pieno di te
the extended present
nothing flows anymore
a unique continuous
sense of lack
my emptiness full of you
Null © Batsceba Hardy
[caption n. endless]
sometimes I forget to use my shield.
I have countless wounds.
[didascalia n. infinito]
a volte mi scordo dello scudo.
innumerevoli sono le mie ferite.
[Caption of the ego]
mine is a prairie.
it has no boundaries
It has no accesses
can you hear the wind?
sometimes someone rides with me
la mia è una prateria.
non ha confini
non ha ingressi
puoi sentire il vento?
a volte qualcuno cavalca insieme a me
self portrait 573 by Jeff
a multitudinous rafts
among the rocks of mermaids
yet the woven net
still doesn’t fill my loneliness.
una distesa di zattere
fra scogli di sirene
ma la rete intrecciata
non colma la mia solitudine
[didascalia senza numero ... ]
quando le parole risuonando come comete
illuminano il silenzio,
allora tu sai.
cos'è la morte
[caption without number ... ]
When the words, resounding as comets,
illuminate the silence,
then you know.
What is death
i was born, in a gravityless format,
in the aquarium they gave me,
coated in the plastic film
from the nearby supermarket
sono nata in un format
nell'acquario che mi hanno regalato
rivestita della pellicola di plastica
del supermarket accanto
My language is like the language of angels
incomprehensible to the deaf
is like the blade of a skate on the ice
if you want to speak with me
learn to listen to the empty
to follow a rail
screaming in the subway
la mia è come la lingua degli angeli
incomprensibile ai sordi
è come la lama di un pattino sul ghiaccio
se vuoi parlare con me
impara ad ascoltare il vuoto
a seguire una rotaia
a urlare nella metropolitana
[Caption n. 00000041]
I sit beside you,
but on the other side.
I have eyes that don't see in the dark
but look beyond, through.
I dream with my eyes closed and open
but I don't have the unconscious and the subconscious.
Sometimes I feel like I exist
but i know, I am a ghost.
[didascalia n. 00000041]
io siedo accanto sì,
ma dall'altra parte.
io ho occhi che non vedono al buio,
ma guardano oltre, attraverso.
io sogno a occhi chiusi e aperti
ma non ho inconscio né subconscio.
io a volte penso di esistere,
ma lo so, io sono un fantasma.
[caption n. seven thousand]
my scraped knuckles
I don't have to knock
on a closed door
[didascalia n. settemila]
le nocche scorticate
che non si bussa
alle porte chiuse
[caption of the words]
your words had
the lightness of my feathers
they flew away leaving
scratch in the air
[didascalia delle parole]
le tue parole avevano
la leggerezza delle mie piume
sono volate via lasciando
[caption of Friendship]
Don’t open your heart
they will empty it
they will throw its beat
in the river
Non aprire il tuo cuore
butteranno il suo battito
[caption to memories]
don't open the box of secrets
they would fly away
[didascalia ai ricordi]
non aprire la scatola dei segreti
[Caption without object]
my diversity has no name
don't define it or call it
my diversity is an oasis
don't turn it into a ghetto
[didascalia senza oggetto]
la mia diversità non ha nome
non definitela né chiamatela
la mia diversità è un oasi
non trasformatela in un ghetto
[Caption of the Dream]
I spend a third of my life in a dimension which is only mine,
where no one can reach me.
Why should I question myself about the origins of the Universe,
when each night I open a door into the Unknown?
[Didascalia del Sogno]
Io passo un terzo della mia vita in una dimensione solo mia,
dove nessuno può raggiungermi.
