Crushes

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

Crushes

There I was at last. University a new start a new beginning. I had finished that technical school, a school I loathed, I was forced to do it. I would have preferred a lyceum,a classic one, humanistic subjects, but my father told me , it is better for you to do an account fiscal school, just in case you would carry on my work, anyway , in any case you can do any kind of university you like once you are done high school.

At the technical school not everything was bad, of course, I disdained technical subjects, but I was the best in Italian literature, both oral and written, of course in a Realm of blind people the one who can see with only one eye is a King. I was the only one who used to read novels.

But I found out a new subject, that gave me great satisfaction, law. It was an easy subject for me to study and I had great pleasure in studying it. I looked forward to enrolling at Law University,of course I was the only one , of my former class , who attended university, all the other ones wanted and were looking for a job, that’s why they did a technical school, university was a waste of time, for them

Now I was leaning to the balustrade, looking down in the internal yard, where students were arriving and they were milling about, every one of them eager to start and I was one of them. Of course things were more difficult compared to the law I had studied at school, but I was very confident, I was always among the first ones to arrive at the faculty. My usual spot, was near the Aula Magna leaning to the balustrade observing boys and girls, I  have never been a social person, and surely I wasn’t a talkative boy, I chit chatted from time to time with someone but without becoming close with anyone, at school I didn’t know all  my class mates, I was close only with nine of them, of all the other I hardly knew their names.

I used to daydream a lot and have a lot of crushes. At the university there was a girl, she was special at my eyes, her hair were long and honey, blue eyes a few freckles. She used to wear a Sherlock Holmes coats, it was a fad in those days. It goes without saying I got a crush on her. What did I do in order to know her? Nothing of course, she was out of my reach. She was always speaking with someone. Sometimes I heard her speaking she was likeable and with a good sense of humour. I couldn’t go other the wall, I could study law, but socialising was still a forbidden fruit. I settled for looking at her at safe distance.

Also when I was a kid I have never had many friends, one of the reason was because I used to live out of the village, so I couldn’t, after having done homework get down to the yard and play with other children, but I attended kindergarten where there were a lot of children.

 I had got a vivid memory of how I made my first friend, but probably is a memory that my mind made up later, I was at the centre of the room, all the children were running, in my mind it is as though all these kids where running around me, whirling around me. I watched them and they turned in a kind of fog; at one point one of them came towards me and asked, “do you want to be a friend of mine?” with his outstretched hand, I hesitated a couple of seconds, but it was a now or never moment, we shook hands, his name was Mauro. Of course, I know it can't have been gone this way. The fog, the kid coming toward him with his outstretched hand, our hand shaken. Surely you don't shake hands when you are three years old, namely I didn’t know Mauro in this way, but we became friends , and not only friends but “best friends” we used to be really close, and we for some form of fluke,  used to live not far away from to each other. But then We moved from Busalla to Sarissola, we were, in the low secondary school, in different classes, slowly our closeness faded away. Now if we encounter, no one of us give even a head nod.

But my first love was Silvia. In elementary school. Jet-black hair, long to the shoulder, dark brown and sharp eyes.

As soon as I saw her I was mesmerized. He thought, then it is true “the one” does exist, because I was dead sure, she was the one for me.

We were in their first day in elementary school, then the challenge began, how to attract her attention? I hadn’t the faintest idea. Although I should have had some experience because I had a love story at the kindergarten. Of course, at the kindergarten things used to be easier, there were not desk, you didn’t have to pay attention to the teacher, there wasn't any chalk-board, you were not supposed to be concentrated on your notebooks. In the kindergarten there was only a big room where children used to play, so you could run, hit with your shoulder the girl, usually the girl fell flat on the floor, and you with all your concern you could muster, no, no, no, sorry, sorry, I ‘am so sorry I missed to see you, are you all right? Does it hurt you somewhere, no? Really, no? Wow I’m so relieved, by the way, would you like to play a little with me?  We could play at the King and the Queen, I will be the King and you can be my Queen. In the room where kids would play, there were not chairs, but all along the walls there were some kind of benches. Sometimes we arranged them in order to build a little fort, other times they were a ship, but that day I was the King and I had my Queen, so with the benches we built a castle.  I ordained some Knights and they started to play all along. The day after, of course I entered kindergarten eager to play at King and Queen, but my knights had other ideas, they no longer wanted to be my knights, they betrayed me, I was  alone, even without a horse, end of the play, end of the love between King Massimo and Queen Francesca .

Coming back to Silvia, bad luck I was in the second seat she was in the last one, and just behind my back, so I couldn’t, from time to time,  give a brief glance at her. How could I introduce myself to her? Go straight saying, hi how are you going? My name is Massimo, and.... your is...? No, no way, if I would be too hasty and if she didn't like me all my possibilities would have crashed, it would be wiser , I thought, not to put all my tolls on the table. There must be a way to approach her without her noticing , what ? Without her noticing? No there's something wrong in this reasoning, if she doesn't notice me, how was I supposed to get  to know her? Maybe if I were the number one to spell the entire alphabet, A ape, B bee, C cow...  D... D...? I wasn't, and then ? I was sure she didn’t like intellectual kids. At least I hoped it. I spent two years searching a way to impress her, I didn't find one worth of it. In my third year the wheel turned and I had a fluke, I was in the last desk and my desk-mate was Silvia. Yeah. Calm down now , now it is  time to go very slowly, because if she realizes I am so interested in her, and if she realizes I want her as my soul mate, surely she will begin to play  at cat and mice, I know because I know women. So I had to give myself away little by little. For four months I didn't speak to her, I had always been a careful kid. Then I started to salute her in the morning and when we left school, in spring I started to exchange a few sentences, in June the school was over. Ok, nothing to worry about, next year I will continue my strategy. But what I had forgotten, was that my family  was about to move from Busalla to another little village , Sarissola. Ochs.

In 1972 we moved from Busalla to Sarissola, the main hamlet of Busalla, and I had to change school and above all I couldn’t see my loved Silvia. My first three year were gone that bad, although the school was run by nuns, very famous for their sternness, especially nun Maurilia, my elder brother used to say to me unbelievable punishment. I feel safe for the first two years, because nun Maurilia would teach in the third grade, and when the time came to be taught by her I discovered she wasn’t as terrible as my brother told me. But she caused a big shock, everybody knows nuns wear veils on their heads, once nun Maurilia take off her veil in order to adjust her hairs, hairs? I was flabbergasted because I thought nuns were bald.

Although my years in Busalla school hadn’t been that bad, I have my love to pursue, I knew almost all my school mates, because most of them attended the kindergarten together with me, so I felt at ease, probably a bit too much. I was always thinking about Silvia, but from time to time I used to chit-chat with my school mates, that’s was very important for me, because I had always had few friends and I was really shy,  and maybe I didn’t pay much attention  to the teaching I assume.

My first months in Sarissola school had been tragic. I didn’t know anyone, instead them were all at their ease, because they had attended the same school for the previous three years , but not me. My parents knew about my difficulty to get friends, my father had a roastery and an employee of his had an a brother of the same age as me she told him to introduce me to my new school mates.

The class-desk were arranged in a strange way, usually they are place one behind the other one , and in the class room there were three or four row, but here in my new class there were desks placed like a u so you had two desk mate, one on your right the other one on your left and in the middle of the room there was only one row desk . On my right I had a kid called Giannetto  which I became very close with, can’t remember the kid on my left. Of course, Sergio the kid who was supposed to introduce me to the class was of no avail, but he would invite me to his home and we enjoyed our time together, He was very fond of toy soldiers, who wasn’t at ours age?  He taught me to play with them in a very funny way.

In these period one thing happened , that affected my life since then, I became an avid reader , not from one day to the next ,but in this way.

I started to read because I was envious, my father, mother and my older brother used to read novels in the lounge on Saturday , and I used to read cartoons. I was envious of them because it seemed to me only adults were able to read books. So from time to time I tried reading a book, there was one in particular whose cover attracted me, there were a boy and a girl and in the background a lighthouse , but every time I started reading.

it I got bored after a few pages.


But one Christmas I was ten or eleven, an aunt of ours gave my brother quite a good present. It was a little. bookcase where forty book were stored, there were all the classic ones. Little Man and…. Little Woman and…

 

Tom Sawyer , Mompracem Tigers (Sandokan)
Uncle Tom’s cabin , White Fang , The Call of the Wilde, Ivanhoe, Ben Hur, Quo Vadis, Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court and so on
Among them there was a title that enticed me “The Paul Street Boys”. I started it and I got hooked. The story is about two young bands who are fighting for a place to play, which is owned by the Paul Street Boys, it is an old timber yard, so the other band the Red Shirts wage war on the Street Boys. First they make an agreement about the rules to follow, about who must be considered dead or caught and other ones,
because there is not any meanness between them, the Red Shirts wage war because their hangout is in a botanical garden and they need a place in order to play football. The story is set in Hungary and the author is Ferenc Molnar.
Of course there are other plots, but the main thread is the war. I liked it so much that once I finished I reread it eight times on a row, except the last chapter because one of main character
dies of pneumonia and this made me cry a lot.
Afterward I read all the other ones.
This is how I started reading novels.
But I wanted more, I wanted to be one of the Paul Street Boys, I wanted to be Tom Sawyer, I wanted to be a character in a Jack London novels, I wanted to play novels . But... I used to live not near the village, so I hadn't a lot of friends , because either my mom took me to the house of a friend of mine , or some friend of mine used to come brought by his mom. You can't do a lot of plays in two, you can play with little soldiers or little car toys, something similar. But what annoyed me more was that when I tried to explain what I wanted to play, they stared at me, because they didn't know who Tom Sawyer was, they never had heard anything about the Paul street Boys, I showed them the scheme of the battle but of no avail, never heard of David Crocket not to mention Ben Hur, or White Fang.
I realised I would never find a pal-play-novels, so I started to play on my own, I started daydreaming, and I had a lot of fun

Usually when you are alone the only thing you did was to place the toy soldier and then you didn’t know what to do once you had placed them. Sometimes a friend of mine , Giovanni came to my house and almost always we played with toy soldiers, My house was surrounded by a  garden and we spent hours digging trenches , build little mountains, in short we would build the battlefield, but once the battlefield was built, we didn’t know how to go ahead. Instead Sergio had a more creative and smart way to play with toy soldiers, there were no need to set the battlefield, because it was the corridor of his house where there were also some furniture. The play carry out in this way. We would hidden our soldier and with some paper we did a little ball and rolled it with sell tape so it couldn’t unroll, then with kicking it with our finger we had to make fall the adversary soldier.

