The Hunt

There was a silence like never before on that day. She was not a child anymore, but she didn’t stop playing in that countryside painted with warm colours. “Children’s games turn us into adults”, her grandfather told her again and again, clearing his throat to mask the sweetness that didn’t come naturally to him. It wasn’t an ordinary field of wheat: yesterday it could have been the film set of adventure film with elephants and tigers, today the battlefield of the bloodiest battle in recorded history and tomorrow, the refuge of an infamous outlaw. Every trip there was a discovery. Growing up, she became acquainted with new feelings. First she was a simple good girl, then an unremarkable employee, forgetting that she was a daughter of the Earth. A boat can be taken away from the water, loaded onto a truck, driven to the mountains and left there to rot. At the first rising of the river waters however, the boat will be dragged away and reminded that it is actually a boat. She was more or less like that.

Who knows what happened to those poor proud people, that global conflict andd that dangerous criminal. It didn’t really matter to her now. It was when the house of cards fell down, after she got fired, that she decided to take some time off for herself. “To go forwards you have to go backwards”, he told her on several occasions, clearing his throat as usual. When she returned home, her career prospects were darker than the night. She looked at her photo with the crabby yet protective old Sicilian man. She remembered that saying and quickly abandoned the cement monster where she existed as an adult and left for that wheat field which she hoped would turn her into a child again. As soon as she opened the door of the farm shed, a myriad of thoughts ran through her mind as her eyes fell on various objects: toys, furniture and signs on the walls that narrated her tale, on that hot summer morning, one of those mornings that she would have unthinkingly spent in the sunshine many years ago. 

"Ogni lassata è pessa"[1], her throat-clearing grandfather often told her, coughing as usual to hide the tenderness which only his youngest grandchild was privy to. “Chidda cu l’occhi vispi”[2], as he used to say. She decided to go out for a walk near the shed after having found a parasol to shade her overly pale skin. She walked around, trying to savour the moment that could perhaps help her forget, if for a short while, what she had left behind and what escaping from in the city. Strolling across the yellow shades of the countryside, she felt an urge to escape from her own mind. Lost in thought, she tripped and fell over in a puddle of mud and dropped her parasol. She looked at her hands and then found the parasol, hidden amng the stalks of wheat that swayed with every sigh of the wind as if it were alive. She smiled and understood that now was the moment. She drew a moustache on her face, roared and lay low on the earth hidden by the grass, just as a tiger would.     

There was a silence like never before on that day. She was not a child anymore, but a ferocious predator, hungry for something new that would remind her of the familiar. The hunt had just begun: the animal sprinted towards the future, leaving the past behind but remaining steady on her paws, with her roots in that very same mud.  

 

 

[1] Sicilian expression for: “Everything you leave, is lost”,

[2] “The one with beady eyes”


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