Perché dovrei interrogarmi sulle origini dell'Universo,
quando ogni notte apro una porta sull'ignoto?
non so amare
ma il mio cuore
lo regalo a chi bussa
non so amare
ma accolgo il dolore
[caption of love]
don’t know to love
but I give my heart
to one who knocks
don’t know to love
but I welcome the pain
without reciprocating it
[Caption of the soul]
i have been an eagle
i remember the pain of my prey in my talons
a warrior on horseback
i remember the smell of wind in mane
a monk of Skelling
i remember the saltiness on tunic
i don't know
if I want to be what I'm
sono stata un'aquila
ricordo il dolore della mia preda fra gli artigli
un guerriero a cavallo
ricordo l'odore del vento nella criniera
un monaco delle Skelling
ricordo la salsedine sulla tunica
se voglio essere quello che sono
Lady Solitude by Hardy
[didascalia della consapevolezza]
io non sono umana
ora lo so
il mio amore è non ha limiti
io sono una replicante
creata in un laboratorio anarchico
io non sono umana
ora lo so
io non so troppe cose
io sono una replicante
sento i colori e vedo i sentimenti
chiedo scusa anche quando non ho colpe
io non sono umana
ora lo so
[caption of awareness]
I am not human
now I know
my love has no limits
I am a replicant
created in an anarchist laboratory
I am not human
now I know
I do not know too many things
I am a replicant
I feel the colors and I see the feelings
I apologize even when I'm not guilty
I am not human
now I know
[ didascalia del dolore]
lo sai tu
quanto dolore può contenere un'anima?
e come si misura il dolore?
lo senti tu
il dolore dei pesci imprigionati
nell'acquario mentre i bambini gridano giocosi?
You know it
How much pain can a soul contain?
And how is pain measured?
You feel it
The pain of imprisoned fishes
In the aquarium while the children scream playful?
Today I wore my " robert redford" jacket, the "richard gere" gait and the "steve mcqueen" smile, and so, listening to Sophia, I became invisible
The Void is white, speckled as Berlin's sky.
reassuring as the embrace of fog on a cold morning.
It runs inside us as the clouds carried by the wind.
The Void is us, behind, in front, in the middle.
[Caption of silence]
Your silence strikes me as a blow
that sense of absence
but it is mine.
I think of your pain
and in my own way I pray for you.
I wish you serenity
and I walk in silence
[didascalia del silenzio]
il tuo silenzio mi colpisce un po'
quel senso di mancanza
ma è mio.
penso al tuo dolore
e a modo mio prego per te.
ti auguro serenità
e mi incammino nel silenzio
[Caption of farewell]
so I say goodbye
in my bag
I take away
così io dico addio:
nella mia borsa
la tua tristezza
[caption of the I]
I am a dream,
a dream caught in a dreamcatcher.
And when the web breaks,
you shall not find me.
Io sono un sogno,
un sogno intrappolato in un acchiappasogni.
E quando la rete si spezzerà,
non potrai più trovarmi
la mia è una tristezza sorridente,
ricopre come un manto di neve
e stupisce come il volto della luna.
My sadness is a smiling one
It covers like a blanket of snow
And astonishes like the face of the moon.
[what's the point ?]
And what's the point in this?
a part of the world lives in a huge circus.
where everyone has to perform
entertain and be entertained
the other side of the world lives in the no man's land
where you can just try to survive
[che senso ha?]
e che senso ha?
una parte del mondo abita in un immenso circo.
dove tutti devono esibirsi
divertire e divertirsi
l'altra parte del mondo abita nella terra di nessuno
dove si può solo cercare di sopravvivere
They asked me if I'm happy.
I answered that today I am less happy than yesterday.
now I know I'm useless
mi hanno chiesto se sono felice.
ho risposto che oggi lo sono meno di ieri.
oggi so di essere inutile
how Human Thought will be
when no God will save us
and Science will have definitely lost its confidence.
We will be others.
come sarà il pensiero umano
quando nessun dio ci salverà
e la scienza avrà perso definitivamente le sue certezze.
