As I child I used to rummage in my grandmother's drawers. I liked the smell of lavender of the bedding and anything I found underneath. As she knew I was as curious as a cat, sometimes she would leave something there; a bracelet with light blue stones, a white handkerchief with an enhanced red and scarlet initial of my name, a thousand lire (*), some milk sweets or mints. It was a usual and unforeseen appointment; sometimes there was a treasure, other times just the smell. For me, that would suffice. As I grew up, my visits became less frequent and were always brief and I stopped rummaging. Not only in her drawers, I grew up and I started to focus on other things; the school teachers who had to admit my intelligence, an education to which I wouldn't commit, the unforgettable evenings with my friends, the trendy clothes in which I couldn't identify myself ('but they are trendy, how can't you wear them?'), the eternal love stories that only lasted a couple of months. I focused so much on these things that at some point I got lost. Literally lost. I wandered without knowing where I was going, until I stopped being interested. And what for? In the end, I repeated to myself, I was only worth a dime. Lacking in any talent, lacking in any passion, even if I had chosen a path I wouldn't have stuck with it. I let things slip by me, things would pass through me without leaving a trace, without scratching me, without moving anything inside or out. On a sultry day in August, my grandmother passed away.
I went back to her fresh house, even in the summer heat, exactly as I remembered it; and while everybody else messed about in the kitchen, doing who knows what, I took the stairs and I went back to her room: everything was perfectly in order, just as I left it, even the smell was the same. I sat down on her bed and I had a look around; it was such a surreal atmosphere, a kind of freeze-frame from a time in which, I remembered just in that moment, everything made sense. And I disclosed the child I was and as a child I opened that drawer again. The smell of lavender of the bedding would have been enough for me. Instead, surprisingly, slipping my hand underneath the sheets I felt something; it was a beautiful white shell, with a linear shape, it had a smooth surface that still felt like sea, inside, screwed into a ball, a handwritten note, in unsteady handwriting: “If in a shell you can find the sea, imagine what your heart can hide. Love, granny” And between the tears and the smell of lavender, I smiled; I found myself again.
(*) 'Lire' is the old Italian currency. A thousand lire is like saying one dollar/pound.