Insignificant episodes of applied hermeneutics

Bridge Solferino and the far away railway, the nostalgic attitude of the sun and the Cittadella’s abandoned profile: every single element of the sunset contributed to give the insalubrious river Arno an almost amusing look. The sunset is always a dear moment to the most romantic tourists who, curled up on the river banks, drink beer and whisper to each other words that fit the situation.

Elena walked fast among the dreamers, not paying attention as that is route she takes every day. Trust me when I tell you that, later on, immersed in the ankle-deep water and with the northwest wind blowing in her clothes, she would regret not having enjoyed some more time of that elusive beauty.

Well, I know because she told me. Yesterday, probably trusting me more than ever, Elena told me about it, she told me about that afternoon. Other towers, other campaniles, other cities were moving inside her.

Although artificial in places, she used to find that beautiful panorama luscious; especially because it was to her synonym of a predictable routine. She rather repeated a more personal rosary: “Helen, thy beauty is to me”. Yes, that was what she used to live for: an old memory of when that verse escaped those yet inexperienced lips. It happened only once but it had been enough for her. She had understood.

Every time she crossed that bridge she felt a vertigo that she used to interpret as dissatisfaction about her life, about the way she had lived during the past few years. This is when Elena became serious, almost threatening. What has the boredom of marriage, of children, of chasing the alternation of identical seasons to do with this? What has the feeling that every summer is always hotter, every winter colder, every autumn more windy and every spring sadder than the previous one to do with this? Oh come on, I am too old for these tantrums.

I could now no longer blame the ‘mush of liquid consonants’ as it was not my speech jam to obstruct our conversation. She was delirious and her words dissolved in her month as a tablet in a glass of water.

She needed to dedicate her existence to a definitive and revealing experience. One second would have been enough: she needed the bridge to stop linking two areas of the same city. She needed her life to be brought back together. She needed back the days she had wasted so she could better live them.

She tried to tell me about it several times. However, I can swear that the only time I asked her the only possible question, the one we all want an answer to, she started muttering.

After a few days, immersed in the ankle-deep water, with the wind blowing in the polyester and viscose folds, Elena looked down, over the railing, at the green and reeking Arno which flowed towards the river mouth. There was and there is no panta rei to meditate about, no mirror to reflect her real image, but there was only her real need of finding an escape route. But, believe me when I tell you that she had never contemplated to jump off the bridge.