Balon

Rather than my mother, close to my father I would have imagined a more submissive woman; close to her, a man better at listening; from my point of view, I wished they both were something they couldn’t be. I still had to understand that life catches us and randomly rearranges us, like drops in the soap, without caring for human relationships that much. I wasn’t good at getting this sort of things: I was afraid of everything, from the changes of mood to the lightening in the sky; I was a nervous child, with an uncombed tuft and sweaty hands. I saw barriers everywhere, and they got taller as I grew up.

My mother unconsciously gave me the spark to solve my problems. One morning, seemingly at the end of February, I might have been eighteen, she was listening Mina’s A thousand blue bubbles at the radio. She was sitting in the kitchen, with one foot moving in time with the music, slipping out of the slipper. “I love soap bubbles- she said as she heard me - inside them there’s the world. They exist for a moment, reflecting as much as they can. They’re so delicate, and yet we let children to play with them”. “Well, besides that, they don’t help much: It’s not like they stop bombs”. “They might not stop bombs; but bubbles can fly over walls”. She stroke me: I realized that the only way to demolish the walls in my head was to hurl away soap bubbles.

It may have been the eighteens’ tenacity, but I got my high school diploma and I joined the first passing circus; dad gave me a pocket-knife, mom gave me a kiss on the forehead. They held hands while I moved away on the caravan with the old clown who brought me along, Gaggio Rosso, and his son Dritto. I travelled through the world with the circus. I fed the elephants and patched suits for the jugglers. I saw the mountains and the ocean. I truly shattered the walls inside my head learning to make soap bubbles. When eventually the company split up, there were lonely journeys on my own, the street shows, the others fixing themselves somewhere, that melancholy always carried by circus people, everything hidden behind my new name, Wallie Emerald, and the clown smile… Among fifty years of street and hunger, my memories converge in one scene: the globe of soap detaching from the strings, staggering for a while up to the child’s little taut net, a child waiting to grab that bubble and every bubble in the world, jumping here and there while his mother takes some pictures. At least in one of them they should be together, bubble and child, a moment before she disappeared and he grew up. 

I began to think over my old walls a lot for the world has now raised new barriers. And is near one of this walls that I finally get off from the van and meet Dritto. Nearly fifteen years ago he set out to Turkey with a caravan of belly dancers and fire-eaters, I don’t know what happened next. We ended up similar: our shoulders are stooped, on the back the scapulae show through, the eyes are grey; two brothers who got old following a similar method. We are the only ones who know the language we use to greet each other. “All this km in midwinter, balengo. Why?”. In the middle of the slum we find ourselves blending soaps, two crazy alchemists, distilling glycerol and sugar, amassing strings and straws. “When people do not understand, pradelìn, they build walls: and we hurl soap bubbles against them”. 

Back to Balon