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VIA DELL’ARCOBALENO 67 Apartment 7 Di Paola Fratnik (Tradotto da: Eva Danese)
‘’Everybody’s at war whit different things…I’m at war with my own heart sometimes’’
The ringtone explodes in my head.
For a long time I can’t figure out what’s the noise that it’s hammering in my ears.
I must be dead.
But I’m feeling too sick to be dead. Also, I don’t think that Paradise, Nirvana or whatever that place is called can be this loud.
I look for the alarm clock by touch and then I throw it against the wall. It’s not the first nor the last time that this happens.
I have to be productive in two hours, at all costs. It’s inevitable!
I really cannot get to like waking up and getting ready.
It’s like a hammer on the head. Maybe a hammer would be better today.
I manage to reach the terrace, even if slowly: during the holidays the neighborhood slumbers.
No honking, no frantic chattering or cackling coming from the children getting out of school.
The proximity with Villa Ada makes this area relatively cool. The pollution level is acceptable to my lungs.
After all, I love living in the city. I don’t understand people who love the country and there is absolutely nothing bucolic in me.
I breathe deeply. I enjoy mornings like this, with fresh, almost sea air.
I love my house; not because it’s a shelter, but simply because it’s comfortable, functional, and this five-story builinding is quite indifferent to its own residents.
I am attached to this street, too; so private and descreet, with all its little shops ready to meet a wide variety of needs.
No smoking. My eyes burn today. I blink constantly and I stare up at the clear sky, squinting.
I shouldn’t do it, but I can’t resist the beauty of this image.
A plane crosses the sky, leaving a light trail behind itself. It must be toxic for sure!
My mood is unbearably languid today: I must be on the brink of a psycological breakdown.
I run a hand through my hair to fix them and to banish my heavy thoughts. Still, they are stuck in my mind.
The coffee is black and aromatic. Thank goodness for technology! The coffee maker is synchronized with the alarm clock and makes waking up, or should I say coming out of a coma, easier.
Many people frown upon drinking or eating from plastic cutlery, but I’ve drank and eaten in much more unsettling ways in my life, so for me everything is almost a luxury.
I’m particularly attached to these black plastic glasses I use for breakfast. I don’t know why, but I’m afraid the reason is some sort of unknown mental disorder.
Plus, I deeply hate doing something more than what is strictly necessary. Like doing the dishes for example. Which doesn’t make any sense, since Helena takes care of it. And here is a further proof that my brain mechanisms are not quite right.
Ritual morning shower.
Last night I couldn’t even take off my clothes, I just threw myself on the bed, naked, hoping to fall asleep fast.
I was tired, my body felt tense, and my mind wandered nonstop.
That’s why I love and I hope to sleep. I need to take some time off from life and call a truce.
I sort out my fancy suits, preparing them for the dry cleaner.
My Rolex, the cuff links and the rings are discreet but heavy. I store them in the drawer beside my bed carelessly.
I love ostentation because it makes other people weak.
It makes me feel confident. I like to be in control of everything.
On the other hand, untidiness makes me uncomfortable. I have a spinster soul, and that unexpectedly amuses me.
I mix the water to get the right temperature.
The tight skin of my naked body tingles with pleasure coming in contact with the heat.
I soap myself slowly, following the shape of my muscles, sculpted by hours of working out. I linger on my flat stomach to ease the tension and on the penis, so sensitive that it feels any kind of stimulation, even the slightest,
The mirror puts me in a good mood. I am aware of the way I look.
False modesty amuses me: it doesn’t take much to take a look at youself and make an objective evaluation.
Nontheless, I smile to my image critically.
I can see I’m plased with the green in my eyes. I am a gorgeous specimen of a man, dammit!
After the shower, I need to sit on the couch for a while. I reach it dripping all over the place.
Helena will kill me and will shout unknown abuse on me, making everything clear by the tone of her voice, exasperated and vehement.
Now I need to close my eyes for a couple of minutes. Just two more minutes.
