After 15 weeks it’s not yet known if the baby will be a girl or a boy, but I know she’s a girl.
I know everything. I do.
Milan, the second half of the’80: I know everything, always and anyway. When I don’t know, I make it up and people believe me, or pretend to in order to avoid a debate with an arrogant perfectionist.
My arrogance and self-conceit are, obviously, unjustified. I haven’t achieved any goals yet in my life, actually I missed a couple and I’m on my way to miss the third, the Bachelor in Engineering.
The friends around me try to talk to me, just like my high-school ones did years before. At high-school they asked me why I always kept a distance and I was asocial (right, Franca?), while at the U they ask me (Michele, Guido, how many hours of study did you waste trying to talk to me?) why I just don’t behave a bit, instead of throwing into the gutter all the hard work it took to reach where I am, with the prospect of a brilliant career as Engineer-to-be getting my degree one year earlier than the standard.
Point is that now I come to Milan every morning, I plunge in the energy the city exudes and I feel alive. No need to study or pass any exams. I broke the shell I allowed to grow and surround me to get protection from a…difficult family life and I won’t allow anybody to build another shell and push me in.
Above all because I saw her at the campus, and I know she’s the right one.
I know everything. I do.
I fly with her, breathe with her, I enjoy the bitter cold walking from the subway station to the campus in the early winter, chewing Fisherman’s Friends Extra-Strong lozenges and Borocillina medications pretending I’m not sick so I can see her. Too bad she does not even talk to me, but in any case I’m so much better than anyone else and she will surely notice it.
Tuesday, Room I101, Rational Mechanics class. She asks me if I have a pen. I’ve got everything, I do.
Gasping for air I hand her my steel Parker; with the next breath we had been together since ever, will last forever, the world does not exist anymore and every other human being it’s just a hurdle interposed between our bodies and our minds.
The missing ingredient has been found and my ego can now transform in a superego out of a psychiatric text-book: my life switches into fast-forward, I burn every bridge around me, if you aren’t with me you’re against me. I live at full throttle without looking around or back: I, myself and only me, forward and fast, nothing makes me slow down to see the reality, forget stopping to think. A vortex of destructive energy that runs over everything starts building around me but I don’t realize it.
“So, doctor, is it my fault?” “No, obviously not, the malformation is clearly caused by the medication that your girlfriend has been taking since a few months. However, let me ask you, are you telling me that you don’t know that contraceptives are used also to avoid these threats?”
Sure, I know. I know everything, I do.
But nothing should have happened to me because I always have everything under control.
I lied to her, only once. But I’m not the only one that pays the price for my lie: she now has to re-build her life from scratch and our daughter will never be born.
I returned into my shell, a shell without corners so my faults could hide and would slap me in the face every time I moved.
I never lied anymore. For many years, not even white lies, causing a lot of resentment in people around me that did not understand my black-and-white behavior and judged me as insensitive at least but usually simply cruel. I was just living projecting outside the daily punishment that I imposed onto myself: life sentence.
I don’t know anything anymore, I don’t. And it’s perfectly fine this way.
I don’t know what would have happened if things went differently, and I also don’t care. I’ve been delaying my reckoning with this event for 26 years and yesterday two different people, in different moments and locations, showed me that the time has come.
Thanks Chiara, thanks Silvia: you made me a gift forcing me to open a door that I pretended wasn’t there.