As far as study-school went by I realized I had a bit flaw in math , because I was only capable to work out problems which you could solved with one operation, the classic a farmer goes to the market with five apples , he sells three , how many apples he has now? In the new school they already  made problem where you had to do them with two operations to work them out, for them was natural for me was a nightmare, I lagged the entire year to catch up with my school mates, and that’s why I was always one year behind through my entire school career, not because I didn’t understand math, but I had always been a year later , and I understood the math of first Ragioneria the following year, and all this, because I changed elementary school in my fourth grade, and I was late in working out math problems, so I had always to run in order to catch up with other students.

When we moved from Busalla to Sarissola, an Busalla hamlet, in the new school, I was really at ease with my  desk mate Gianetto, even if we didn’t hang about in the afternoon, always for the same motif , I always lived outside the village at least a couple of km. One day we started bickering about some trivial things and little by little the bickering turned in an argument and at last in a quarrel. In a way I was happy, because it was the occasion to play like I were a character from The Boys of Paul Street, my first novel I read. so I threw my gauntlet at him, come on let’s settle the matterthis afternoon at the Chapel of Saint Lucia, at three o’clock , and be on time. I was so excited because I could use the rule of the war between The Pal Street Boys and the Red Shirt. I was looking forward to that would come the three p.m. I was at the Chapel already at half past two, Giannetto came a quarter of an hour later. He was with a friend of his, whom I have never seen, they get off from the bikes and left them drop to the ground. I asked why your friend? Are you afraid of me? No he answered he’s just a friend. Good I said, now I explain to you the rule, the one who can put the other with his back on the ground if he understands he can’t change the position he has to acknowledge the victory to his opponent  tapping the ground three times with the palm of his hand we will do three times. I was so eager to start, it was a dream coming true , I was actually playing the Paul Street Boys at last, as I had always daydreamed. Besides I was sure to win like the Pal Street Boys, Giannetto was shorter than I was, even if he was brawnier, but I was  defter, I thought.  So we set one in front of the other and I said to Gianetto friend , you give the go, so he said go, and immediately I was with my back flat to the ground, Gianetto had his shines on my arms and was seated on my chest, showing a bitchy smile I couldn’t help tapping three times the ground, it had been so fast, but I thought if I will more alert I can beat him. We took our positions , his friend gave the go and, I was with my back flat on the ground with Giannetto shines on my arms and him sitting on my chest and again with the same bitchy smile. All the fight took less than five minutes, I was so ashamed of myself. And now said Gianetto , and now what I said, now is finished you won, so it is all settled like this? Of course I replied, thinking, who cares school is almost over

.Probably in 1974 in Savignone, a little village in the inland of Genoa, a few late teen eagers, organised a Boy Scout section. For me was a dream that came true, I was fascinated by Boy Scouts, even if I hadn't seen one for real, immediatley I started dreaming about whistles, flags, uniforms and of course I already had a Junior Woodchucks Guidebook First problem to cope with, what do the Boy Scouts wear? We didn't know, neither did the chieves of ours .So we were given the freedom to choose our clothes. I don't know why, my older brother and I chose a Kachi shirt and pants,and an huge hat , the same that Canadian Mounted Police use, besides our parents bought us, in a flea market two rucksucks dating back to the First World War , and two sleeping bag, these ones not bought in the flea market. Others came wearing green, blue, other colours we had a motley of uniforms , other arrived without uniform, but they were not naked , of course.
Our camp was in the hills of south Piedmont , in a wood there was a big clearing slitghly sloping and in the middle of the clearing there were three or four trees . First thing we set up tents, we were almost twenty and we had two big ex military tents, each of them could shelter ten people. Then we built the altar, because in Italy Boy Scouts were and still are, tied with the church. Then was the turn to fix a long rod for our flag, I mean the Italian flag, because no one knew that every branch of Boy Scouts wears a neckerchief and any Boy Scouts group had its own colours. Generally they have two , white and blue, red and brown and so on . So it goes without saying we didn't have any neckerchiefs.
The following day , we heard voices coming out the wood , we went to have a look and saw antother Boy Scout camp. I dare say they were a little different from us. First thing, uniform, blue shirt and navyblue shortpants, They all wore neckerchief, they came from the city, we came from the coutnryinside. They were efficent, we were quaint.
We used to spend time wandering in our clearing kicking from time to time a football , and from time to time we heard whistles, we saw little flag, boys running, what the hell were they doing? Drills, what 's a drill? Who knows?
We kept our routine: breakfast, some kicks to the ball , then slouched against a tree an so on, Lunch some kick to the ball , then slouched against a tree then dinner, and always hearing whistle and looking ltitle flag signaling something. After dinner we used to wear our uniforms at least , the ones who had ones. Nearby our two Boy Scouts camps there was a little village, it wasn't not even a little village, there were three maybe four houses, in one of them, there was a tiny bar selling only red wine, fizzy drinks or coca-cola . There were also the city-Boy Scouts , all of us had a drink and after we used to ligth up a fire, and started singing, not exactly, they started singing , it goes without saying no one of us knew Boy Scouts songs. The next day the same routine for everybody, whistles on the other side of the wood , kicking ball on this side, but there was an exception, me. I was the little one so the chief put me in charge to gather wood twice a day ,to set up fire for lunch and dinner. First time I thought, where's the problem?, we are surrounded by wood so whoever has to do it, was enter the wood pick some wood and come back. Yeah it is, usually this way, but not in summer, because in summer the branches , even if found on the ground are green and you can't burn green wood, so I spent hours looking for dried branches or twigs. For me, no lazyness , neither kick ball no slouched position against a tree, but long walks in the wood looking for tiny burneable twigs But one day I fought I was in a desert having delusions, I saw heaps of brunches neatly tied up and stacked. Of course , I wasn't that smart, but even I understood that those bundles weren't there by chance , some one had put them there for a reason. I couldn't take them because I wasn't a thief. But ... maybe three or four branches? Who could notice it? For sure the farmer couldn't know by heart how many branches he had. Only this time. The second day the branches from three or four passed to five or six, and every day I kept adding always more. I also was carereful  ,When I took my loot, I dinn't come back to the camp, because this would have raised suspicions, I spot a place where at least even I could slouch against a tree,at last, and let the time go by. But one day the chief said to me, “sorry Massimo but I couldn't help noticing than you are bringing here some brunches really neat, where do you find this neat branches?”, “what do you mean by neat, I find them in the wood” I answered sweating, and the chief,” I mean well cut, all the brunches have the same lenght, I repeat , where do you find the wood you bring here?”. At a straight question I gave a straiight answer , and the two of us went where the neatly wood were.” Massimo do you realize that this wood belong to someone, to some farmer, don't come here again.” So what I created, an alloted time to slouched against a tree, came to an end.
The day before the last the chiefs of our camp and the one of the other one, thought about a game. Nearby there was a little village , not the one where we used to go after dinner, but another one a little further . This was the plan, the city Boy Scouts had to be the police, we had to be the bandits who had to smuggle something in the village police was meant to protect the village.
Next morning quite early after breakfast we were supposed to go, I thought, at least no wood today. Our chief was very smart and well equipped, map and compass. He studied the map for a long time, then he said, in my opinion if we take a little detour, we can enter the village from behind, I'm sure the city boy are especting us in front of the village. We start walking, excited by about the success of our challenge. From time to time we stop in order to check the map and the compass, we are ok, kept telling us our chief, but when noon arrived and passed, we no longer were so certain about our success about our challenging, besides we were hungry , because we had had only breakfast, since we were supposed to have lunch all together in the village. At more or less, three p.m. Our chief started to admit that perhaps we were lost, and our bearing were nowhere to be seen, he had lost his bearing and he didn't know where we were. Somehow we succeeded to track back our steps and at the end of a very long day we were again in our camp, weary to our bones.
Last day, our parents came to fetch us, the Savignone Boys Scouts bored to death about kicking ball and to be slouched against a tree .
I, for a long time, used to dream about green branches and twigs raining on me.

I was walking toward the building, no I was easily gaiting toward the building, where there were the classes of secondary school. It was a big step to pass from elementary school to secondary school. The main reason was , in elementary school you had an only teacher for everything , math, Italian science, history  and so on, at the secondary school you had one teacher for Italian another one for math and so on, all this sounded so excitant, I felt I was no longer a kid, almost a teenager, and also I didn’t have to wear the black smock with a fake bow. Secondary school had seven section named in alphabetical order from A to G that meanttwentyone class with an average of twenty-five students , so a ballpark figures meant we were fivehundred twentyfive students . My section was the letter G foreign language taught was English, only in the section E and G English was taught it, in the remaining ones was taught French . The classes occupied two storeys. They were quite little so in a sense we crowed them. The first teacher was the one who would have  taught us physic. First she asked us what do you want do after secondary school, my answer was fast and without any hesitation, classic lyceum, like my brother , in those days I idolaized my brother. wow she said, then you have to study a lot in these three years classic-lyceum is very hard. Nothing could budge me in my decision, I didn’ have any doubt, Then she started explaining what we would have studied , and the first morning went on this line. Every teacher tried to socializaid a little , probably because they wanted to make us at our ease, a few questions and the explanation about their program of teaching. The first week weren’t hard , teachers explained in order to have some material before starting the oral and written text.

Usually I would spend my afternoon playing with my elder brother, who  used to be quite inventive. We play with a ball made up of rags, and I had to defend our internal stairs and him defended the heater under the window placed on the other side of the corridor. Back then there was a good deal of little picture that you was supposed to glue in an album. The most commonwere footballer pictures of course, but there were also picture of animals and other things like biker and else. You were supposed to glue them in an album, we never did. We played with them, in this way, first we shuffle them but not with all the same face , before shuffling them we put some with figure up and some wit the figure down, after we throw the pictures high and the ones who had fallenwith their faces up could go ahead of one tile , the one that da fallen with their faces down had to stay put on the same tile, and then we threw the ones that  had advanced and we folllow the same pattern, and little by little a queue was formed like in a real race. Also when we played with table games , my brother used to change some rules, he’d read the instructions and then would say, no, o this rule doesbn’t make any sense is better if we adopt this rule rather than that, so we’d played never with the set rules.