Then I’ll go.
The sounds are muffled and they hiss in my ears, but i cannot identify them.
Panic is growing in my stomach, I am surely ridiculously late.
Not that I care, after all.
I’ll let them have it! According to regulations, before nine thirty the building has to keep quiet. Loud noises are not allowed.
What was all that dragging and beating at dawn?
Here comes the spinster again! – I think to myself, smiling in the dark, despite everything.
I stand up and I reach the door slowly, leaning against the walls. I open the door, hiding my naked body as best as I can.
The hallway, my hallway, is flooded with boxes, crates and huge bags.
The very sight of this dump makes my brain hurt.
My phisical need for order is hit and down.
-What time is it? -
- Do you know that making such noise at this time of the day is forbidden?
These three questions swirl inside of me, but I’m not sure which one I made, nor I hear the sound of my voice.
The chick that was climbing the stairs stops for a second, more to catch her breath then to answer me, apparently.
She’s wearing a dark jumpsuit and some coloured clip that keep her hair in a weird hairstyle.
She gets to the hallway, then she comes near the door in front of my appartment and drops the bags that she has brought there.
I’m moving - she finally answers, frowning for the obviousness of the answer, looking at me as if I am transparent and breathing heavily.
-I assume from her breathing she is not getting any oxigen in her head! - I think, - And she definitely must lose some weight if she doesn’t want to croak!-
-It’s eleven- she continues. -Can you help me?- she asks without any courtesy or sensitivity.
I nod in a heartbeat. Why? I must be possessed this morning. Or too weak to react to the void.
Anyway, I leave the door ajar and I roll my eyes. It this really happening? To me? Back in my room I put on the first trousers I find, I run my hand through my hair to give it some sort of shape and I get back the hallway.
-It took you a long time! - Her words are too humorous for me. Wait! Let me get my thoughts together and respond properly, but it’s too late.
-Thank you – she says - It’s so rare to find someone so generouse and willing. Attentive to the needs of a stranger. You really made my day! -
I freeze up. Is she talking to me? Attentive? Her words feel exagerated and too emphatic. Or maybe she’s making fun of me. I look straight into her eyes to find out but she starts clapping her hands, distracting me.
-Come on, come on! Let’s make this quick! I’m so tired.
Don’t tell me! Anyway, I don’t feel like arguing, talking or anything else. I’m regretting my decision already.
At the same time, I’m curious to see how the other apartment looks like. It’s been vacant for a long time. Many hasty and unsatisfied people have come to evaluate it.
Small. Small is the only adjective that comes to my mind. Two people won’t need to talk in here to hear each other: thinking hard should be enough.
It’s very tidy and the walls are painted in a light shade.
The forniture is minimal but it will surely change in a matter of days. I chuckle. Many other girls supplies will pile up in time.
I could only put it together like that so far – she tells me calmly, she has caught her breath - I used to come here whenever I could, I’m sorry if this has caused you trouble. I tried to be as quiet as possible.
I didn’t notice anything. I was away on business.
And it was true. How can it be that the most unthinkable things happen under my nose and I’m never aware of them? Have I been too tired or too indifferent?
I sigh and I start dragging everything inside.
I open boxes and bags, I grab books and I store them, I read the titles and get a glimpse of some pages, I organize her personal belongings according to my taste.
I touch and weight the fabrics of her clothes and of her underwear, I look carefully at everything, without caring about her discomfort, on the contrary, trying to make her feel more uncomfortable.
I put every object where I’d like to keep it.
We go on like this, talking only when needed. I’m even feeling relaxed.
When her cellphone rings I wince.
- Fuck! Mine is over there!
- If you’re fine, I must go. I’m busy now.
She looks at me rubbing her face from exhaustion and nods briefly.
-Thanks a lot and sorry again-.
-If you need me, I’m here. But do not count too much on it! Today it was pure chance – I say smiling.
I’m feeling really fine and in a good mood now.
She turns away and keeps tiding up.