Oh, my beautiful Madonna...
"What am I doing among this crowd?", I was musing while walking through an elegant shopping district in Rome. The answer seemed to have materialized from the air. A tall man with oriental features spoke to me angrily: "Why don’t you do something to help these people?"And then, pointing to the crowd," most of them do not even know why they are here."
" How can I help anyone if I am lost myself?"
" Let God-indicator direct you."
"God and Love are two most ambiguous words in the world."
"God is Love, everything else is nonsense."
After that, as if adding "P.S." at the end of the letter, he commanded:
-Cover your eyes.
-There is too much Love there.
-You find "God" looking at you disturbing?
He repeated, serious: "Hide yourself, cover them!"
Stumbling through the street full of toxic princesses thrown upon benches in most awkward positions, Paolo decided that I am a confession booth: "Had someone told me: "Eat this rat and you will not need drugs, I would do so right away. But nothing helps. I want to stop, I want to change, I want to live, how am I to do it?" Stunned by his readiness to eat the rat and blissfully ignorant about the subject of drugs, I offered to hide him in my room on the condition that he does not touch drugs ever again. After two weeks I fished out whatever remained of his body from a puddle created by drug abstinence and sent that pitiful matter home to his mamma, the worst thing one could do according to anti-drug pamphlets which I got to read in abundance later.
After years he has re-emerged in a dress of a successful businessman. Now he is a family man with five children.
"Drugs are like a long dark horrifying tunnel, I was inside without understanding anything. But there was light at the end of that tunnel, it gave me hope, and only that mattered. That light was your love. Thanks to it I knew that darkness will end one day."
Now Paolo is hooked up on money.
Words change, but the melody remains the same:"I am unhappy; my children are pretending that I buy more and more expensive gifts. My wife sees me as a money-making machine. I work and work, wishing to stop and live, but how to do it, tell me?"
"Maybe it’s your turn to help junkies-the town is full of them."
Instead of an answer:" Family-work-money-uuuu!!!!"
Get lost then.
Don't leave me like that alone! You can’t do it, not you!
I stare into the dark tunnel from the entrance and hear weeping and prayers for help coming from inside. Had it been shorter, I could have had a glimpse of those who are my similar, but dark space ahead is long, maybe endless. Is there no consolation for those whose destiny is to console? Maybe one day it will come, but in the meantime...
...we lived in an enormous apartment in Livorno. It was full of empty boxes. When Luciano fell ill, he imagined that he is depositing his pain inside. Amazing, but it worked. He was well read, spoke 25 languages and even knew how to hypnotize himself. Emotions, strong connections, scared him, but when he has heard that I am lacking a permit of residency to stay in Italy (it was era of Bossi-Fini, the Fascist Government), he was beyond himself with joy: to repair the situation we had to get married right away!
" I see nothing wrong with being an illegal alien, to get married there must a more serious reason."
"I want my connection to the Invisible registered, stamped and protocoled. What could be more serious than that? "
We lived with Enrico high on the hill close to the stars, far below one could see lights of Vicenza. An offspring of an aristocratic family, he studied Karl Marx diligently day and night, his objective being to become "working people’s economist". One day he stunned me with the following speech: "Life of a couple is based on dissatisfaction. That's how it works. She tells him: "I don't like this lampshade; we need to buy another one!" After lamps hade comes turn of the dresser, then it's the car, and so on. Husband begins to work more and more, so as to be able to buy more things in order to please his wife. The problem with you is that you are too happy, you do not care about material things. Couldn't you be a little bit more dissatisfied at least once in awhile? That way I will have a chance to satisfy you."
Holland. Tiny village near Bruges...
I‘ve been dreaming of you..." said Michail waking up one morning.
"How romantic", I thought proudly.
"I went to the city to do shopping. Upon my return I find you in the courtyard, in front of a smoking chimney. The house was missing.
"What happened!?" I screamed."
"Nothing, you answered lost in thought "Why, what's the matter?"
"What do you mean-"what's the matter? Where is the house?!!"
"Ah the house...it burned. I forgot the kettle on fire."
"You mean you have burned our home?"»
«It happened by chance. But why are you so agitated? »
Eternal city, Italy
Antonio arrived with plates and table wear, most of them were forks, there were few knifes which did not cut, while spoons were lacking all together. It was his gift for an upcoming wedding, one out of many which somehow did not materialize.
I made him notice that table ware does not match and that spoons are lacking, wondering about the reason.
"You will need only forks-he assured me. You are not one of those who take her men with a spoon, no-you poke them well with a fork before swallowing."
I was speechless. Pulling out a bag with fresh fruit stolen from somebody's garden on the way to our meeting, he would choose best plums and words slowly, with care :
"I have an open account with you. It’s all marked in my head, every minute detail. One day you will pay for everything, point by point. "
"I thought we are friends. What’s the problem? "
You. You are the biggest problem of my life: you add interrogation marks at the end of every one of my beliefs. I am at war with the world; you are the saintly protector of that miserable scum. You make me weak, you prevent me from reacting as I should, and you incline me to forgive. Trust me, you will not wriggle out, I will make you pay…in the mean time take this-it it’s the sweetest."
(and in the distance:"I told you-cover your eyes before it is too late! Hide yourself...")
Southern Italy, Gerace.
Angelo worked in a psychiatric hospital, teaching art to mentally ill children. Returning home depressed, he would spill sadness accumulated during the day all over my mental space. When I made him notice it, complaining that it is not nice, he answered with a sadistic smile "Oh really? But aren't you here in this world to help others?"
In the midst of a discussion about art, all of a sudden he pulled out a sox from a pocket with a hole in it and ordered: "Repair it. " Seeing my eyes "full of love" get off their orbit, he reassured me: "It is clean. "
"Don't you know how to use a needle? I will be more than happy to show you."
He chanted, laughing: "Oh, my beautiful Madonna, I want you to do it! I wish so, I desire it, and I beseech you-repair my sox! "
On the way to the airport, all of a sudden he decided that before we part I must help him buy a pair of pants.
" I hate shopping”, I protested, I’d rather give you a pair of my jeans».
"No!!! Jeans: no."
To placate him I had to perform a miracle instantly, pulling out from the first used clothing collector a pair of pants of the type, size and color which he desired.
He was happy like a child: "Remain in Italy: they will make you a candidate to be canonized as a saint! We all will vote for you! "
Testaccio, working class district of Rome.
A policeman came to give us an eviction notice. There were many squatters in the room, all herded around the table, but he was looking at me without bothering to hide his interest. Next day policeman returned with his son, to whom he wanted to show someone special: me. Child was twirling, looking around with curiosity. Policeman twisted his son’s head forcibly, almost as if to unscrew it, and ordered: "Look at her! Observe these eyes. Similar expression can be encountered only in prison, among most atrocious murderers. Only there innocence and determination mix so perfectly. It is rare." He even requested my autograph.
St.. Petersburg, Russia
Art Historian of world fame, Serghei has been writing a book on Classicism. To take a break from his work, he decided to sketch out classification of women whom he has encountered throughout his life.
"He was walking around the room agitated, preoccupied that you don’t fit any category", his wife told me laughing," but then he calmed down arriving at a compromise: at the bottom of the page he added..."and then there is Lada." "
One day an old University friend wrote me, "Ever since we met I have been struck, by how the image of Madonna is central to the imagery of your art, your behavior, and your way of thinking. Why so?"
I wish I knew.
In what way a wife, a mother, a sister, a friend is different from that light at the end of the tunnel?
Or is it simply a problem of table ware that does not match?
Help me, explain it to me, please!