School after the initial excitement was just school, pay attention to the teacher when they explained, homework to do, sometimes I was taken to a friend of mine , sometimes mom of friends of mine was brought to my house. My vote were on the range wasn’t a genius but not even a dunces. I wasn’t burned by the  sacred flame of knowledge  , I’d study enough to stay afloat on the surface. We had recess at eleven, back then we were not allowed to leave the class and stormed the building , so we’d eat in the class and we had to ask permission to go to the john. One day I was on my way other there and something unexpected, out of the blue coming out of the Ladies restroom I saw Silvia, nothing has changed the sameJet-black  hair , long to the shoulder, dark brown and sharp  eyes. What a fool I had been , of course Silvia should have been in the secondary school like me. In Busalla there are elementary school both in Busalla and in the hamlet Sarissola, but there was only one secondary school building. My heart stopped beating I was with my mouth open completely flabbergasted , I tried to go toward her when she started walking and pass near me without giving a glance toward me. Two years had gone by since the last time I saw her and she had completely forgotten me, although we were desk mate in third elementary school? I couldn’t believe it, but what I did believe and what I was sure of , it was I still was in love with her, but soon realized I had to start again from the scratch. I had to introduce to her again. Not very difficult you are not a shy not talkative and not assured guy, I would have been very simple, the only thing you have to do was to stop her and say, hallo  Silvia don’t you remember me? We were desk mate in the third year at the elementary. But I was shy. I was a not talkative guy and for sure I wasn’t well assured about myself, so I was another time again trying to hatch a plan in order to introduce me to Silvia in a casual way.

First thing came up on my mind was to discover where she lived. It wasn’t an easy task, because living out of the village my mom or dad always came to fetch me by car, so I couldn’t follow her by foot. I had to say something to my parents in order I wanted to come back home by foot, more or less two km and a half. What could I say to my parents? That I wished to do a wakl? And why?  I thought for days , then I had a fluke, We were told the next Wednesday the last hour the teacher she would be absent, that was my fluke I didn’t say anything to my parentsso I was going to follow Silvia and discover where she lived . It is not difficult to follow someone in Busalla , because there is only a straight road , so everybody were on it. Nevertheless I kept a safe distance , and from time to time I’d pretending to look in a window shop as thought I was interested at something on sale Most of the time this trick works, at least in the movies works.. The worst part was after Bar Pippi because the village reached an end, there are still buildings and houses, but no more shpos, I was in doubt if keep following her or not, then a thought , there are still a lot of codo, I don’t know  where she lives , she doesn’t know where I live so with my legs trembling I resisted the impulse to turn around and kept following her. Luckily she stop in front a little mansion divided in four flat, she entered the building , I plucked my courage and kept walking as far as of the house , I read the plaques, De Negri, well she lived on the second floor. I had not the faintest idea about this information could one day be useful for me , but I had learnt reading novel and whatching movie not to neglect any detail.. Now wthen I undersas time to run back to the school.

I ‘d sped my time in the afternoon writing Silvia , Silvia Silvia and so on filling stack of paper and daydreaming to go with her around in Busalla, to do what? I didn’t know, maybe an icecream, talking about novels, I thought but girls used to read? I couldn’t imagine Silvia reading David Crocket adventures, but there are novels for girls Pollyanna for instance, and little woman, little woman growing up, Little Boy and Jo’s Little Man, I thought we had enough books to talk about, and then what do you want to be once you are grown up. In elementary school in carnival time I always was dressed like a cow – boy, but  then I understood it was an impossible dream. Now I wanted to be or some policeman, detective or a spy or an explorer.

I was drawn back of six years, it was evident she didn’t remember of me , so I had to introduce me once again. I thought up different plans, they had one things in common, I would have appeared in front of her out of the blue. Just besides the school building, there was a square where coaches were lined up, I thought, I could stand between two of them and calculate the exact moment she was passing by and then I step forward bumped on her and saying , oh sorry… but aren’t you Silvia , don’t you remember of me? We were in the same class at the elementary, then I moved to Sarissola and lost track to each other , or I can bump on her at school saying the same thing. All these plans had a big hindrance, namely, after the first words, how was I supposed to keep her attention? I mean if I would had said , hello do you remember of me, and her answer  had been , oh yeah… and then? Or her answer would had been , sorry no. To make a long story short. My shyness , my feeling always uneasy with people was my trouble.

The year passed by with me fantasising to know Silvia, craving the moment I could see her , before entering school and at the end of the lesson. Reading adventurous novel with David Crocket , Sandokan and others, playing with my elder brother at his strange games, studying a little and daydreaming to be a character of a novel or about Silvia.

The school finished, my grade were on the average, not the top I was in the middle, anonymous. 

here I was , at last, at the seminar, what seminar meant I didn't know, why did the friars used to call us seminarist , I didn't know. What was the purpouse of a seminar, I didn't know.
Why I was there? I knew. In the summer I had been on a summer camp , oganisaid by a seminar, but there weren't any seminarists, because they were in the mountains. The last day one friars told me that in winter they also ren a school, istinctively I said yes I would like to come for the school year, I informed my parents about my intentions , they agreed.
Even if later they took me to a psychologist. The friars took us to have look around , the building was four storeys high and was shaped like a horse-shoe. When you were in front of it , on your right you could see a huge terrace coming out of the first storey, so under it there was a big portico from there you could get inside the gym-room. They showed us the kitchen, the refectory, the little chapel, the laboratory, the dormitory and outside the basket field and the football little field, I said little bacause the field was meant to be played by two teams with seven players each team.
I still didn't uderstand why they kept calling the school, seminar, for me it was an ordinary boarding school.
Good news, friars encouraged us to read. I was an avid reader, I don't know how many times I had red, Little Men and the follower, White Fang, Ivanhoe , The Paul Street Boys, and many others. In those days I was reading a novel titled “Blue Knight” it was an adventurous novel about a Crusade, So when time arrived to go to bed , before they turned off the lights I was already under my blanket reading. A friar passed by and sawing the cover, of the book, he asked me “sorry Massimo, but what are you reading?” I replied and him “mmh I don't think it is an appropriate reading ” “why not it is supposed to be written for kids besides You have encouraged us to read” “Yes , but we meant something relate to religion, like a life of a Saint” “Ok” I answered but at least let me finish this one” I begged, “ok, since it is relate to a crusade , I suppose I can bend the rule, this time, but remember in the futur Life of a Saint”.
In seminar , that still I don't know why it was called Seminar, and what seminarist were supposed to do, time was strictly scheduled. Get up at six and a half in the morning, mass in the chapel , afterward breakfast, milk and coffee and two biscuits, they were called bread-biscuits, from eight trough one p.m school, lunch. In the afternoon you from two trough four you've got to study, but you had got half hour to train on your chosen instrument, I chose the guitar but a friar told me “show me your hands” bizzare request, but complied with his request, then he said “no with such long and beautiful fingers you must play the piano, besides , when you 'll be able to play the piano you can play every instruments you like” The fact was my hands are jiust ordinary hands, but it was the friar who was very keen on the piano, and he used to say the same things to all the kids. But nevertheless even if I was a deaf tuned, I took pleasure in playing the piano; so in the spell from two through four , since the vigilance wasn't so strict, I used to jump from piano to piano, there were fourtheen pianos in the building, and since my seminarist mates weren't eager to train on the piano I was always able to find one piano not occupied, we followed a exercise book, and when my mates were at exercise 20 I was at 90, but there wasn't any knack in my hands, only stubborn repetition.
We had one hour of recess , and from five trough seven , study time in the common room. Dinner at half past seven, then we could enjoy ourselves or from time to time or do some collective games.
I tried to find a “suitable” book to read before going to bed or to the Chapel, first I chose The life of Saint Mary who lived somewhere in Spain, it was a thick book, but all the Saint did, was to pray, this not hooked my interest, I tried to read the life of San Giovanni Bosco, it was a little more lively, since Bosco was an Italian priest who founded quite a number of schools poor boys could attend, so there wasn't only his life but there was described also daily life of these poor boys attending these schools .
I wasn't a talkative boy not even a social one, but of course if you live elbow to elbow twenty four hour each day, you befriend someone. The building was five storeys high and from time to time I and a few other used to go onto the roof where there was a cement cornice quite large but the ledge was thinner, I used to walk on the ledge, at my right I had the roof but I had quite a leap on my left. I was the only one who used to dare to do such a thing. Sometimes I used to go to the roof alone, watching the stars and walking on the ledge. Thinking why I was there. It wasn’t bad to be there, but I had the odd feelings I’d rather to be at home, the previous year at home hadn’t be a good year, I thought  to live in tight contact with other boys it would be of help, but I was wrong.