IO sono tondo
liscio e sembro irsuto
opaco e trasparente
refrattario ma le graffiature sono incisioni sottopelle
e invisibili a chi non ha occhi
I am round
smooth and seem shaggy
opaque and transparent
refractory but scratches are incisions in the skin,
and invisible to those who don't have eyes
[vorrei vivere in un libro]
vorrei odorare di inchiostro nero
e camminare fra le righe.
vorrei una sofferenza letteraria
senza un corpo da accudire.
vorrei potermi riporre sul comodino
e sognare che sto vivendo.
non importa come finisce.
[I would like to live in a book]
I would smell of black ink
and walk between the lines.
I would like a literary suffering
without a body to look after.
I wish I could put myself on the nightstand
and dream that I'm living.
no matter how it ends.
when I'm sad,
don't grow sad.
my sadness flies away with the wind.
but when I'm happy,
don't be happy.
my happiness slips away with the rain.
quando sono triste,
la mia tristezza se la porta via il vento.
ma quando sono allegra,
la mia allegria scivola via con la pioggia.
And when the last feather
they will have plucked from me,
how will I fly away?
E quando anche l'ultima piuma
mi avranno strappato,
come potrò volare via?
I have an imaginary friend
he knows all my secrets
he understands all my secrets
he is my secret
ogni giorno al risveglio mi chiedo:
come possono essere così pochi i morti?
come possono esserci così pochi pazzi?
ogni notte chiudo gli occhi senza risposta.
every day when I wake up I wonder:
how come the dead are so few?
how can there be so few crazy ones?
every night I close my eyes with no answer
a liquid plate
the repeat button entered:
but why can't I find the off button?
una lastra liquida
il tasto repeat inserito:
ma perché non trovo il tasto off
life does not run like a river to a sea.
life is the sea, with its never ending tides
la vita non scorre come un fiume verso un mare.
la vita è il mare, con le sue maree perenni.
Sono nata vecchia,
con i ricordi del mondo come compagni di gioco.
Consapevole della fine.
Attraverso la vita,
come un essere senza età.
In compagnia della mia solitudine colorata.
I was born old,
with the memories of the world as playmates.
Aware of the end.
I through life,
as a being without age.
In the company of my solitude colorful solitude.
but when the Brain becomes a Place,
where You walk with all of your Voices,
where Colors and Smells mingle in Time
and Memories as clouds gather and unravel,
where Years are just imaginary numbers,
and You're all of that,
what happens then?
ma quando il Cervello diventa un Luogo,
dove Tu cammini con tutte le tue Voci,
dove Colori e Odori si mescolano al Tempo
e i Ricordi come nuvole si addensano e sfrangiano,
dove gli Anni sono solo numeri immaginari,
e Tu sei tutto questo,
cosa accade allora?
We're just Zombies
Why all this trouble
when you know your fate
of living dead
won’t be rewarded
Siamo solo Zombies
quando sai che il tuo destino
di morto vivente
é senza premio
come un giardinere sincero
tramuto il giardino dei desideri
nel labirinto dei miei pensieri
like a candid gardener
I turn the garden of desires
into the labyrinth of my thoughts
mi guardo riflessa nel mio sogno
una metà sorride e l'altra mi fissa enigmatica
io so che è triste
stanca della vita
stanca del sorriso che ho indossato
della tristezza che respira con me
[Caption of the tiredness]
I look at myself reflected in my dream
one half smiles and the other stares at me enigmatically
I know it's sad
I am tired
tired of life
tired of the smile I wore
of the sadness that breathes with me
take me away
non lasciando dolore
nessun corpo su cui piangere
nessun corteo da seguire
lasciando solo il ricordo
che impallidisce nel tempo
fino a che non ci sarà più nessuno
oh sì io potrei
I would like to vanish
leaving no pain
no body to cry on
no procession to follow
leaving only the memory
that pales over time
until there is no one left
oh yes I could
[ruvida e leggera]
io sono ruvida come un porcospino impaurito
leggera come una farfalla ribelle
io non sono la maggior parte delle cose che sei tu
[rough and light]
I'm rough like a frightened porcupine
light as a rebel butterfly
I'm not as most of the things that you are
by Batsceba Hardy ®
The windscreen wiper was going up and down to the rhythm of the song and the gliding water was singing along with Bono:
It had been raining for a week, without any interruption. Hundreds of tiny, twin but annoying drops, she thought. The summer season was coming to an end or was it the end of the world? She turned up the volume and started singing along. Her wet hair, clinging to her neck, was her only link with reality. She felt like a fragment of celluloid, a sound track; she felt like being a part of her car. Even her limbs were lost in a boundless space, completely mingled with the seat.
