Abuela's handkerchief

 

I am walking, wandering around the streets of a lifetime, but with some more evident flaws. Everything is the same as six years ago, the air is as flat as in past years, when I waited for that previous life which will never come back. During all this time, three times a month, I walked through these streets; I know by heart every tiny detail of the ‘new disposition’ of the city.

The street is half empty, stray dogs guard the abandoned houses; you can only hear the noise of the working scrapers and cranes. The path from the Cathedral to my house is studded with particulars; turning the corner there is the glimpse of a bathroom; you can see bathroom fixtures, the shower and the basin; going further there is an old cellar and from the crumbled wall you can spot a copy of Wonderful Life by Gould and Terra! by Benni - the books haven’t been stolen.

At the beginning it was difficult to walk between those ruins without my heart sighing; after a couple of years I think I’m almost used to it. The thing that still strikes me is passing the news-stand in Via Vetusti and to see those few abandoned newspapers there, covered in dust.  They bring me back to that day almost like saying ‘Remember’. Despite that I never lose hope that the city will rise again.

Very clearly in my mind I have a feeling of that night, one I’ve only known a few times in my life, like I’m on a boat, with that incessant swinging, the nausea. And then suddenly everything stops. From that moment on it has just been a succession of events which changed our lives.

I think that I have felt tormented too many times, lingered to imagine my old habits, then I told to myself that it wasn’t worth it. In those moments I remembered my grandmother’s words, she was from Argentina and she always used to say, ‘Todo cambia’, everything changes, and I felt strong again to go on. In the end it was nature who provoked all this, it proved its strength, and nobody could fight it. It also made us think about the brutality of the human nature, but this is another story.

It was 3.32. I will never forget that night.

The truth is I’m still alive, I come back to my house today with my family and celebrate my 86th birthday of pure life on my skin.