A some boys were given an assignement , you had to write a letter about what you wanted to do. I was twelve , but already in love with books, so I wrote a letter pleading to put me in charge of the library, I wrote how clean I would have keep it, the library was a mess, so I add how come I would have look after it, I would have kept the books in alphabethical order , and other things. I wrote down all these things but of no avail. Great disappointement I had to be the janitor of my class room, my duties , clean the boards , always keep chalk at hand, but there was a little shelf in the class, so I filled it with books.
In my class we were eight, so you were always under pression, half of the teachers were professionals , the other half were friars, not very professional, you can teach history or geography even if you are not a teacher, but with math things were different, our friar math teacher was called Marcellino, he didn’t know a single thing about math. All he used to do, was to enter the class, sit down at his desk, then he would open the book and started to read out loud what there was written inside, if you missed something or didn’t underastand something , he reread the same line from the book. Ok, on math we were on our own.
Little Olimpics were organized , I’ve never understood why if you are not much talkative you are also deemed clumsy. For the Little Olimpics four team were made, each captain had to choose his mates, I was the last chosen before the last, my captain told me “I chose you instead of the other guy , because they told me you run really fast”
I didn’t reply, I enrolled in fourteen competitions , twelve times I was the first, in one I was the second and in another one I was the third. Take a look about what an introvert boy can do.
Walking on the ledge was thrilling but I need something else, also because I didn't used to hang around with other seminarists that much. So I had to hatch sometingh to do, all of sudden an idea come to me, in Italy there is a French comic strip called “Diabolik”, he was a thief , so I fought I could emulate his feats. First I got a red exercise book, because I wanted to record my deeds.
My first theft was in the Chapel, I stole the consacrate host, but I didn't keep my loot, because I ate them all.
For a while I was short of ideas, because when you start from the top , the consacrete hosts, what else could I steal ? Then an idea came to me. There was a rule in the seminar, whatever your parents or relatives or friends brougth to you , candies , cakes, whatever you were not allowed to keep such goods for yourself, you had to hand them to the friars, then sometimes they used to partake these goods with everybody, namely you had to share them with everybody. Of course no one complied with this rule, whatever was brought to you, first thing everybody did was to hide them, then you could enjoy the gift, all alone or with your circlr of close friend. So here I was, I had found my theft-trove, I carefully studied my strategy, I wanted dare and fun at the same time. First I had to find a place where to store my loot. There was a littlle closet in the football changing room, it was perfect. I had to decide the time. I thought the best time to steal was from 2 p.m. through 4 p.m. , because they were hours when you was supposed to study, but there wasn't a strict surveilance , there were the hours when you were supposed to train on your instrument, very few did it, so there were a lot of kids wandering about, and the stealing and the storage of the loot was more dangerous, what's life without a bit of thrill? I also , sometimes stole in the night, I thought to be a daring thief.
After a while rumours started to spread, “I was sure I had a few candies left”, at first my seminarist-mates thought they couldn't remember well, they thought to have something instead they hadn't . After a few days rumors turned in suspicions, it wasn't possible almost everybody couldn't remember well. I had to stole myself something , in order to fend off suspect from me. “Hei come here “ I said keeping my cupboard open “I had candies and biscuits till the  day before yesterday, and now everything's gone” And I slammed the door, “should we report this eerie facts to the friars?” “What ? Are you insane, so they would come to know we don't follow the , so called , sharing things rule? No we have to work out this matter on our own”
“What we know. First the thief only steal candies and biscuits. Almost everyboby has had something stolen. That means , the thief can be some one who simulated of having been stolen” “ We have to ferreted him out” “Good, how?” “Haven't the faintest idea”
While they were talking, I was paying little attention about what they were talking of, l because something dawned on me, the friars didn't know anything about it. That's why they hadn't interfer so far. It was time to get them involved.

How could I get them involved? I thought I have to steal something that has nothying to do with the sharing-rule. Clothes. If I stole clothes, surely my mates would go to report the facts to the friars, and a true enquiry would start. To make things even stranger I started stealing shoes, but not a pair of shoes, only one of a pair, after a few days I put back the shoes, but not in the right cabinet, I chose a cabinet by chance. I didn't have to wait long, after a few days the Prior just after lunch called for our attention, he stood up from his chair and started glancing at us carefully. “I was told strange things are happening in our seminar, things that should never happen, especially in a seminar. It is our intention to find the thief, not to punish him, but to talk to him. No one will even know who he is, and it is sure we will come to know his identity,
we've got a powerful mean to find out who he is” At this point, I was a little preoccupaid, about the powerful mean, I feared they already knew something about me, that was for sure, if not, why was the prior so sure? The prior continued to speak. “Our powerful mean is... the sacred Confession!” Go to hell I cried inside me, really reassured, confession, from me, who do you think I am. I was safe, at least for the moment. Days went by and nothing was happening, no enquire was set up, I started losing interest in the robbery stuff. I fought maybe there's one thing I can do, my last feat that would have put me in the legend like Diabolik and Arsenio Lupin, enter the convent and steal a Bible from the friar lodge, then I had another idea, not to steal a Bible, but change a Bible belonging to a friar with another one belonging to another friar. Daring thing, because it was my intention to do it in the night when the friars were asleep. From time to time we used to enter the convent for a reason or another one, so I knew the setting, what I didn't know was who slept in the cells, in my mind I fought it would be safer enter cells occupaid by old friars, because usually old man have a deeper sleep, I tried to do some investigations but of no avail, besides I feared to ask a lot of questions because all those questions could have put friars suspicions in my direction. Ok stop thinking and act. In the chosen night I stood awake until one past midnight, I get up and stayied still for a few seconds, maybe minutes, there was a strange noise, something was hitting something, it looked like the sound of a drum, it wasn't a drum, was my heart pounding. No that's too much I thought go back to sleep. Yes but what Diabolik and Arsenio Lupin would have thought. Probably nothing, they were not real. I slide down the stairs, two storeys, with bare feet, on the landing at my rigth there was the convent door, quite a ordinarily wooden door, but for me was road to perdition. I knew it was never locked, what did they have to fear? Slowly slowly I approached the door, my heart had stop beating, because it was in my throath and there wasn't enough room for beating. I got hold of the door handle and push it down , I opened the door I heard only a scratch sound, I was inside. I didn't close the door behind me because there was neither lights on the landing nor in the convent corridor, there only light seep through the shutters. I was a beautiful night cloudless and a huge moon, I wish I were onto the roof balancing on the ledge. I squatted for a while. I was thinking, thinking hard, why are you doing such a thing, I kept wondering. No one will know what you have done so far and what you are going to do. So why do you want so badly to do this feat? I thought Tom Sawyer and Huckblery Finn would know why. My answer was, because I am a carachter of a novel. Now doesn't make any sense this justification, but back then it seemed to me quite sensible.
There were several doors, I tried to see if I could hear something coming out some cells, nothing. I had to act, I opened the first door on my left, a friar cell is as one can immagine, rather bare, a bed , a desk one chair and one kneeling-stool, Crucifix on the wall of course , a couple of shelves filled with books, I thought they were not about crusades or camelot knigths. I was breathless, I observed the shape under the cover, I had immagined I would have foud someone snoring, instead he was not, shiver running down my back, the shape, I couldn't make out who he was, he was utterly still, I couldn't hear any breath, maybe he's awake and is waiting the right moment to grab me, I thought. But then I saw the shape moving, and the cover went up and down slowly, and I managed to hear his breath. I saw the bible it was on the bed table, of course what could I expect? I didn't think I had to go so close to the sleeping friar to steal the book. I couldn't move, fearing that even the slightest air movement would wake him. What to do? Turn round and go back to my bed? What would had done Nemezchsky? A characther from the “Paul Street Boys” He hadn't fear when he had to get the flag back that the Red Shirt stolen from the Paul Street Boys play-field.
I kept my breath, moved two steps forward and I took the Bible, always without breathing I started walking backward with my right hand groping to feel the cell door, I reached it and slowly I started to open it. Then I had a doubt, should I have to leave the door open, ajar or did I have to close it, decided to close it lest a draught could close it making noise and awaken the unknown friar. I didn't waste any time and went to the door in front of me, opened it and soon I heard snoring, what a sweet sound, it meant he was deeply asleep, this time I recognised the man, he was huge and he was also our history and geography teacher. Hearing him snoring so loudly I felt more confident , I approached the bed table and grab the book, but immediately I saw it was not the Bible, but the Psalm book, damn it. The cell were all the same , I glanced on the desk nothing, I slided toward the book shelves, but it was difficult to read the title without light, I went to the kneeling-stoll, luckily the Bible was there, I picked it up and changed it with the other one.Then I left the cell, I had to enter in the other one , I acted faster, I put the book on the bed table and out I was. Few meters to come out the convent and I was in the seminar territory, again. The chances to bump into someone were very dim, but nevertheless I didn't run . I reached my bed and made myself comfortable under the covers, I felt asleep thinking of Tom Sawyer in the cave with the Indian. It was always something I wanted to do, playing White Fang, or Tom, or The Paul Street Boys or some other charatcters out of a novel, but I was alone, in those years , in Busalla or in the seminar I was the only one who used to read books, and was difficult for me to explain to my friends, what I wanted to do , who had never heard of Arsenio Lupin, or Boka, or David Crocket. This time I played alone and I had a lot of fun.
Days in and days out. Study , a little and certainly not hard, football, piano. Sometimes I faked to be homesick, from a terrace you could see the Genoa light-tower, every light-tower has its own rhytm. The Genoa one is like this: you see the light then five seconds have to pass before to see againfifteen seconds have to pass then five seconds and so on, so in old times sailors knew where they were. I used to count the seconds, but I only pretended to be home sick, besides I didn't live in Genoa in those years .
An afternoon our spiritual Father told me “Massimo please follow me, we need to talk” I followed him, he entered in the bathroom premises, then opened a booth and got inside , he waved me to follow him, I have to say I was a bit perplexed, I wasn't thinking at sexual abuse , I was twelve and I never heard of them. Anyway I went inside the booth, the Father closed the door carefully and said “First thing we have to pray, let's recite an Ave Maria” so we did. “Before we start talking I have to warn you, maybe, sooner or later you will feel itch, don't you scratch, but go immediately in front of a Virgin Mary statue and pray” I was really startled, even if I have an itch what he was refering at, but I have never felt a “itch” Then he took a notepad with a pencil and drrew a flower saying “do you know what it is?” “Sure it's a flower” “ Yes, it is a daisy, now we add two petals here and other two here, and then we draw two feet and two hands and we make a circle at the top, well, what do we have” a monster I thought, but it didn't seem the right answer, so I say nothing. “A baby, we have a baby” Father said, and continued, “It doesn't matter how many petals the daisy has, if you add legs , feet, hands and head , you always have a baby at the end” I was twelve, but not so stupid, now I knew what was he talking about, sex. I knew a little about sex, because my three year older brother , once gave me a general idea about it. He forgot to named flowers and bees, and probably his word were a little grosser compared to the one used by the Father. Meanwhile he was saying that daisys don't turn in babies on their own, but they needed bees bringin them pollen. Then things became serious, because he was about to tell me how things worked with humans. He drew a female figure on the edge of the paper, then on the other edge he drew a male figure, so he drew the mean through which the semen reached the egg inside the woman. But he had drew the two figures so distant to each other that he had to draw a kind of hoze rather than a penis to link the two figures. I had some suspects, probably men and women having sex or babies didn't have to stay so far away to each other.
Summer came and went, and the next year I was in the seminar again. In the first days we had to clean up the building. I was assigned to the refectory, with me there were three or four kids one year younger than me, and there was a kid as old as I was , but for him it was the first year in the seminar. I felt to be , and I was the eldest, and started giving orders, but the guy my same age didn't obey, “why don't you obey” I asked, “Why should I?” he replied, “ because I am on my second year in the seminar, and you are on your first one” “Couldn't care less” answered in a mocking way, I knew I was about to do something unpleasant. “Do what I tell you to do” he started laughing and dancing, I barked something then I hit him, he fell on the ground still laughing, I kicked him in the belly, he didn't stop laughing. “Ok go to hell” He stood up on his feet, I broke my broom on his back, and lef the room. I went directly to a phone, which was in an office, we were not alowed to use it, but who cared. I called my mother and said to her, “mom please come here to pick me up” “Why?” “Because” I packed my belongings and stayed at the window awaiting my mother to come . When I saw her car, I went downstairs . As soon as I was outside the building I heard a friar telling my mother, “Oh mrs Garaventa, what are you doing here” She, surprised “I came to fetch my son” the friar saw me and said “but Massimo, why do you want to leave? You didn't say anything about it” “Because I'm sick and tired of the whole thing” I got into the car , my mother started the engine and off I was.

