Look at yourself in the mirror / Books and dreams

“Tell me why are you doing this? Have you forgotten that we grew up together? Remember those pictures of our pregnant mothers? I always thought we were friends even then, how can you not realize anything?”
The words are sharp, angry, poisonous arrows that can rip even the hardest heart.
But not mine. Rather. I’m tempted to take him by the neck and attach him to the wall. I cannot stand the tranquility that he flaunts. Between the two of us it was always him the one having the most glowing character of brawler.
Many quarrels happened for banalities and some stupid misunderstandings. Screaming the worst things at each other’s face, being angry with each other like children;
then we would meet after a few days at the usual shed near the sea, smoking joints, drinking a beer and giving a good kick to, both the ball and our grudges. Yet something makes me think that all this will not be enough for him to go over it.
My best friend, my “little brother” as I used to call him, is turning his back at me and it seems that he no longer wishes to turn around to look back.
This scares me … “Can’t you realize that you’re destroying your brain with drugs?” …
“How dare you, who are you to judge me?” I can’t stand him anymore. I don’t want to hear him speak, ever again.
An impulsive gesture, a moment of madness, a sudden black out in the filter of thoughts and without even realizing, my malignant fantasy becomes reality.
I take him by the collar of the coat and crash him against the wall. I cannot believe what I am. No, not me, I have never been violent. I hate the thought of being able to hurt someone.
The violence I suffered as a child led me to reject it sharply, without compromise.
Yet, it is me, who is threatening him, what’s even worse is that he’s my best friend. His face suddenly changes, so that it seems about to tear.
His expression turns into a grimace, gritting his teeth terrified. Davide knows fear. After all the stupid things we did together. After the joints came ecstasy, then coke.
Being in dangerous situations ranging from petty thefts, drug dealing and dangerously cruising with mopeds. An escalation of increasingly worsening challenges, to tell the world that not even “fear” will stop us.
But the years passed changing the state of mind that starts to understand things more maturely. Shame that this happened only for Davide. I continued to not want to understand. But I could not accept to continue my journey to hell alone.
Then moments of endless and freezing silence, occurred. Davide tries to say something but words choke in his throat.
Then, my hands slowly loosen the grip on the collar, while the embarrassment, squeezes and tangles me. I murmured some confused words, placing my hands filled with shame, back in my pockets. Davide is pale and intimidated.
I try to compose myself, to take on a semblance of dignity, but the more I try the more I feel dirty. My movements become clumsy and awkward. While gambling a remedial hug, Davide dodges me full of disgust.
We stand there staring dazed for a few seconds. Then our eyes lower, Davide’s skin color returns normal. “Do not apologize, just do one thing for me, when you go home look into the mirror, but not to feel cool as you usually do.
Do it so that you can see how foul you’ve become and will increasingly become.
In fact, do it to see the presumptuous kid you still are … Bye”

Marta is sitting comfortably on her chair, in a studio apartment that smellslike a mixture of moss and cat food. She holds in her hands her new school diary;
she has just begun her first year of middle school. Her mom went out tonight, like every night, she went to dance with her slightly odd friend, while her dad is at work.
Marta sits there smiling at her new sequel of a book called “little women”, bought that afternoon with her savings of the month.
She lives between the pages of that book, almost bigger than her, traveling, exploring, and falling in love. Just like the protagonist of her book.
Her belly begins to rumble, she opens the fridge exhuming a mozzarella that has survived from a period of famine. Her park friends ring at the doorbell, but Marta doesn’t want to play.
She likes to stay there, in her perfect world, made of paper, ink and fantasy.
The years pass by, Marta grows and with her does her desire to learn. She shares this with her best friends, passing unforgettable days with them.
One day, shortly after her eleventh birthday, she receives unexpected news. Mom and Dad have broken up. Mom met another man; she decided to move to Milan. And Marta has to go with her.
Milan is a city rich in culture, lively, always on the move. People “run” with Milan, always perfect, always “IN.” But those whose cases are perfect, easily judge those out of their canons, excluding them, for fear that tolerance is seen as a sign of weakness.
Marta came from a small town near Trento, lost in the mountains. Usually dressed in clothes of second / third hand, living with her mother who suffers from depression and can barely support herself.
She feels the weight of prejudice and marginalization with such an intensity that almost takes her breath away, and makes life impossible, convincing her of the idea of being completely wrong.
There’s no one who opens her eyes, no one who makes her realize that society is the wrong one. Only her books accompany her, giving her moments of freedom and hope.
But when one grows up, things change. That fairy world is slowly dodged byrealism, from the obligation to compare with the real world, that Marta cannot stand. The problem is her being fat and ugly, she will always remain alone.
Maybe if she becomes thin as the models on TV she would manage to not to feel wrong and alone. She doesn’t eat anymore and falls into anorexia.
Maybe with joints and beers she can succeed in silencing those voices, that like knives stab her in the chest making them become hums just for a few hours.
She starts her first year of high school, so does her transgression as punk with her first piercing in the face. If someone dared to say anything against her she would be violent.
She was unrecognizable, another Marta. But at home no one would notice, let alone her mom. She had no time to notice.
Only with her books she could still be herself, to travel in her world and in her dreams. Then, like any teenager, love comes to upset her life.
Luca is not beautiful, but it is an alternative punk with a strong character and the girls are attracted to him, he certainly isn’t unnoticed. There are rumors of him, saying he smokes heroin.
One gray and stale Sunday afternoon, like many others, Marta is with her friends in one of the occupied houses of the industrial zone, she sees Luca with two other friends locked in a secluded room of the abandoned house.
Marta asks if she can follow them, as if nothing had happened. She already knew what she would find.
She’s there, in the middle of the circle, her fear is immense. She studies the movements of the others, and when the tin foil comes, her heart beats intensely.
She repeats the procedure pretending to be an expert; she then feels the smoke entering into her lungs. Immediately after a feeling of peace that pervades the entire body, Luca looks at her in disbelief, she returns his gaze.
She feels important, without limits. But she doesn’t know that that gaze will pay her with her own life.
Once you’re in it you don’t even realize how heroin binds you to her as a steel chain, covered with silk. You cannot live without it.
There’s no more weight of other’s judgment, let alone the need to be looked at and to have other’s attentions that are never enough. With no interests and passions. No more books. Just you and “her”.
She didn’t even care about Luca anymore; she entered a new world where her only thought is how to get money for another dose of heroin. Gradually she loses her last friends that remained, along with her interest in studying.
She finds herself alone. And only then did she realizes her biggest nightmare had become reality.
One day as many others, surrendered to her empty life, in her own mourning she meets an old friend of when she was little. As they talk she learns his story, a difficult story that she doesn’t imagine how similar it is to her own.
The difference is that her friend is now fine; his smile conveys calmness and serenity. Marta has a feeling of envy, but at the same time a sense of hope comes back to her. Maybe someone has sent him to her; perhaps fate wanted their encounter.
That very hope has a name: Sanpa.
You can hear the clicking on a keyboard, two bright eyes behind the screen of a computer carefully reading the words that slowly appear.
She has a sweet and serene smile, two bright eyes that have a world inside, made of fantasy, just waiting to be discovered.
It’s been 3 years now, in her arms there’s still the sign of pain. Whenever Marta looks at those arms her mind returns to the past.
She picks up her book of “Little Women”, browsing the first pages she continues to dream …
She is there, immersed in the pages of the book. Traveling, exploring, falling in love. Just like when she was a child … With only a difference.
Every time she looks at those arms she finds strength in her memory to fight because she’s happy now, she no longer wants to lose her desire to dream.