Between the Black and the Sea
Picturing a colourless world is not easy: the only alternative is to choose how to shape and bend the contours of things. Black, white, grey. Boundaries become ephemeral, especially on his face and in his hair.
Now he is before me, enjoying his ice-cream and I am left outside of his picture, as always.
It must have been March. The world was progressively regaining its colours - both warm and cool, all still there - especially during those days when the sun shone strong and the wind blew soft, both sweeping any clouds away. The smell of fresh grass revived in the shade of olive trees and the first sparkling pink magnolia and peach flowers blossomed.
- Dad, would you take me out for a stroll? -.
With my elbows on the windowsill, I was smoking a cigarette and I was observing how rapidly and steadily nature evolves. It is impossible to stop its changes, I could only accept and follow them, facing them as best as I could. It was sunny and going out with Him was the only way to enjoy the spring.
I smiled at him, put out my cigarette in the crystal ashtray, washed my hands thoroughly and bended towards his impatient face: his eyes blue and his hair like tired sun rays on his forehead.
-Sure, buddy, let’s go to play in the park, do you fancy it?-. He smiled at me with his white teeth and I was happy, incredibly happy.
There were lots of people in the park and, just like in an oil painting, this was an explosion of colours with its blossoming flowers, its shining grass, people’s colourful T-shirts, their showy rollerblades and their multi-coloured picnic tablecoths.
-Why don’t you go to play with the other kids?- I asked him. He did not hesitate, he waved at me and joined his “friends” who were jumping from the swing to the slide. I sat down on a bench, I lit my cigarette and, opening my arms, I let my head fall back. My skin prickled in the sun and the soft noises in the background reminded me of the shy sound of the sea. Fantastic.
Just a moment. I heard shouting, someone calling my name, chaos and strangers surrounding Him. I ran, I burnt my hand with my cigarette, I ran so fast... He was there, next to the swing with blood running down his nose. I kept him close to me and I shouted for someone to call an ambulance. In the meantime, I held him tight, I called his name and I told him “it’s a game, just a game, buddy”. Trying to calm him down, I told him that Dad was there and it was going to be over soon, that He did not have to worry.
But he gave me a weak smile. -I won’t worry, dad, if you tell me that you will take me to the sea-.
-I promise, buddy- I was crying. And He smiled again, defenceless.
The sea is under us. The terrace is dominating the cliff, like a queen. The shy noise of the tide on the rocks echos like a sweet monotonous tune. A man and some boys take some pictures, but it is all black and white now. Does he not see it?
No colorous around, but I don’t tell them. I also avoid telling Him that it is all black and white. He is still smiling and eating his ice-cream. Just a few minutes ago, He thanked me with a smile and He said that I was the best Dad in the whole world. Yet the best dad in the whole world is out now.
Exiled from that black and white postcard. Well, Dad had known it since that accident that, once the summer was over, he would be left alone in his house. The doctor had told him. No smiles, not a single of His smiles. Left in an infinite world of grey shades, he was stuck between the black and the sea.