Two boys and two hand luggage

There were them and there was the world, well tied by an invisible string connecting them. Indissolubly. Two boys and two hand luggage.

Inside their little baggage every empty space among their creased clothes was filled with new memories, new words, new places.

Travelling was like methadone for them, capable of reducing the distress of remaining in the same place.

It was about five years earlier. Giulio hurried to get his camera, bewitched by what stood out before his eyes. The fountain of amber had captured his lens’s attention: it dovetailed in gold the story of Leto, Apollon and Diana’s mother. Majestic Hera. The engraved characters, laid over three marbled basis, intertwined harmoniously through the water spurts and gushes, creating a magnificent scene, one of those capable of breaking the breath with the sumptuousness of their forms.

The same thing did Tom, wishful to test his new Polaroid.

They exchanged conspiratorial looks and laughed. After a couple of Malboro and some pics, they found out that photographs were an essential part of their lives: through photos they awake to the journey, it was a way to remember every single detail, like that marvelous light dying everything with a reddish glaze throughout the Aeolian crossing, that wonderful sunset in Santorini admired from the little fortress of Londsa, or the Fairy Pools in Skye island.

They swap polaroids, looking at the world with the eyes of the other. Giulio showed pics from Thailand; Tom was so enthusiastic while telling stories from his quiet walk through the Black Forest.

- It would be nice to see them all again within fifty years- said Giulio.

Then Tom took the camera and, getting closer to his new friend, headed it towards their faces.

- I definitely want to see this one again- commented while the picture impressed the film.

Since then, every single picture portrayed them together.

Occasionally they carved out time to look them: each photograph told a different story and they were the only people who knew them. Memory would get started and recall that holiday in detail; it was like experiencing the journey again, a million times. Then, something apparently worthless like a 10x15 cm cardboard became a masterpiece to carefully protect.

A simple camera would work as a time machine.

They wanted everything to impress that film. From their wrinkles while smiling, to the Adriatic waves’ pleating over Croatia’s seaside: every scar and sign of past experiences had to survive.

For memory is so fragile and slowly, willing or not, it softens those reminiscences you’d like to lively relive forever. They couldn’t trust her, they needed something more durable.

They didn’t want to end up empty-handed in front of their grandchildren, with vague and detached stories. And, sitting on close armchairs, the children’s auditorium listening to them, they now indicated- still together- the blurred 10x15cm cardboard preserved inside that dusty photo album, on the living room’s shelf.