Sotto alla Corona
- 2016 (7)
- 2015 (18)
The day was spent dodging phone calls and fake improptu visits by mum and dad's next door neighbours. Overall though it was fairly quiet and relaxing, compared to what I was expecting.
Dina's morning visit had left me with a deep sense of sadness. I must be honest though... I was not sad for her, I still find it difficult to forget the tough character and start thinking about her as a victim. But a victim she was. I was surprised when she proposed to 'stick together' or 'get closer'.... The old Dina would've rather be standing on top of me whilst holding my head as a trophy. We have always been clashing, since we were very little. I remember my mum telling me to avoid her because she was tired of medicating scratches all over my face and to find bunches of Dina's hair in my pockets.... We could be feral...
We would just fight because.... Well.... Because we did.... No real reason apart from wanting to dominate the other, and when older age put an end to the physical fights, the verbal and psychological fights ensued.
Me and Dina were like members of opposite parties. We loved to hate each other.
We competed in school for the best grades (which I got because, being bullied, I was stuck in my room studying whilst she was chasing boys...), at home to be the most popular with the family (and she was of course), in church to get to sing the solo (I always got that because she used to sing as if she was having a colonoscopy...). I think we both wanted something the other had. In my case, I just wanted the freedom she had of just being herself and being liked for herself. The friends she had, the possibility to live life in the open without being singled out.
I'd love to know what she wanted that I had.... I must ask her.
To me she still is in part the author of her misfortune, but I don't want to digress as I have already dedicated to this case a long and unusually sombre chapter.
I had been telling Steven for such a long time about the Dead Christ Procession that takes place every year down at the village on Good Friday and I managed to build up quite a bit of anticipation in him.
"You should see it hun! Imagine that the whole of the village, at the end of the evening mass, turns out the lights. A total black-out, you can't even see your feet it's so dark in some places. Then one...Two.....Three......Four....And then hundreds of candles flickering at every window-sill, at every balcony." I went on
"Lanterns that glow in every portico and under every stone arch down the old crooked street. All you hear is the crying of the mourners and the steps of the crowd on the cobble stones..... Then the Weeping Virgin comes out of the church and glides silently through the streets high above the crowds, all dressed in black, a thousand rosaries dangling from her hands.... It's hypnotizing...."
"It sounds amazing.... Like a Dolce and Gabbana commercial.... But... Explain to me, did you say 'mourners'? Like, there is actually people that cry for the Dead Christ that evening?" Steven enquired with child-like curiosity
"Yes! You understood correctly!" I explained
"See, there are various groups of people involved with the whole thing... The mourners are the cream of the crop of devout old spinsters that cover their faces with a black veil, trail behind Christ's coffin and weep and cry and beat their chests throughout the procession. Then there's Mary's entourage...." I joked
"What do you mean?" Steven asked
"Well, for instance, the Weeping Virgin they carry just behind Christ's dead body, it's the same statue they use for every other procession that requires an appearance by Mary, only that for tonight she will be wearing black lace and a ton of real gold ornaments, and the ladies in charge of undressing and then re-dressing Mary are called the 'maidens', in spite of the fact that they all qualified for a state pension twenty years ago and cannot even see anymore if they are putting the Holy Knickers back to front or not....." I stated casually
"NO WAY! Does Mary wear Holy Knickers? For real?" Steven asked wide eyed
"OH COME ON MAN! Of course not! Besides, although famously no man has ever seen what's under the brocaded skirt, as my grandmother happened to be one of the maidens when she was alive, and used to take my dad along, he did see what's under there..."
"And what is it?" Steven asked, almost jumping out of his skin
"Wouldn't you like to know...." I taunted him merciless
"Oh come on! Did he see or not?" he kept on asking
"Yes, he did... My grandmother did tell him to wait outside the church until she'd call him, but dad was only five, and he got scared waiting outside in the dark, so he just crept in and saw Mary totally naked, surrounded by the old screaming maidens, all trying to shield Mary's modesty.... But he did see..."
"Oh fucking hell! What? What did he see?" Steven was on the edge of his seat
"Branches." I whispered in a grave tone
"Branches? What branches?" he snapped back, disappointed
"Well, the internal structure of the statue is made out of four hundred year old hazelnut tree branches. Imagine like a huge broom with a very short handle. Back in the seventeenth century, they created the structure out of branches, then covered the 'handle' half with plaster and moulded the bust , neck and head of the Virgin. They kept the lower part as branches because they probably thought it almost blasphemous having to mould Mary's legs, butt.... and muffin!" I winked
"You ass!" Steven pinched me
"You talk so much crap..." he just said
"No, I am most certainly not! DAD! DAD COME HERE A SECOND!" I yelled at my father that was all concentrated in a card game with mum
"WHAT? I CAN'T LEAVE THE TABLE! YOUR MUM IS A TERRIBLE CHEAT!" he replied causing my mum to laugh
"DAD, IS IT TRUE THAT OUR WEEPING MARY IS TOO HOLY TO HAVE A MUFFIN?" I just yelled back at him.
I got no reply.
Only a moment later I got slapped across the back of the head by my dad, suddenly appeared behind my armchair
"RESPECT SON! She is your holy mother too...." he quipped
"And YES, she has no lower half of the body, she is made out of very old branches" he solemnly stated returning to his game.
"If she is my holy mother how come I am always this overweight?" I asked trying to be funny
"BECAUSE YOUR UN-HOLY MOTHER FEEDS YOU TOO MUCH !" was my mum's answer, I deliberately ignored it and went back to our original topic
"See? It's all true!" I just said, looking smugly at Steven whilst pouring some more tea and cutting some more cake.
"Which part?" Steven asked
"Both parts..... I can't help it... I like my food.... Why don't you ask my holy mum tonight to help me lose some weight... Cake?" I concluded.