still play with my daydreaming, and still have a lot of fun

 

Once again in Busalla, in my old class, with my old classmate, I had the strange feeling no one remembered of me, or rather I didn’t remember no one of them. My crush on Silvia was passed, also because I didn’t find her so pretty as I used to. My deskmate came from Savignone , a little village on a hill where my father and grandfather were born, and where I’ve lived for six month only. Memories usually trick you, when I think at the time Rossella was born, I always fought we still lived in Savignone , but this is impossible because Rossella was born 1964 and we moved from Savignone to Busalla in February 1963. Once I asked my mother who looked after me while she was recovered in the hospital in order to give birth to Rossella, she answered it was my granny Rosa. That could explain a lot of things. My granny Rosa boasted all her life , that she had never given a caress and she never took in her arms any of her three daughter while they were crying. So I imagined myself crying in the cradle and her total indifference.

There was a time when I was kid around eight or nine, I used to spend a fortnight at my granny house. There wasn’t much to do, the only diversion was biking in some little garden there was in Gavi Ligure. In those time I had my nails were smeared with little white dot. Once while we have lunch my granny asked me, “Massimo , can you see all those little white dot you have on your nails?” “Of course I can” I answered and she said “do you know what they mean?” I was a little perplexed, and said “no, actually I don’t know” she continued, “each of the is a lie” I was flabbergasted, I was eight , of course I used to tell some lies from time to time who doesn’t at my age? 

I was again in my class even if I had few memories of my classmates, it seemed to me a lot of people had changed. It was a relief to have real professors who knew their job , and not friars who knew only repeat what there was written on the books , but they didn’t have any method of teaching.

My desk mate was a girl named Elisabetta Fragogna , I was strangely at ease with her . Later I came to know she had a fancy on me, but I wasn’t interested. My grade were extraordinary I couldn’t concentrate that much on the books. Once I had the two most tension hours of my life. We had to study by heart a poem called “A Silvia” by Giacomo Leopardi. It is a very long poem and I didn’t study it. The professor started asking to recite the poem, going randomly, first he point the finger toward one , then toward another and so on. He made them recite the poem from the first line until the end, he didn’t follow a pattern but kept indicating boys and girls , skipping from desk to another one. I was so tense, every time a student ended the poem, my fingers clinged the edge of my chair and my knuckle whitened, then the teacher asked someone else to recite the poem, and I could relax for a while. We were twenty four in the class , at twenty of us was asked to recite the poem, less four, I was among those four.

That Christmas we had a skiing holiday in Torgnon Valle D’Aosta, I was sure we would be alone, instead with my great surprise there were friends of my parents, friend I had not seen once in my life. My elder brother told me it wasn’t the first time they went on skiing holiday together , my year in Seminar had cut me off from various family events. We reached the hotel in the late afternoon, we refresh , unpacked and we were ready for dinner. We sat on our chairs and my heart stop beating, in front of me there was a stunning girl, straight chestnut hair and the eyes of the same colour , his face was a perfect oval , deep stare. I couldn’t stare back for long so I gave a look at her sister, was ugly, maybe not ugly, but ugly compared to her sister her chin was squared , it was all I noticed of her. My brother introduce me to the two sisters, Fabrizia, already my love and can’t even remember her name. So once again a crush was on the go. I said to her , hi, when my brother introduce me to her, and then? As usual my mind went blank. I couldn’t find anything to say, at least anything worth saying. I was desperate she was sitting just in front of me, and all I did was to eat looking straight in my plate, hoping to conceal my crush pretending to be very concern about

the food I had in my plate, as though I was a judge in a cooking contest.

I spent the evening and the night thinking how to know her, the fact that I ultimately already knew her , didn’t occur to me. It seemed to me  every  time I tried to tell her something the words I was about to say were wrong, trivial of no worth of interest.

I was really terrific at skiing, years later I started racing and I would
I would become a ski instructor, even if I wasn’t interested in teaching ski as a profession. I thought it was a bad idea to put on display my ski ability , I don’t like to show off, so I was also timid in the thing I was able to do very well. Dinners were my tortures , my anguishes, I was there and she sitting just in front of me, and as usual with nothing worthy to say. My eyes fixed on the plate, from time to time I cast away only to have the chance to have a glimpse of her.

The week came to the end , and I had said to her no more than four or five sentences about school and novels, she wasn’t a reader, otherwise , you never know.

uch a crush, she didn’t live in Busalla but in a nearby village. I had a fluke, she used to ride and the equestrian club she would attend was a few hundreds meter from my house. We lived in the middle of a hill and at the feet of the hill there was her equestrian club. I was so thrilled, obviously the thought to go over there while she was riding never even touched lightly my mind, we had powerful binocular and through them I spent her time of riding staring at her, I was embarrassed I feared she might saw me , so I’d half close the shutters not to incur in useless risks. This thing went on for weeks and weeks. One day , suddenly I made up my mind , pluck all the courage I could gather up and went to the equestrian club, While she was riding , her mother used to stay next the fence that rounded the field. So I approached her and she was surprised to see me and ask me why I was there, I answered I liked horses and wanted to see Fabrizia to ride. The incredible things was I was most talkative with Fabrizia mother and we’d talk about a lot of things , she told me about horses jumping races, when the Fabrizia trainin  finished , I saluted her mother , turned around and made may way back home. For several weeks I kept that routine, I went to the club watching Fabrizia rides and talking to her mother. Then I realized the uselessness of my behaviour, what the use to go there and to talk with her mother and when she dismounted from the horse taking him to the stable and do whatever they do in the stable, I greeted the mother and went away. That was the moment to leave the mother and follow Fabrizia into the stables, but the thought of doing this had never crossed my mind, and when it crossed my mind I realized I had made me an huge fool of myself, so I stopped to go to the club, but I didn’t stop to watch her through my binocular for a long time.

 

In the third year of secondary school there is an exam, my result was not exceptional, maybe that was the reason why my father told me that perhaps would be better I went to a technical school rather than in a lyceum, I tried to protest, I wanted to go to a lyceum and then to the university, he replied , yes but even if you go to a technical school, at the end of it you can enroll in whatever University you like. Yes but it wasn’t a lyceum, a classic lyceum where there were taught the subject I was interested in. Eventually I had to budge.

Summer has never been my preferred season, always for the same reason, I was alone, I filled my boring days reading, and daydreaming about the character I had read in the novel. But sometimes I was so bored I seek help in my mother. Mum, I am bored what can I do, her usual answer was, go biking, and I went We had a garden very big, inside it there were the offices and the roastery of my dad, so I used to bike rounding the office, of course you can’t bike all day around a building, ask again to my mother what could I do, I already know was useless. My mother wasn’t a bad mother, but as I was taught years later, she was an absented-mind mother or a false presence. Outwardly she was very affectionate with the four of us, lots of hugs and lots of kisses, but deep down she couldn't create a real and deep bond, she didn’t understand our needs, of course she didn’t that on purpose, it’s was just like that.  All four of us have had deep wounds, each of us has managed to heal them, but we still carry the scars, and we will carry them forever. Then another flaw  of her was she never praised her children, but always praised whatever other children were able to do.

I couldn’t ride a bike without wheels, my best friend Mauro did. We were five years old, and Mauro was showing his ability to my mother and his, in a clearing in front of his house. My mother kept telling him how good he was. I was so ashamed of myself, the only thing I wanted to do, it was to go back home.
We had quite a big garden, more or less 2.000 metri quadri (roughly 2.400 yards), a lot of grass to mown, in those time we were older,Mauro and I, probably nine or ten, we mowned the grass, my mother said , “ you know Mauro? Maybe we could buy a little mowning-tractor, so you can come here mown the grass while you are driving it and have fun at the same time” I thought, why only Mauro had to have fun, why my mother never tell me a compliment, why everybody is better than me. Once we were strolling in a litlle village in riviera, there was also an aunt of mine, at one point they sat on a bench, I went a littke ahead, I found a fountain with a little basin I started to play with the water, at one point a kid arrived and starded to play like me, after a while he splashed water toward me, I was a little fazed, but then I splashed him back, we were half soaked, the kids mother arrived and immediately told me off, tell me where your parents are, I said I was alone, she insisted, where do you live , I pointed my index toward some buildings and said , behind those buildings, she said for the humpenth times, you are a really a nasty nasty kid. Why didn’t I call for my mother, I was on the right said, the other kid had started to splash water. I didn’t call her because I knew, I was sure, my mother would take the other kid and mom side.

From time to time I used to go  toed to my elder brother , he had some friends, he was older than me so he could go to the village alone. They used to gather, just outside the village in a little flat land, it was called the camping. That’s because there was a rumours amnog the boys that once upon a time that place was a camping, but no one believed it for real. Probably some Gypsie trailers had been there for a while. They used to play football, from time to time the older ones allowed us, a little younger to join the teams, but of course my brother hardly put up with this situation, namely to have me in toe.

