Bordering Regions

My daughter’s eyes stare at me interrogative, querying whether all of this is necessary. They have neither the silence of a demure prayer, nor the noise of a complaint. Misa is no longer a pliant little girl, nor yet a defiant teenager. Now, on the point of catching the train to Santa Maria Novella, she suddenly turns, as if we were still on time to turn back. Her look is raising a question and guilt transmutes the question into a retrospective analysis. The way she observes and captivates attention, a gesture both innate and carefully planned, terribly reminds me of Lidia. All of a sudden, this image takes me back to high school afternoons. I now realize that the roots of my divorce from Elena can be traced to that time.

Isn’t it a damnation that my daughter’s eyes, the most free and pure creature in the world, don’t remind me of my wife and our projects, but evoke another woman and our utopias?

I decided to get married almost without realizing. Elena was ready to sacrifice her life to rush after a doctor’s absurd agenda. She was not in love with me, she was, and is even now, taken with my mask, the one of a mature man, with the head screwed on and an enviable job.

Lidia would have laughed at my self-confidence and would have made me feel ashamed of living such a quiet life.

Those eyes take me back to that distant afternoon in 1997, when I was studying for the last math test. I was preparing high school final exam, that absurd divine judgement, without considering how significant was the path I had travelled up to that time, compared to the relevance of that total yet vague learning. Subsonica’s album was released on that day. I imagine Lidia waiting for me at school, trusting my delay is due to the cd’s purchase; I picture her attitudes and smiles, then her cold eyes before me and within a few seconds we separate for life, tearing the shreds of our ruffled relationship. I was naive and this was enough to nullify my graduation with honours.

If I had to ascribe her a feature without being trivial, it would be intensity: she talked to strangers with the same familiarity she addressed to her most beloved people, she carefully chose words as though she was weaving canvas. This sort of Penelope of human connections untied every night the intricate work of our days, to braid new plots, rid from the weight of expectations. I have always thought we were more than friends, but at the same time I didn’t want to deal with her complications. I wasn’t ready for a hard love. I didn’t know how to take care of all those little details she highly valued. Yet I know that behind her aplomb she would have done anything to gain my consideration.

But I’m always in a hurry.

I meet Elena at a party, she’s about to graduate in Literature. I quickly realize how easy is to walk by her side, just because she always stands aside.

We get married, then you come into the world Misia. You are named after an ancient region of northern Asia, bordering Lidia… but this is another story.