She blinked her eyes at the fog when she saw two headlights which were hurting her. And she caught a glimpse of him, like an apparition. He was there, bare headed, as stiff as a rod in the rain. He looked like a pagan God. One of his fingers was up in the air and his eyes were empty. She left him behind so quickly that she did not have enough time to make a decision. Then, she stopped on the brakes. While she was waiting for him to join her, she looked at him in the rear mirror and she had enough time to think that behind every white young man who’s respectable and good looking there might be a serial killer.
The door burst open and she jumped out the film.
-In American films only. – she whispered.
-How…?- his voice was deep and kind.
-Nothing…- he locked out the rain – on the back seat there’s a pullover which you can use to dry yourself.
-Thank you.- he didn’t say anything else but stretched his legs until his figure was straight.
-Where shall I take you? – she turned. The colour of his eyes was too light. Very common, she thought.
-Wherever you like…
Then, she started the engine and the music restarted. He didn’t even move a muscle.
-I like driving in the rain – she smiled – but I cannot stand the rain.
-Why on earth wasn’t he saying anything? – she thought, beginning to
-When I can, I just jump into my car and I drive without any aim and I feel free… - she revealed – My husband is out of the house all day long – then, she bit her tongue. She didn’t want to be mistaken for the usual, old insignificant woman who’s really unsatisfied and who’s always looking for new love affairs. That man might have been a fugitive, a killer, a member of the Mafia, a lunatic… She imagined that he was grinning and she gripped onto the wheel. That’s it – she thought – as usual, I end up looking a proper fool. Why don’t I just shut up?
-Have you ever thought about going on a world tour? – he abruptly asked.
The tone of his voice was monotonous. This didn’t even sound like a question.
-A world tour? – she had to think about it – driving, yes.. she
-I’ve just began… - he admitted and then turned his head and stared at her.
For a split second she didn’t pay attention to the road and she met his eyes. Their colour was really too light.
-You’re not pulling my leg, are you? She didn’t like being teased. She could feel a blush able to control it. Some people event found that fascinating. Goodness knows what her companion might have thought!
The music took her mind off him. Oh, how often she’d dreamt about leaving! Alone, with her contact lenses and her bleaching cream for hairs! But in the end, she’d stayed there among those hills, dreaming to be somewhere else every time she heard somebody speaking English (which was not unusual in Chiantishire).
-I never joke – he said with his monotonous voice and she thought he sounded like one of those Clint Eastwood types.
-I’d like to be funny but I can’t__ - he simply added a few minutes later and she was really surprised. They remained silent.
His foot started beating time together with the wipers. The car wheels seemed to dance on the wet asphalt, like in a cartoon.
I’m really stupid, she thought. The music suddenly stopped. The cassette had finished and the side was changing automatically.
-We haven’t even introduced each other.
During that pause, she felt an urge to speak. Silence was bothering her.
-I don’t like my name. And you?
Bono had already started again to sing but when he realized he had to raise his voice, he just held out his hand and turned down the volume.
Gosh, I can’t believe this is true, she thought. It look like the script of a film directed by Antonioni, that is to say too stupid to be real. But she did answer because she had never really liked her name.
-Sara- she said –my name’s Sara… - and she laughed. –But I’d rather be called ‘Selvaggia’ and pilot an helicopter…
-And why don’t you do it? – he was now on familiar terms with her even if he hadn’t even told the woman his name.
