It started like this, like all things, almost like a game, a party, friends, girls and a bit of substances called “light drugs” just to heat up the atmosphere.
He had no problem with drinking a few glasses or smoking some pot, he had already done it and he knew how his body would react and he knew when to stop. Actually he used those substances to loosen up a bit and to calm his nerves, he had a sunny nature and everyone always saw him laugh, but only a few knew that he never gave vent to his negative feelings and the negative events that life put before him, to make him talk, his friends almost had to threaten him even when, those rare times, they saw him down and it was clear that he needed to talk to someone, he always answered that everything was fine, maybe his eyes were swollen ready to cry on the first shoulder that appeared before him but he did not say anything except that everything was fine.
Only his brother and a couple of dear friends knew how to take him but also to them he had hidden some secrets that he kept well hidden within himself. Then, at one point, in the middle of the party a friend of his arrived, he was into Native American cultures, he looked like an hippie, he looked like he just got out from the ’60s. He always listens to the music of those years, long hair and loose clothes, he had a strange passion for hallucinogenic drugs, such a strong passion, that got him the nickname of “acid”, he said that the psychedelic drugs helped him travelling by opening the doors of perception, he had started writing poems and playing the guitar but in reality he was an unemployed guy who occasionally remedied occasionally work.
He approached David while he was absorbed in his thoughts and enjoying his bottle of beer, he began by awakening him from his thoughts:
“Hi David, how are you?”
“Hi Acid, I didn’t see you, not so well, today’s mom’s second anniversary.”
“It’s been two years already? Damn! It seems like yesterday that she was alive and she scolded me for my many tattoos!”
“Yeah, as a matter of fact I came here just because it’s Matt’s girlfriend’s party, otherwise I would have stayed gladly home, I’m not really in a party mood tonight.”
“I can imagine but I think that staying at home would have been worse. I’ll give you something that will cheer you up if you want to. I took it during my last trip to Arizona, it’s called Peyote, Apaches use it to pray.”
He took some flower petals out of his pocket, he had heard of this hallucinogen but he had never tried it. That evening David could not relax, he continually thought of his mother, he kept seeing the last heartbreaking moments of her life after a year of fighting a disease that had not given her escape.
Not even the beer and the joints were able to make him escape from those memories, he looked at that rose petal in Acid’s outstretched hands, he took it and put it in his mouth and started chewing it. He leaned on the sofa and closed his eyes.
The first half-hour he did not feel anything, then he began to travel, he saw music notes coming out of the stereo smiling to him, he got up and went to the balcony. Overlooking the windowsill he looked at the emptiness, the clouds spoke to him, they told him stories about people living in other parts of the world, beams of coloured lights passing through them and illuminating the smiling face of David who was laughing amused as he never was in the past two years.
No one cared about him, there were people making out and others in worse conditions than he was, he chose to go out and wondered through the streets of the city in the humidity of the night that overwhelmed him with his strange warmth. There weren’t many people around and he liked it a lot. It was a night in the middle of the week of the beginning of May, people started to go out only during the weekends, during the week they worked and stayed at home, he walked in the alleys, it was about one a.m. and the few lights on inside the houses were extinguishing slowly at his passage. He went down the stairs at the first bridge and sat down by the river that flowed by cutting the city in half, he saw the fish light up like light bulbs in the murky water swimming fast. He no longer heard the music of the party but he saw the music notes of a serenade sung by a cat for her kitten, he heard words of love and promises of fidelity and he laughed thinking that love is equal to all living beings. Doesn’t matter if you’re a man, a woman or an animal. He climbed the stairs, leaving the cats in their privacy, the male cat thanked him with a wink. He continued his walk through the streets of the center, he came across a bum who was going to sleep on a bench, he took off his jacket and laid it on the bum’s body like a blanket. Further ahead he found a stray dog gnawing on a bone found in some rubbish bin.
He stood next to it to observe it until the annoyed dog turned and asked him not too politely:
“What? You’ve never seen a dog gnawing on a bone?”
“I’m sorry, I was thinking about what kind of life you conduct.” David politely answered. The dog, became curious and approached him and sat next to him.
“and how would my life be?” the dog asked
“Well, you’re always roaming around, without worrying about working to eat, sleeping in different places, isn’t it beautiful?”
The dog laughed, it did not believe his ears, a man who had everything he wanted, a warm house, a warm meal every night, he envied its insipid life.
“You see, dear man, your problem is control. You want to control everything, you have invented money that makes you a slave to other men who, in return, are completely slaves of money. You do not appreciate things anymore, things as beautiful as life itself. The things that you envy me, you may have them too and much more comfortable but you lack the courage to abandon your standard of life, your “civilization””
The dog’s words struck him like a bolt from the sky, he was right, we had lost track of time, we had moved away from our task, instead of enjoying and respecting Mother Earth we were destroying it, deluded by the desire of controlling it.
He got up and kept on walking, he realized that it must have been quite a long time since he left the party, he looked at his watch and realized that two hours had passed, while still wondering around the city, he met a prostitute who had before her a possible client so she began to tell him the list of her services and her cheap prices.
But David didn’t care, he didn’t have that instinct, he just wanted to hear her story.
Therefore, even if it wasn’t part of her services’ list, he paid her to make her tell her story. They went to a nearby park and sat on a bench, then she began.
