mercoledì, gennaio 06, 2010

1985, a night in the fall...

...... on a train from London to the continent
The compartment door was shut noisily. I opened my eyes and saw him. He whispered “Sorry”, surprisingly with a gentle smile. I replied coldly only nodding, then I turned my back on him and started looking through the window. Only darkness outside.
I had been nervous since before the train left the station and didn’t want to talk to anyone. Certainly not to him.
Handsome? Even too attractive for my measured taste, with a light suspicion of affectation in his appearance: dyed blond hair, long, polished hands and a good imitation of an Italian style suit.
On the contrary there was no artificiality in his friendly, direct smile.
Paolo had never smiled at me that way. Even when we had met in high school.
Now he smiled with dignity and satisfaction as clever, successful young men are expected to do.
It didn’t matter until I believed I loved him. But did I still love him?
So why, when I had left for England, had I thought of that holiday with uneasiness as “my last summer of freedom”?
I should have been in seventh heaven. I was going to take my degree and get married. That was the future I had dreamt of for such a long time.
Why did I begin thinking it could be perfect, not happy?
Steve helped me to understand.
Finally we began talking. I was fed up with all my doubts and my Walkman didn’t work at all. But music was not for him a mere ruse to start a conversation with an unknown girl.
He played the guitar in a rock band still searching for success and explained his projects and dreams with an infectious enthusiasm.
He came from a working class family and I could guess he had not had an easy life, but seemed not to feel regrets nor complain. He was speaking of himself so naturally and frankly that I was slowly driven to give up my usual, formal, controlled attitude.
I answered his questions without fear or shyness, for the first time talking of my privileged life with detachment, even irony and while talking I discovered I was looking at it as a luxurious, glittering box with nothing inside.
A cage in which I had been living safely believing to be happy.
But I didn’t feel sad or angry or deceived. Only relieved and thankful.
I don’t know how much time we spent together, but I can’t forget the feeling between us.
We didn’t realize that time had passed until the train stopped.
Suddenly we were silent and shy. The train for Geneva was leaving in a few minutes and he had to join the band in Munich.
The last things I remember are a brief, soft touch of his lips and a pair of dark grey eyes looking at mine through the window.
We’ve never met again.
However my life is different from how it should have been.
I didn’t marry Paolo.
It was not easy to tell him and he didn’t understand nor forgive.
I’m alone, but not lonely.
I work hard and enjoy my job.
I’ve some new friends.
Above all I’m no longer scared of the future.
Simply I live and hope.
Somebody is coming.