It’s expansive…- she mumbled, though not being positive about the answer.
-It could be an investment – he suggested – and your husband, what does he do.
She didn’t expect the question and decided she wouldn’t answer but then changed her mind.
-The lorry driver – she said, while she was imagining a truck driver: tall, strong, his face reminding us of Nick Nolte when the actor was young.
-And you? – she asked.
-The tramp – he laughed – or you would prefer a robber?
She didn’t say anything and she concentrated on the road. Now, it was pouring.
-If I told you that I’ve just committed a robbery at a petrol station?
-I wouldn’t believe you. – she answered in one go.
-You’ve got such a nice voice.- she said. And she didn’t believe him at all.
She got the impression he was smiling.
He started humming and he could sing in tune.
-He’s a vet. – she admitted after a while. Her companion didn’t hear or, as she thought, pretended not to hear because he didn’t want to make her feel awkward.
Anyway, she would have expected him to speak frankly as well but that didn’t happen. The road was empty now. Everybody was having lunch, she thought. And actually, she herself started being hungry.
-What about eating something? – she asked.
-I’d love to, if you pay. - He’d put on unpleasant and almost challenging air. Yes, he was indeed a cheeky penniless man, she thought and she was sorry about that. But this is how I may get rid of him.
-I have to get back to the prison now, my time off is almost over… - she replied. She was using that playful tone she deeply hated.
-If you tell me which direction you’d like to go, I’ll drop you at a trattoria on the way – she was trying hard to be nice.
He shrugged his shoulders and kept the secret for himself. He’s going nowhere, she thought.
Heaven knows whether he’s escaping from something.
-And you? What do you usually do? Do you just wait for him to come back in the evening? – he suddenly asked.
-Oh no! I’ve got my ceramics workshop, I do gardening… hundreds of things – she replied but she felt insulted.
Here am I.
Once again, I look like a proper fool, she thought. But then, she cheered up. Why should she be embarrassed in front of that stranger, sitting there soaked to the skin? She shook her head.
-I didn’t want to be impolite – he was saying – I thought you could understand me… I never feel at ease anywhere. If I stop, I always wait for something to happen… and I don’t want to spend my life waiting – he was the first one to laugh about what he’d just said.
-I bet you’re a student… - she tasted him. She felt she’d known him for ages now.
-You’re wrong… I’m unemployed – he interrupted but picked up the thread straight away – but in some ways you’re right: I’ve just left university, after taking a degree in philosophy before the summer.
-Philosophers and architects ..all crazy. - That’s what my mother used to say and she was right, she thought.
-Look, there is a bar. Are we going to stop by?
-Yes. – he baldly agreed to.
She stepped on the brakes and drove her car to the left, put out the indicator and then turned into the large square. A red sign “Bar-Trattoria da Pino” stood out on the building which looked squat as if the surveyor had forgotten to finish it. She parked her Twingo car under a porch. It was still raining, which was annoying, but none of them thought about finding a shelter, instead they continued walking to the bar. They tried to avoid a lot of puddles without being successful. Her shoes were covered in mud and his trousers were spotted but they were both cheerful.
It was smoky inside the bar. All the customers turned and stared at them.
-Good morning.- she said. Some of them nodded but all of them soon started to think about their own business. She gave them a quick glance. She didn’t know anybody there. I’m lucky, she thought.
The owner, a white-haired man, drew near: he was smiling.
-You could sit over there. – he pointed to a secluded small table. He must have thought they were two sweethearts.
- What you would you like to have?
-Oh, two toasted sandwiches would go, thanks. I’ll have a beer and you?
She felt very excited and cheeky, simply because she’d dared to order something for him as well.
-Some plain water, please… - while the old man was going away, he smiled in such a way that she found him irresistible.
That’s it, she thought, I’ve fallen from a thriller to a romance.