I had lost almost all my friends, because in secondary school my class mates didn’t live in Busalla , but in villages nearby it. So bike and novels

That summer we went on holiday to Moneglia, a little town on the Ligurian coast, we lodged in a little boardinghouse which provided us full board: breakfast, lunch and dinner, and also beds in addition for the night. We had also booked a beach umbrella and deckchairs in a bathing establishment. Together with us came also two friends of my mother's , Anna and Graziella, and the latter will have an important role in my mishap. We had planned to stay over there for a fortnight, and so we did. On the first day we went to the seashore, while I was coming out of the bathing building and was stepping on the beach in order to reach our assigned place, my eyes fell on a vision coming off the waves, blue eyes and wet chestnut hair, quite shaped for her age, so my simple glance turned into a raptstare. Instantly, I decided that I would spend all my time at the beach looking at her , without her knowledge, because the thought of actually speaking to her never crossed my mind, and spend all my time away from the beach thinking of her.
So, that I did, because I really am a straightforward person and always keep my word.
Days went by, the holiday end was approaching and the day before the last , even now I can't understand why, I opened my heart to my mother about my feelings. What I didn't expect was that she’d tell what I said to her friends. On the afternoon of the last day, while I was sitting on the deckchair reading, I heard Graziella calling my name, I took my eyes off the book I was reading and saw her holding the girl's hand, saying, “look who wants to meet you, her name's Cristina”, my heart stopped beating, I have always read this expression but I thought it was a figurative way of saying not that that could actually happen , more over, my mind went blank, it didn't take long, I've never had a huge one. What I did was, stood up and started running for my life. In Moneglia , between the seashore and the town there's a raised old railway route, so you've got to go through little tunnels to reach the country from the beach or the other way round, to reach the beach from the town, but there's one that is blocked and I, in my wild run, entered that one. “What shall I do now?”-, I thought. I stuck my head out the tunnel and saw Graziella and Cristina staring at the place where I had disappeared, a little puzzled I dare say, who wouldn't have been? I sat on my haunches straining my brain to find a way that could lead off my plight, but there were none, I was doomed and I knew it. So tail between legs, I slowly, really slowly, never knew how slowly one can walk till that day, I went back over to them and accepted my fate. We exchanged a few words, the usual stuff, age, school ,(I was about to switch from thirteenth grade to high school), address, and promises to write to each other in the following winter.
Once back home, I spent the following weeks in trance, I used to stop all of sudden, whatever I was doing and wherever I was, and start smiling like an idiot and thinking of her. As promised, we wrote to each other for the whole winter and spring, and when the summer once again arrived, like a famous Italian song says, we found each other at the same beach and at the same sea. She was with a friend of hers , Monica, I already knew she would come because Cristina had written this to me, she introduced her to me and we went swimming. At one point while we were just bathing in the shallow , I told her, “I brought you a gift, a book title is The Psychopathology of Everyday Life by Sigmund Freud”. For a little while everything went still, I couldn't get what was wrong, and why the two girls kept staring at each other and at me alternatively, so I carried on saying , “you wrote to me you would like to be a psychologist when you are grown up, last winter I saw my older brother reading this book so I thought it was perfect for you” “Yee..ss..”, said her,”… but right now ... you know ... we're on holiday and bricks and the like, you know... I really appreciate the thought , I really do , but...” I got it , and swam away, forgetting we were in the shallow, not a great move, sands and sharpened stones can be painful when you don't put the right quantity of water between you and them.
It was not a good holiday, Cristina had a lot of friends, I tried to go out with them a couple of evenings, but socializing has never been my best skill, if I have one, so I quit and came back to my novels. But all the same we kept writing to each other also the following winter, and once she wrote one thing I 'm rather proud of, so I'm quoting it, she wrote, “I can't understand how you can be so brilliant, shrewd and sarcastic when you write and so shy and silent in person”.
Not that much, but I settle for little, you know.

 

It was raining cats and dogs, my first day a bookkeeping school, I get there early but there was also another boy ,  we introduce ourselves his name was Stefano, we came to know also that we were in the same class, not a difficult gamble the session were only two. Slowly slowly the hall was filling up of other students, all of us seemed to be a little lost, nobody knew what to do exactly, everybody less of course the ones who had already started the school the previous years. At last we were headed off towards our class. I feel awkward, what a news! I sat down in the first row near the wall, my desk mate introduced herself, Paolo was his name, he asked me where I came from, Busalla I replied. He opened wide , from Busalla? He was quite speechless, I already knew, we coming from the other side of the hills, first citizens thought we had to do an enormous effort to face such long journey, long in their mind. Second  we were deemed to be a little too much country, and not up to date with all the news, way to dress, movies, and other things. Since this, we considered the citizens a bunch of teenyboppers and we could live by at their cultural level and probably we were also better , because we were also a little wild.

The subject in the first two year, were not different from those taught in a lyceum, but probably they were not so accurate.

In the third year there was a sea change, there were three rows of desks, I was in the third row starting from the door near the windows , the row was formed by four desks , but only seven boys occupied the row. I decisively feel at ease with the other boys. We liked to refer to ourselves as the sect, and we  disdained all the rest of the class, I didn’t even know their names of a few of them. There were exception of course, like Enzo, Simonetta e Daniela.

 

On the other hand there was a changing, we had ended to study the usual subjects and started studying the technique materials, bookkeeping, economy, bank-technique , financial math, such a boring subjects. I couldn’t concentrate on these subject, my grades were really bad. I was the first in Italian, the best writer and the best student in studying literature, because those were the things important to me, besides in a land of blind people the one with one eyed is a king. I was the only one who used to read novels, of course my readings tastes had changed, no more David Crocket and the like. I had discovered Hemingway, Steinbeck, Cassola, Fenoglio, Saul Bellow and many others. 

In my class and in the entire school there were not so many girls . worth a crusch of mine, but I was lucky, because in those years I used to ski-racing and in the week end I could have my very worth crush. Paola was the name, she raced for G.A.M.  I for Champagnat. My character never had helped me that much, no talkative , introvert a little shy. In ski-racing years I had a friend called Roberto, whom I felt at ease with  , I was always with him and he seemed not to notice, even if he had not problem whatsoever to speak at whoever, and in this whoever happened that there was also Paola.So my feeling were tangled, I’d stare at stare at her, always at a safe distance, and with my heart beating strong and fast, when Roberto was speaking with her and I was very near to her but pretending I have some serious problem to work out in my mind or looking intensely at the snowed mountains as though I was a geologist searching some clue about it, I clearly don’t know because I am not a geologist.

 

In school kept teaching us the usual boring subjects, I only used to pay attention to Italian literature and law, I discovered I liked the material, once I did a things I wouldn’t have ever done. In the evening of a Sunday after dinner , I went to my bedroom in order to brush up some chapters of law, because I knew , probably the next day I’d be called in order to have an oral text, what I didn’t expected had been I didn’t watch a sportive programme that I had never missed to watch ever in my life , that make me understand how much I loved law, and I took the resolution to enrol in Law university when I finished that obnoxious kind of school, I was wrong, but at that time I didn’t know. I guess I’d been the only student who used to skived off school when professor explained, and I went to school when oral or written text were scheduled. That’s because when the teachers explained they talked about so boring materials, bookkeeping, bank-technic I couldn’t stand them. Instead when oral or written text  were scheduled, I could relax, I was free to not pretend to pay attention what the teacher were talking at, and in written text the only chance I had it was to succeed to copy from some friends. 
I stopped doing ski races, because even though I was technically equal to the first ones, they had started competing when they were kids, so they started with the first numbers and with the track still well prepared , while I started with the number eight eight or ninety two, and with big holes near the posts, and this made impossible for me to achieve a good final pososition in the rank. It was frustrating to compete in such condition, I didn’t have any chance to win, and to arrive twenty-five or around this number meant nothing to me. 

Busalla had a great history as far as Rugby was concern, because a man very passionate of the game used to go to school in order to push the students towards the rugby play. I started to train with them , but at first I didn’t intend to enrol in the team , but I was doing well, so they forced me to enroll, they grab me and someone took a photo to send t to the federation. I wasn’t brownie but I was rather thin I was coordinate and deftly, I had courage, but my career as rugby player didn’t last long. We were playing in our field, and it was raining the field was muddy. It happened one of my team passed the ball at me, but I was tackled by two adversary , one grabbed my chest , the other one my hips , they made me turn around , but my left foot was stuck in a puddle , so as soon as I fell with my back flat on the ground I realized soon that there’ s was something wrong, I lift my head and what I saw shocked me, my right foot was ok , my heel on the ground and my toes were toward the sky, but my left foot was just the other way  around, my toes were laided on the ground . I needed a surgeon, my ankle was broken and all my ligaments were ripped , after the surgery the doctor said I couldn’t walk not even with crutches, I have to stay in bed for forty five days. Everybody , my parents, my friends were worried, They fought I’d become bored after a few days. It didn’t go that way , a friend of mine lent me a VHS to watch some movies, and a day or two I had all my day scheduled. In the morning I used to read cartoon and study, soon after lunch I took a little nap , then I watched a movie , then I used to read a novel and in evening I watched TV. Besides the injury  made me famous, so a lot of people often came to pay visit to me. I must say it had been the most  beautiful days I have had, no school, and this was important , because I loathed that kind of school, I’d my routine, all the attention were on me, my mother and my friends, I regret that wonderful spell.

All the beautiful things , soon or later come to an end. The forty five days had gone by and I had to take again my older routine, school, with teacher explaining things whom I could care less, home work and no girlfriend as usual.

 

A friend of my brother had a girlfriend , she was not of Busalla but she  lived in a neighborhood of Genoa called Sampierdarena . Once my brother friend and his girlfriend  came to Busalla and with them there was also the sister of my brother girlfriend.

She was not stunning or beautiful, but gave you the idea of a little deer, she was nice, with doe eyes, oh no I thought when I realized I couldn’t breathe, my heart speed up and I couldn’t look at her straight in her eyes, I knew the symptoms I was in love again, another crush fel upon me. I thought , now the same old story, you start dreaming about her , and no possibility to interact with her. The fact she would go to a school that wasn’t even a real school, but an institute where they taught  how to become a secretary, didn’t stop my agony, but I came to know her school was very near my school. No I yelled inside me , this time I want to know her and talk to her and I took a strong resolution to do it. I don’t know where I pluck all my courage from, and I asked when she finished her lessons, at half past twelve. Bad luck I finished my lessons at one p.m. I’ll mean that I have to tampering with my justification book  forging my mother signature.