Her name was Patricia and she came from the east, from Kosovo more precisely, she grew up in a normal family and she had a passion for dancing. Before the beginning of the war she used to take dancing classes, her father worked for a construction company, even if he made lots of sacrifices to make her study ballet, he was very happy every time he saw his daughter dance. Then the fighting kicked in and everything changed in a blink of an eye, a bomb destroyed her house, she saved her life only because she was at the dancing school, dancing.
It was an hard hit, what she would have done now that she was alone in the world in a Country that became a ticking time bomb? A friend of her convinced her to leave Kosovo and run to Italy, there was a chance to start a new life there she told her so she packed everything she had, her family’s savings and took a boat headed south of the Italian peninsula. Bad news weren’t over, once she arrived, her friend, the one who advised her to leave, sold her to a group of Albanians. They stole all her money, brought her in the city where she was now and forced her to walk the streets, they forced her to become a prostitute.
She ended her story like all these kind of stories finish, with a broken voice and a face full of tears.
He hugged her and all of a sudden, he felt he had to tell her all about him, like he never did before with no one else, not even with his brother or friends.
He told her about his difficult childhood spent separating his parents who were always fighting, the beatings and the cops coming and going to his house.
He told her about the relief he felt when his father went out one night to go buy cigarettes and never returned.
Since that night their lives, his and his mother and brother’s lives, totally changed. Without that man, everything started to go well, him and his brother grew up, his brother became an engineer. He, a committed animalist, was studying to become a veterinarian.
Until his life was hit by another tragedy, it happened one morning, after two days of waiting, the results, of the analysis his mother took after some breathing problems she was having, arrived. They brought her to the doctor’s, who after a phone consult with a colleague, took his glasses off and told me to sit:
“Is it bad doctor?” His mother asked, staring at the doctor’s face while David listened silently.
She didn’t like the tone of voice the doctor used when he invited them to sit, she feared something bad was coming.
“I will be honest with you, I’ve know you since a long time and I don’t want to give false hopes, the situation is critical. Your mother has a very big hematoma in her lungs, a malignant tumour to be more specific, there’s nothing we can do about it because it’s spread in both lungs. We cannot remove both of course. We can wait for donators but the lists are very long and the expansion of the hematoma doesn’t give us much time. I’m sorry madame but you have six months left, the most. Sorry the brutality of my words but you have the right to know how the situation really is.”
“How is this possible? How this happened?” The mother asked while crying and coughing. David held his head between his hand and started to feeling the world crushing on him.
Since that morning, everything went wrong, he spent every second of his life next to his mother, between therapies and various hospital appointments with different doctors, but the sentence was always the same.
Until a morning, two years ago, when his mother fell asleep forever, in her sons arms.
They remained embraced for a long time, a very unlucky boy and a prostitute who got paid, for the first time in her sad life, to talk about her life and to hear someone else’s painful story.
It wasn’t clear who was consoling who but they both knew that talking to each other was a good thing. They greeted each other like they did before, she went back to her job and jumped into an impatient client’s luxury car. David saw the car taking off and kept walking towards the unknown. It was late, the sun was about to rise so he decided to wait for the new day at the beach. He took the bus, waved at the driver, paid the ticket and sat next to the window. He saw the blur landscape’s shadows greeting him, he greeted back from the other side of the window.
The bus arrived to his destination, David got off and started walking towards the beach, he crossed path with a baker who was opening his shop, he greeted him like they knew each other since a lifetime, the baker greeted him back distractedly focused on his morning duties.
David reached the beach, took socks and shoes off, he felt the cold morning sand under his feet, the sun was rising but it was still a small sphere far on the horizon. Suddenly, while he was looking at the sea becoming more and more orange thanks to the rising sun, he saw the shadow of a woman who he didn’t recognize at the beginning.
When this figure approached him, he had no more doubts, she was his mom.
“Mom, mom, is it you?” Shouted David while he stood up and run towards the water
“Mom, why aren’t you answering me?”
His mom, or that figure that resembled he, didn’t answer, she just stood there immobile, suspended upon the waves offshore. He made a decision, he was going to reach her or whatever it was that looked like her, he wanted to see her.
He jumped into the sea dressed and started to swim faster and faster but the more he swam the more that figure looked far away. He swam with all his strength and he was quite far away from shore when he realized he was exhausted so he just let himself go closing his eyes, feeling the water filling his lungs. He wasn’t cold anymore and he saw his mom closer and closer now that his body was sinking deeper and deeper into the sea.
The phone rang into the house of a well know engineer at 8.07 a.m., while, like every morning, this well know engineer was taking a shower. He didn’t hear his brother coming home last night but he didn’t care, he would have called him at the office later saying that
he slept over a friend’s house. The engineer answered in a hurry, curious because of the unusual hour:
“Goodmorning, this is the harbour master, are you Walter Bianchi?”
“I’m very sorry that I have to be the one to inform you but we’ve found a body at the docks, a boy who got caught on a rope in the water, next to a boat and according to the documents we have found on him, he’s your brother, you should come here now.”
“I’m on my way.”
He hung up, cried for a long time, then madness struck him, he opened the storage closet, where he kept his hunting rifles, he took one them, put the barrel in his mouth and pulled the trigger.