Up to you I never understood. Up to you, I had never felt my body capable of becoming ice. Suddenly all the bones, the skin and the innermost interior become cold, suddenly. Extremely cold, to the point of shivering, to the point of finding nothing but cold, to secrete ice that cannot be medicated or dissolved, diluted.
Here the north wind is coming, I know that the wonderful little summer we’ve had in these days is about to disappear.
When the north wind comes I miss you even more, I miss the neck and the beard where to shelter, the big hands to lose me and the soft and persistent colour your skin takes with the cold. It is that chalky pink with which your face is covered when you go out with your hands in your pockets and the collar of your plaid jacket up. Do you think I could even describe the way you smell, I remember it well from memory, when you’re cold then changes a bit: it becomes more spicy. I remember – years later.
Then I cross the rooms wallpapered by mirrors where I take refuge while I watch myself multiplied dozens of times, squeezed by other men. I look for them, I find them, I look forward to it. When the morning sun breaks in and reality, thunderous with all its material implications, reveals itself to me and to the time spent making myself loved by others, then I retreat. And I return to the cage where no one enters, nor could you (assuming you could find the key).
Until you, I had never inhabited a mirrored room for one night.
I had learned so little about feelings. And also of simple concepts, such as duration, up to you.
And I had so little learned to look at myself and then to look at us, always bundled up in moments. I never regretted it, up to you.
Yesterday I ordered a baroque mirror, two meters by one. I want the double of one, the section of two together. Free to position it vertically and horizontally at will. Perhaps this is the way to frame duration by all possible views.
The exercise of my spiritual grammar today is easy, so easy. Rethinking to the last year (only the last one) isolated from the background noise of all the others. I analyze the needs and how I responded to the urgent and secondary ones. I look at the hopes I had just a year ago and list those of this morning. I found myself at 17 to choose the songs for my birthday party: I would still have included the same ones today. I keep the same hopes, with more disenchantment.
I learned that love comes fast and that it does not last forever, in the same form and in the same theory of passions. They should teach it in the most elementary schools, to immediately break the pre-cooked dreams dotted with pink. You taught me it the first time we met at a table filled with artists. I didn’t want to understand it right away, but in the end you were able to teach it to me and you were so good at not breaking any of my hopes. Hopes of me in the world, of me alone, of me producing or disappearing.
The wisterias give way to jasmines: in the north these are the only olfactory storms that shake you to the bottom. This April the wisteria bloomed more luxuriant than usual thanks to the mild winter and to every little rain they spread even more their persistent and ambered honey. A magical plant wrapping me deeply and upsetting me as well deep down. It is the finest translation that nature has to describe the purest sense of intimacy.
I cry at every wisteria I go through this spring, almost always without being able to stop, no matter how many people and which ones surround me. I run away from flowering terraces in the middle of cocktails, stumbling over well-placed glasses, canapés and dishes; I go through as a rocket or a flush through cascades of other wonderful flowers to pass unnoticed. I change road when riding my bike because I know in which garden next to my direction I will find one.
In Venice I am surrounded, literally, by wisterias and jasmines and I give up. I can’t avoid them, they take me home, whatever direction I run to get there. Even tonight I went to look for our cat, who decided that a piece of the public garden (where she was always waiting for you, hoping you would come back with the vaporetto) is her new home. I passed under the big wisteria, we often stopped there, underneath, to watch the sunset when we were still talking and you looked like a sweet and kind person. Before leaving, I canceled all the newsletters that remind me of you: the one from the bookshop in your city, the one from the Parisian club, the one from the store of the last gifts I gave you, including the deep blue shirt, with a Vietnamese collar and also that spare in western style.
A friend of mine suggested me to burn something of yours every day, to make this as a punctual morning assignment. And to send him a message: one word, “done”, at the end of the daily ritual.
I would like to write you another letter, to tell you to remove me from your newsletter. I can’t do it.
Because I would like to start it like this: “Can I be for you, please another person? One of the hundreds that passes by by chance and is beautiful enough so you can seduce and, in series, abandon her. I don’t want to be me, Die, the one you pretended to love for two and a half years and then suddenly, after having taught her the courage of motherhood, you disappeared. Eradicate yourself from me, please, because I can’t cancel you.”
Die (2013-2019, unpublished/ original language: Italian, all rights reserved), translation by Slow Words