So I get out of school an hour before, I knew where her school was, There was a long staircase and then on the other side of the road there was the main door of her school. At first I waited on top of the staircase, because I didn’t want to stop her when she was among other students and friends, beside You must know your battlefield , when you are in war, and love is a kind of war. Students, all females, where pouring out the building, my plan was to see her come out the building and then follow her but she was walking with some friends of her , so my plan went to hell. Another day I thought, another forged signature of my mother. The following day it was like the day before, I didn’t have the courage to follow her while she was walking with her friends. Another day I thought , another forged signature of my mother. The third day I change my tactic , I waited for her to come out the school on the pavement right in front at her school, determined to stop her before she started walking with her friends. Students begun to come out the school and when I saw her, I step forward and I said, hello how you’re doing? She was a little flabbergasted and answered , fine I am fine, but…who are you? I strongly wanted to be a magician and disappear right away, but I managed to say , I’m Massimo, don’t you remember we met last week in Busalla, ah now I rember you , you’re the silent one, not a great compliment but at least she had noticed me , better than nothing, but now I was in the game and I wanted to play all my cards. I told her, can I walk you to your house? Sure she answered , and said by to her friends. We started walking and of course , nothing to say came up in my mind, so I asked how was her school, it was a very trivial school, they studied nothing worth studing. I approached with literature and I named a few authors, of course she hadn’t any clue about who they were. We didn’t have anything in common, no novels, she didn’t read novels, no movies she only went to watch such terrible comic movies, no music, she listened only pop music. Nevertheless I liked her, maybe because she was my first crush I had had the dare to approach. Even if were long silence and a little of mumble from me- 

Of course I couldn’t go ahead forging my mother signature every day, but I was lucky, next week end my parents wouldn’t be at home, and my brother and I had organized a party, usually we didn’t bother to invite people, we spread the voice that we’ll organized a party and people arrive. Once I was asked if I knew the owner of the house, nope, replied.

I told Stefania if she would have liked to come, for sure your sister will be, she answered ok I’ll come along with my sister.

Saturday was the day, there were as usual a lot of people, my house is rather big , it has two floors plus the ground floor , furnished like a small tavern, all the light were on , a lot of cars parked inside the garden and along the road.

She arrived, the problems started right away. What could I say to her? Would  you like some to drink? Yes, so fixed the drink, and now? I pretended to have something to do on the above floor, I delayed , probably I delayed a little too much my coming back to her. The party was already in full gear, people dancing on the ground floor, chatting and drinking on the first floor , on the second floor there were our five bed room, I didn’t investigate. I came back to the ground floor, she was dancing, I tried to join the dancers but , I’am really coordinate when I practising sport, and I was a good dancer, but I had to be alone, among people my movements stiffened , and I felt awkwardness. So I quit dancing , fetching to be nonchalant  , but I wasn’t . It took me a while to realize Stefania wasn’t dancing anymore, I couldn’t find her anywhere on the ground floor, so I climbed up the stairs and looked for her on the first floor , but of no avail. I ventured to the second floor where I found her sitting on a chest hugged to a close friend of mine. I didn’t say anything , turned around and made my way backward. I was really piss off, not about Stefania, I could had imagined , she would had found a boy more fascinating and more likeable than me. It was for the friend of mine, I had spoken to him about Stefania, and to cap it all , he had no problem with girls whatsoever, so why did he made a move to Stefania? 

 

 

 

  On Saint Friday that comes before Easter, I woke up with anxiety, I thought this year there will be the final test , and I don’t know anything. Then I relaxed thinking , from next Monday I will starting studying.

The final exam was composed by two written test, one was always to write an essaym we were given four titles , what we could choice and were an a material drawn by lot, but at bookkeeping , they were always either bookkeeping or bank-technic . The oral test there were always Italian, and other three subject drawn by lot , but one of these were the subject not sortied out in the written text , plus law or economy, you coul choise two subject, one was accepted as a rule then you had tu put thr three left in thr orders you prefered  . I do know I couldn’t fill the gap in the technical subject, so I studied only Italian and law hoping the board , that was composed by teacher we didn’t know, wouldn’t have change my choice in the oral test.

Students in my class didn’t have great trust on my ability as a student. I remember there was a little group surrounding the desk of the teacher , who was our Italian teacher, they asked who could do well or not in the final exam, someone asked what about Garaventa? She answered Garaventa?  Sixty for sure. I saw all the students were agape. The fact is, teachers think if you do well in their subjects they think you are well also in all the other subjects.

With the approaching of the exam , I didn’ realize in those days I start speaking with Daniela, and I felt at ease with her.

As soon as the scholastic was finished, a party was organized. I was in doubt wether to go there or not. I was at ease with only a handful of people I was afraid to not feel at my easy and the whole party would be an ordeal Then I decided to go there , at the bottom someone I knew was there. Don’t ask me away, but it was a really nice party, and always feel at my ease, then it was clear , Daniela had an interest at me. We talked a lot, but there was an annoyance , every time I managed to corner Daniela , Ottonello after a while step in .

After midnight, someone suggested to go in riviera in order to have an ice cream or other. I was a decisive moment, I had my car and Daniela no, when I suggested to her to come with me , she didn’t have any hesitation, I was leading her to my car , right in the moment we were opening the doors I heard a voice saying, hey guys can get along with you? I think I don’t have to tell who that voice belonged to.

The exam was a great success  , I knew my Italian essay would be the one with the higher grade I was wonderful in oral Italian and law, in the bank – technic , I was lucky because it wasn’t very technical exercise, but it was to tell such thing from a theoretical point of view, so with some good sense and some help from my friends I avoid a disaster. The outcome was that out of twenty five students I was in the first three highest grades, the third to be more precise.

 

The exam was a great success  , I knew my Italian essay would be the one with the higher grade I was wonderful in oral Italian and law, in the bank – technic , I was lucky because it wasn’t very technical exercise, but it was to tell such thing from a theoretical point of view, so with some good sense and some help from my friends I avoid a disaster. The outcome was that out of twenty five students I was in the first three highest grades, the third to be more precise.

I saw Daniela, months later with a guy I thought he was her boyfriend out of a stadium where a live concert would have been held,  she greeted me with great warmth, and I could detect a little regret in her eyes.

 

 In the summer of 1982 after my final exam two friends of mine, Mario e Corrado wanted tour Spain for a fortnight, a week just touring and spend the other week in Pamplona to attend San Fermin feast.  I couldn’t join them because I have to do something for my dad  , but I told them  I can catch they up on July 7th when the Fiesta of San Fermin starts . They went without  me , but we were on to meet at the square of the City Hall at one o’clock.

On July 6th , more or less, it was 1 p.m. I was fueling my car and was ready to go, whileanother friend of mine , Maurizio , was passing by e noticed I had some luggage on my car, so he stopped and asked me where I was about to go. As far as Pamplona , I’ve got an appointment with Mario and Walter at Pamplona to attend San Firmin Fiesta. Maurizio said , cool, can I join you? Of course I replied be my guest. I took him as far as his house in order to fetch some clothes, and there we go. To reach Pamplona we had to drive all the French coast, Cote D’Azur, as far as the Languedoc, then reach Tolosa keep going north toward Basque country and then a little southern there’s Pamplona, more or less are 1150 km (714 miles) we made shift driving, and I left late in the evening or early in the night the drive to Maurizio and fell asleep. I woke up at around three a.m. and noticed something strange, something was amiss, then I realized what was amiss, we were not on a high way, we were driving through countries  and villages, so I asked Maurizio sorry where in the hell are we? He replied sorry Massimo I guess I  took a wrong turn but then I had a look at the map and in no time we’ll be on the right road, ok I said and fall back sleeping. More or less an hour later I was awake again there was a lot of fog , and also my mind was still hazy  ,  but I could see some trees, and the road was very uphill, I realized that the trees were pines and firs, I saw some lampposts, but they  had no light, I understood what they were, they were skylift we were in the middle of the Pyrenees, we hadn't done the coast and then up to the north of Spain going through the flat land, we were going through a a pass of the Pyrenees. Do you know  where we are? I asked a little annoyed. The shyly  answer was I guess I took another wrong turn, but don’t you worry, it is only a little detour, we’ve got plenty of time we will be there on the don.  I wanted to tell him something but I let it go.

At last we reached the flat land , it was my shift, Maurizio fell asleep and I drove listening to music. The scenery was beautiful , the road was beautiful, it was straight and was a continuous go slight up and slight down, looked like some American roads I have seen in so many American movies , and outside the road  was a fascinating barren scenery , the grass almost dried, had a motley of colors . I was about to wake up my mate to make he seen the scenery, but I didn’t , I don’t know why.

We reached Pamplona in advance, and we were so lucky to find park not very long from the town.

The rendez-vous was in front at the city hall at 2 o.clock p.m,. so we started to search the square, we find it quite easily, of course everybody was heading over there. The more we walk, the more people thickned around us, until people was a crowd and we had to stop because not even a needle would have passed. What we didn’t know was San Fermino fiesta starts at 2 p.m. in front of the city hall. We walk back to the main square that was rectangular and inside there was rectangular bedgrass with  flower and trees. I said to my mate, we won’t ever find out Mario and Walter, I was so tired I lied down on the grass and slept for two hours. When I woke up , Maurizio was sitting on the ground with is back leaning to a tree. I said , we won’t ever find them, ok the answer was , it means we’ll have fun on our own. I glanced at the watch , a quarter to three p.m. ok , let’s go to grab some food. We left the square and we find ourselves in the road  where the bulls run at seven a.m. every day for seven days. I entered the first bar I saw, it was narrow and very long . there were not chairs and table but in front of the counter there was two steps running all along the wall where people was sitting . As soon as I put my foot inside I heard cry out Massimo, Massimo over here, they were Mario and Walter, I was so happy I turned and told to Maurizio they are here come on, they were at the very end of the local, while I made my way other there passing through the counter and the people sitting on the two steps, and I was soaked by beer because while we walked people thrown beer on us, but for fun not for badness of course . We hug to each other and have some beer and some sandwiches. Then we saw out the bar in the street a lot of people was passing by chanting, we decided to join them, was the procession following a statue, and they were singing , we joined them but we didn’t understand a single word about what they were singing of, the only thing we understood was San Fermin, so we started yelling ON DOS TRES SAN FERMIN, ON DOS TRES SAN FERMIN, it was really hot and clothes were glue with sweat, from the windows people with ooze or bucket thrown water on the procession  , and we craved that some water fell upon us to be refreshed a little, then the procession came to an end.