How is it possible that I cannot lead my life without such a rich imagination? I’m in a bar with a nice stranger and I’m ready to make up a fantastic story. Beforehand, he was a killer and now he’s a seducer.
-Have you ever thought of becoming a writer? – he asked, interrupting her thoughts.
-A writer?- she stammered – No… why? - Suddenly, she saw him as an intruder who was rummaging in her mind, so he challenged him with her eyes but she only found a genuine look.
-Because doing so…- he didn’t give her satisfaction. When they sat down, they realized that they were soaking wet and they had water running down their backs.
-Have you forgotten your umbrellas? – the old man asked while he was noisily putting down a tray. As an answer, they laughed and then started eating. The old man left them, without adding a word.
-If you don’t want to tell me where you’re going, at least you can tell me where you come from… - she abruptly asked. She had made a great effort.
-Would I be a stranger if I told you these things?
And the, he touched her hands as if they were on intimate terms. She didn’t draw her hand back. What is important is that he’s here, now, with me. And she suddenly felt different, totally free: she was a stranger, too. And being a stranger, she forgot to go home. They laughed and ordered a coffee. The, he started talking about his wanderings which he compared to the monks’ in Medieval times. He told her about Ireland and the towers they had built to protect themselves against the Vikings.
She thought about Saracen pirates. They even talked about monasteries. She’d always desired to live in a monastery just for a few weeks: it was a way of relaxing. He told her he’ done so in Greece on Mount Athos. She didn’t believe him, but she didn’t show. When they decided to say goodbye to the old man, they were lively talking about faith. He wasn’t a man of faith, nor was she, but the old man was and he was also very trustful. They set out in the rain. She took every single country road, driving here and there, without any aim. She was dancing to the rhythm of the music, while he sang at the top of his voice.
They both ended up chatting and chatting about their childhood. She used to have a beloved teddy bear (and she’d cut his fringe) whereas he had a paper theatre whose characters had been cut out from his old Topolino magazines.
And suddenly, she stopped thinking. She recollected her past and she was talking without listening to her: she was ready to believe everything he told her. At dusk, she took him to a motel. She had simply decided to spend the night with him. The lady at the reception did not ask for any papers. She just wanted some money in advance for the night and the two breakfasts; she then handed the key to them.
-Number eleven and have a good night- she took her leave.
The room was unusually big and there was a sweet violet smell. Then, she also switched off her conscience. The following morning, she found herself alone in an unknown bed. First of all, she noticed al the cracks on the wall in front of her. On the pillow, she saw one of those golden bracelets with a blood group identity disc. She thought that was his only belongings and she put it on her wrist. Since it was too big, it slipped on the floor straight away. She tried to tie it to the ankle but it was only a game. She was lying on the bed completely naked, she stood up and raised her leg. She looked into the mirror and decided to keep it. After all, they had the same blood group.
It wasn’t raining any longer. She got into her car and went back home.
Bono had started singing again. She didn’t have to make up any excuse because no-one was there waiting for her and when she listened to the answering machine, she even fount out that her husband had been out all night long.
A cow had had a difficult delivery and on his way back home, the vet’s van got stuck in the mud. Luckily, some friends of his had invited him to spend the night at their farm. The following morning, the break-down van would arrive and in the evening he would finally manage to go home. He would try top give her a buzz later, as the message on the answering machine said.
And the tone of his voice was as sweet as usual. So, she totally lost her memory and forgot everything about the hitchhiker.
No-one knows how, but the following week she also lost her U2 cassette.
Her husband gave her as a present a U2 CD but she refused to listen to it again.
After one month, she realized she was expecting a baby.
-That’s impossible!- she said to the gynaecologist who was staring and smiling at her.
-What?- she was getting angry. –You’re never satisfied! You’ve always wanted a baby and now you’re complaining whereas you should be mad with joy!- she then became more sympathetic and reassuring. The gynaecologist’s eyes met hers while she was crossing her hands on the desk.
