L’Aquila non fare la stupida stasera

I am back home. Home? Perhaps not the best term. Let me try again. I am back in the place that has always felt familiar to me. As soon as I put down my luggage, I rush to grab the keys for the attic and climb up the 5 flights of stairs to open the door that seems to be an incessant home to a thousand old and flowing spiderwebs.

The only light inside comes from a hole in the ceiling, that too invaded by nests of some sort of insect I lovingly christened Lumos. I head for the most obscure corner of the attic, where I reach out my hand, praying not to be bitten by anything poisonous, and grab the heavy cardboard box and drag it under Lumos.

Just the smell of the accumulated dust makes me nostalgic to the point of anguish, but I dive into the box, which hosts a collection of all the argentic photos that date back to when my parents were my age. I can hold back the tears, and imagine the exact moment my father’s Pentax clicked that moment into place. My mother’s timid laugh, and her voice scolding my father for not having warned her, and my father’s smile. And my mother’s smile.

All of a sudden they are in Venice, and a laughing toddler is in my mother’s toned arms, and in another click, it seems to be just another day at the beach. The toddler seems to have grown a meter, and is now being fed an ice cream, and there is a new little girl in the picture, who seems to look cautiously at the focus lens.

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And in the next click I am back in the attic, misty-eyed, wet cheeks, and a curious Lumos hovering over my head. I think of how blessed and cursed I have been to have globetrotting parents, how blessed and cursed I have been to have acquired that trait. The natural light has become too weak for me to continue, and the box is too heavy for me to even consider taking it down with me. I thank Lumos for guarding the light, and leave the box opened and still to be revisited.

 Life is too short and forgetting is too long.

 

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~ par gitane sur 18 août 2012.

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