We came back where I and Maurizio were before meeting Mario and Walter, of course we hadn’t booked anything, you can’t book in Pamplona , I think if you want to book an hotel or bed-breakfast you have to do it several years in advance , Pamplona is always sold out. But we have our resource , we knew a hotel-chain where you don’ have to book in advance name’s Benches.-Hotel, they are always available, not so comfy and you don’t have room service, no breakfast, lunch or dinner, not always shower or toilet were nearby

 but they were worth nothing, everyone could afford a Benches Hotel room.

That spot became our hangout , every time we got dispersed, and that was very easily in a little town like Pamplona but crowded beyond belief ant to cap it all we were easily on the booze and stoned.

First thing we did was to wear a white shirt got a red handkerchief tied it around our neck. We stayed dressed that way for days, no shower, no brush teeth no change of clothes. The real Spanish wear black trousers as long as their ankle, white shirt and a kind of dark green blouse, but not always because the heat was very intense .

Spanish do know how to do a fiesta, it’s simple , clocks ceased to exist. There wasn’t scheduled time, bar were open clockwise, you couldn’t say I fell asleep late in the night or early in the morning, at one point force left you , it could be seven a.m. or eleven p.m.  when you wake up there was always people around, Fiest was always on the go.

Fiesta got me and I became talkative, usually I am not, I remember vaguely sitting on a bench with two nice Spanish girls trying to explain them where we came from. Don’t know what I told them, I only remember there was Walter sitting at the end of the bench doubled over with laughter, the only thing I could them to understand was we came from a city with the sea in front the city, the only outcome was laughter from the girl and from Walter. I doubt they knew there was a city called Genoa, it didn’t cross my mind to explain to them , actually we weren’t from Genoa but from a little village in the Ligurian inland hills.

The only things I regret is I missed to see the bulls run , with the Spanish run in front of them showing off their dare and dexterity. I was always asleep, or I forgot or I was somewhere else. Only once I had the opportunity to see the run, I and a friend of mine can’t remember who, joined a group of boys and girls and following them we found ourselves in a flat on the second storey of a building which windows that gave look at the road of the run. Pity we were over there too in advance, so the only thing I remember is I woke up in a flat I didn’t recognize it, where there were some guys talking, playing guitar and drinking , my friend was nowhere to be seen. I took my time to stand up with my head  throbbing and took my leaves.

Our holiday came to an end suddenly. Walter was stolen his wallet, all the documents and money gone. He was distraught, the same thing couldn’t have happened to me, because my mother used to sew an internal pocket in my jeans, where I kept my driver license , my I.D. and my money, I used to keep in my outer pockets only the money I needed , and if I needed some more , all I had to do , was to go in a john unfasten my trouser and pick some more money. Coming back to Walter , as I said he was desperate, went to the police, of course , he told me there was a long line, all of them were been stolen , police said to him that in San Fermin week , pickpockets came from all over the country.

He wanted absolutely come back home, we tried to explain to him , it wasn’t such a disaster, after all it was only money, and the three of us had still enough money to finish the week in Pamplona and fuel the cars for coming back home, he didn’t want to hear any reason , he was almost in a catatonic state. We decided we couldn’t stay there with Walter in that mood. We went to our cars and started our way back home. All the fun was gone.

Walter leaned back the passenger seat and stayed in silence for the whole journey, not even drove a minute and never left the car, not even when we had some stop at the gas stations and entered the bar in order to have some drink and some food. In effect some fun we had, because on our stops when we entered in the bars, after having stayed with the same clothes , no shower for four days, and from time to time we entered bare foot, we didn’t have any difficulties to approach the tender, all around us emptiness was formed.

 

 

There’s a charateristich in Busalla , there are a lot of bars. So we used to spend our time, going from bar to bar, we were at Erba Voglio and after a few appetizers someone used to say ,”let’s go to see who’s at Bar Margherita", other rounds of glasses and after a while “ I wonder who’s at Giordano, and so on. After a while it was a little boring. So, from time to time someone used to say “cmom let’s cross the hill”, meaning let’s go to Genoa. There’s also a song titled “Genoa for us” I quote a verse:

Genoa for us that we are at the bottom of the campaign

and we rarely have the sun in our squares

and the rest is rain that wets us

Genoa,as I said, is an idea like any other…

In the 80s Italy was very lively, but now back then , every day, bar, pub ,club and the like opened and soon were closed, let’s say they were kind of fad. In particular, in the winter of thoese years was opened a bar called Psycho. It was an alternative bar, half underground, half punk, half something, half anything, let’s say it was half.

Once I entered Psycho and saw a person waving white sheet of white paper then all of sudden he rip the paper off and throw the little pieces of paper in the air, like they were confetti, people started clasping, I didn’t , the meaning of the perfomance eluded me, but I want to be honest and sincere, I didn’t miss not even a sec of sleep thinking at the meaning of the perfomation, I knew the meaning was out my cultural limit, or maybe I was sane and the others no.

But now the most important thing. There was a girl as bartender that was stunning. Thin chestnut hair, doe eyes , every shape in the right place. Inside my head I heard Elvis Presley singing “I can’t help falling in love with you”. I really liked that girl, but what chances could I have, in such alternative context?, I, a dull ordinary country boy, not even one.

One evening I was in bed daydreaming about Paola and waiting the slumber to come, out of the blue I had an idea. I could elicited her curiosity just acting in a very ordinary way. The plan was this, I would have dresse quite classic , I mean a suite, white shirt and a tie and I intended to give her a classical bunch of flowers, It could work I thought . No one could expect such behaviour in that context, I could distinguish me from the mass.

One evenind I was determined to put in work my smart plan. I bought a huge bunch of flowers , they were an explosion of colours, I ask to a friend of mine to come along, he told me that also Boba and another girl wanted to come, I knew them only by sight  , “ no problem I answered the more the marrier” . I couldn’t care less about who’d be come, my thoughts were focused on Paola. First to start I needed some encouragement, to overcome my shyness and become a little more talkative. So I emptied a few glasses of wine, ok, maybe a bit more than a few ones, ok , let’s say ten or thirteen. We climbed into the car and went. I enetered Psycho and without giving a glance around I went , with my bunch of flowers directly to the counter, Paola wasn’t there, I asked why and the other girl told me it was Paola day off. My plan fell apart. I left my flowers on the counter , mumbled something to the girl and joined my friends in a booth. We kept drinking, I kept drinking, at this point I was dead drunk and started to speak to Bobe relentessy, of course I can’t remember a single word about what I said to her.

. Life is a little dull in small cities. In the evenings we used to amble from bar to bar. We were in Bar – Pippi, ok, a few drinks and then someone usualy said “let’s go to see  who’s at the “Erba Voglia” , a few more drink and then , touch and leave  at Giordano Bar. We always wanted to have dinner in some restaurants  on Friday or Saturday evenings, but always happend we had aperitifs in a bar, then in another one, always discussing about what reastaurant we wanted to go. Eventually we used to check our watches, midnight, not a good hour in order to have dinner, not in Valle Scrivia at least, all restaurant in Valleria Scrivia were closed, at such an hour.

Especialy at the “Erba Voglio” always were hanging about a group of people coming from Camarza, a Busalla hamlet. Boba was used to attend mainly that bar with friend of hers. From to time we had some chi chat, I was supposed to know her , even I couldn’t temember a single world I told her.

One evening I was at the Erba Voglio , she glided toward me and told me, “You know Massimo, I noticed you’ve got such an intense stare. You don’t speak much, but your eyes speak for you”, I didn’t answer, booze had already hazied my brain, and couldn’t catch what she told me, why and what  reaction she was awaiting from me to have. Back then I was really close to a friend of mine, nicknamed Gassetta, also nicknamed Whinchester, because he was always charged. (p.s. In italian to charged mean to be drunk, to be on the booze) he was older than me, at least five six years older. So someone kidding started saying I was Gassetta nephews.

One evening I was sitting on a stool with my left feet on the ground and my left one hanging to the stool bar, out of the blue there was Boba at my said caressing my right thigh and after a while she lent on it. “so?” she said “how things are going”

 “oh you kne,usually things go, some time not”

what am I saying? I thought, why is she  sitting on my thigh? Something dawned on my mind. She would like to do something with me. Why not. She was a vacationer and had a little flat in Camarza. We dind’t start a relationship, not even a flint, when we bumped to each other we used to fade away.

A few days later a few friend of mine started teasing me.

 “Why are you doing this to your , so to say, uncle Gassetta”

“Doing what?”

 “ You know what” but I didn’t . One day I cornered a friend of mine and told him, “now you have to tell me what am I doing wrong to Gassetta” “

Ok” he said. “Do you know who Boba is?” 

“of course I know , Boba’s Boba”

“Yes, but Boba is Giorgio girlfriend, and Giorgio happen to be Gassetta cousin”

I couldn’t believe it. I knew Giorgio we were not close but sometimes we bantered away in some bars, back then Giorgio wasn’t in Valle Scrivia because on duty, military service, still compulsory  back in those years  in Italy. 

I encounterd Boba one evening and asked her

“Sorry, but is it true you’re Giorgio girfriend?”

“Yes , why do you ask” as tough I had asked , is it true you live in Genoa?

“Why am I asking? Because I know Giorgio and I find him a likeable guy. Why didn’t tell me anything about it.”

“Oh don’t know, I thought it wasn’t important”

“You thou…” my stare was no longer intense, it was in disbelief

“You thou… ok let’s just drop the whole thing here , now and for good”

 

I was alone at the Banco Rosso drinking white wine leaning on the counter, from time to time I gave a look at the door to see if someone of my knolowedge had entered. I turned to my right there was a guy alone , drinking from a glass of white wine looking steadily at me. Awkard moments, name was Giorgio. He was looking at me and I was looking at him, but he was right, I was wrong.

“Sorry Giorgio, I swea…”

“Stop Frank, I know it all, you are not the first, and you wil not be the last. Because I know her, she’s a bitch, I know she’s a bitch” and went away, I paid his drink, at any rat


Submitted: October 19, 2021

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