-Sometimes it happens, just like that, out of the blue. When there are no physical impediments but only mental block, like in your case. You know, you cannot give orders to the mind… - By what she’d just said, she intended to tell her a secret.
She thought it wouldn’t be nice to burst into laughter and she pretended to listen carefully to all the pieces of advice for an easy pregnancy.
When she left the gynaecologist’s, she only remembered that for the first three months, you’d better not ride a bicycle and she finally burst into laughter. That morning, she went back home and she deeply felt she was not alone. First thing, she dubbed her U2 CD on a cassette and then got into her car and went for a short drive, while listening the music.
When she went back home, she called her husband on his mobile phone and since she’d never done that before, she felt particularly excited.
-What’s wrong? – he asked, fearing that something dreadful had happened: his wife had never called him on his mobile phone before.
-Something really nice… I’m expecting a baby. – She laughed; she was pleased and proud at the same time but she was also aware she was lying.
Her husband cancelled all his appointments and went home immediately. He shyly stopped on the doorstep, then showed a rose he’d been hiding behind his back. He tenderly hugged his wife while still holding the rose in his hand: he didn’t even think he might prick himself. Then, he invited her out for lunch.
-Let’s celebrate! – he said.
And they kept on celebrating for nine long months. During the winter, it never rained, not even once; in February only, it snowed for a whole week. And apart from that week, she used to go for “her usual short drive” (as her husband described it) every morning. They met a lunch time and they happily had lunch together. In the afternoon, she used to have a rest, waiting for her husband to come back. Sometimes, he invited some friends over for dinner; they then played poker or watched a videocassette.
Sometimes, just the two of them relaxed on the lounge sofa, reading a book. Her husband took her by the hand and off they went to their bedroom. At night, she used to have beautiful ”serial” dreams and in each one of them she was becoming younger and younger: a university student, a teenager and a child…
But she never went back into her mother’s womb as a fiend of hers who is a psychiatrist had once said. She also had an unpleasant dream: she was becoming smaller and smaller, like a Lilliputian, and she was in the dock. Her relatives, sitting on high stools, were the judges. The dead, her mother for example, were back to Earth just to try her: they were pointing at her and she was charged with forgery. That was her only nightmare but she soon forgot everything about it. When she was in her seventh month, she had her Twingo car carefully cleaned(even the inside) at a car-wash. She drove back home so fast that she risked a fine for exceeding the speed limit. She parked her car in the garage and gave up using it until her delivery.
She gave birth on the very day the gynaecologist had suggested according the “magic circle”.
-The second of June – she’d said, after turning that magic circle round in her hands. And on the second of June she was breastfeeding that tiny little baby: he was red-haired.
-He must look like your relatives –these were the word the words of her mother-in-law who’d just arrived from Milan for the delivery.
-I can’t think of anybody in my family who’s red-haired - she was expecting a reply which didn’t come.
Luckily, she left for Milano as soon as she was discharged from hospital.
-Call me if you need my help! – she was shouting from the train window.
But the thereof them knew that wouldn’t happen.
On a rainy morning, when the baby was three months old, she took her Twingo car out of the garage and had him sitting in the back. Then, she put on the U2 cassette and started the engine.
-One Love – Bono began singing along with the gliding water. The new-born baby made some noises and smiled. If he’d been able to, he would have sung along, she thought. She was driving fast but she wasn’t in a hurry. She was trying to remember the way, when she saw a red sign on a squat building and she pulled up so suddenly that baby was about to cry. He made grimaces but when he heard his mother’ voice, he cheered up immediately and started making noises again. She manoeuvred her car into a square and then parked under the porch.
She opened her umbrella to protect her baby from the rain and then she went into the bar with a radiant face.
-Good morning. – she said, standing on the doorstep.
The old man was smiling. He recognized her at once and he was not surprised at all. He went towards them, trying to help them.
-He looks like his dad! – he said, while picking the baby up.
-Yes – she proudly said. And she hadn’t told a lie.