Sotto alla Corona
- 2016 (7)
- 2015 (18)
"You look like shit..." C points out to me jokingly, trying to break the ice.
The nausea twisted my stomach and dried up my mouth.
I opened the window and let the morning breeze ruffled my hair.
Everything was wonderful, the weather, the countryside, the tranquility. The familiar landscape.
Yet I was convinced that everything would change once I had left explode the volcano seething inside me.
I had two options: to invent another story and slowly crawl back into my prison or open my mouth, risking everything and hope for the best.
"Well? Will you tell me what happened? Are you all right? "C presses on, taking advantage of my momentary calm whilst rummaging through the radio stations for something to listen to.
"Yes... I’m fine..." I reply, sounding evasive and looking out the window.
"FINE? Does this mean that if you were 'a little sad' you would throw yourself under a train? I mean, are you insane? What the fuck happened? " C insists, clearly angry.
"Nothing, I tell you ... It's over now.... Let's go for breakfast... " I try to deflect.
At that moment, C really flips and stops the car suddenly in the middle of the road, thankfully deserted.
"YOU DISAPPEAR FOR DAYS, YOU THROW ME OUT OF BED AT 7:00 IN THE MORNING ON A SATURDAY, YOU CRY ON THE PHONE LIKE A MAD MAN, YOU LOOK HALF DEAD AND YOU SAY THAT IT’S OVER? BUT FUCK YOU! GET OUT! MOVE! GO!"And in so saying he throws my backpack out of the window and literally throws me out of the car.
"Call me when you stopped being an idiot!" he yells at me while speeding away.
I don’t even try to stop him. I don’t even try to reason with him or apologize to him. I remember that my face hurt because I tried so hard to laugh as the tears rolled down from my eyes shamelessly.
I watched the car disappear around the bend in a cloud of dust. I composed myself.
I was already half way and decided to walk the rest of the way, more so that there wasn’t a public telephone within at least a mile and mobile phones were still a luxury for the very few.
C was right. I have always abused of his understanding, from an early age. I remember inventing things, on several occasions, just to get his attention.
I always liked to feel that, in the crowd of peers that made fun of me, he was ready to defend me, ready to be interested. I knew, indeed, I had always known that C really cared for me.
And I fell madly in love with him.
It had been silently in love with him for 6 years.
But this part did not interest me anymore. C was heterosexual, indeed, he was the eponym of heterosexuality.
In other words, C was crazy about women.
This was another cage from which I wanted and needed to escape. Trapped fantasizing about an impossible love because of the lack of alternatives.
Step by step along the deserted road, I found myself remembering our childhood together, the way he always teased me, the times he apologized to me, all our serious conversations, the cigarettes, the beers, our plans to escape from the country, laughing to tears, fighting to the point of getting physical, our burping competitions at school and all the times we were sent out from the classroom because we were disturbing the lesson with our bullshit....
Always together. C and me. This friendship deserved the truth.
I got home around half past nine, all covered in dust.
"No, I mean, you could have called your dad right?" Mom said to me, pointing at my shoes caked in dust from the country road.
"Come on, take off those jeans and those shoes. I’ll throw them in the washing machine ... The sun will dry them in half an hour..... Have you had breakfast? "
"No. ... But I'm not hungry ...."
"Ok .... C called last night, I thought you were together .... Have you spoken to him? "
"Yes ... In fact, we’re going out tonight .... Don’t count me in for dinner .... I'm going to take a shower ok? "I conclude, kissing her on the cheek.
I spent the rest of the day in a state of pseudo-hypnosis. Eyes fixed on an indefinite point in mid-air, my mind crowded with flashbacks illustrating my past life of closeted homosexual, the teasing and the isolation.
That gay club, and the colorful images of the crowd at the door.
I had to exorcise my past, I had to tell the truth.
All of it and without reservation.
I had decided.
Rummaging through my things I found my old journals from high school, where I wrote poems and verses dedicated to some 'girl' that no one knew.
I never lied openly referring to a girl, perhaps not to lose the spirit of my emotions, or perhaps because even hypocrisy has its limits, but I also knew that I could never specify the sex of the object of my languor.
I spoke of 'being', 'creature', 'Angel', 'soul mate'.....
I was completely taken with the exaltation of my pain that I hadn’t even noticed the cathedral I had built for it over years of silence, suppressing hormonal moods and the pure feelings of first love .... I was a little weird for my age. I admit it.
But what can you do?
When all you have is your dissatisfaction and your pain and your shame, the most spontaneous thing for me to do was to erect a monument to them, to go pray to every now and then. Somewhere to burn my offerings, somewhere to pour my tears.
I remember that C often made fun of my poems"Hey, but why do you write all this prose? You only need one thing you know... " he once wrote in red pen at the bottom of a poem, not knowing it was actually dedicated to him.
Everything was in fact dedicated to him. My whole life as a teenager was dedicated to him, as well as the feelings of my heart and my depressions.
Poor C, struggling with his best friend, every day more and more strange, completely unaware of being the cause of his fainting fits...
"C, sorry about earlier ...... If tonight you don’t have other commitments, do you want to go to dinner? "I ask him over the phone "I have something to tell you ... " I add.
"Are you done with the asshole phase?" he taunted me from the other end of the phone, his voice barely audible against U2 screaming from his stereo " I’ll come and pick you up at 7.00 ok? Be ready... "
"I'm ready .... I'll be ready .... "I answer, patting the old diaries piled by the phone.
I felt in high spirits. I was not afraid and, more importantly, I was no longer in love with C.
By analyzing in hindsight (and thanks to the taste of the lips of another guy still in my mouth....) I do not think that it was ever love.
It was something different. No less important, no less poignant. It had no body, it only had soul.
Whatever it was, it occupied my mind for 6 years and had helped me to climb the slope and reach that fateful kiss.
It was the ballast that at the end I managed to throw into the sea, proving to myself that my heart could aspire to something more than a one-sided relationship lived out in the total secrecy of my brain.
All those words, those verses were like the weeds that grow in the dark, the fruit of sorrow and frustration of a teenager.
Tear them off was not enough, I had to throw them in the sun, the sun of truth.
At seven o'clock the bell rang and I went out, shutting the door behind me.
Jeans and blue shirt, with my backpack full of old school diaries.
"Hey! I brought you a present.... Just to make up.... You asshole! "I say to him taking the cigarette from his mouth to steal a puff, recklessly defiant.
"Oh well.... If you hope to be forgiven , it better be something expensive..." He teases me jokingly whilst getting into the car, " are you giving back that cigarette or not? ".
"Something expensive you say? Let's say that at the end of the evening I shall tell you what this gift has cost me.... Where do you want to go?" I say evasively, swallowing cigarette smoke like a hard-boiled egg.
And we sped off in the hot summer’s evening’s air.