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Apr 17, 2023

Ghosts of days gone

It was summer. Almost sunset. The scorching heat was giving way to the sweetness of the good sun. The sea was still, motionless. You couldn't even hear the waves. There were not. The horizon of the sky merged with the water in a single indistinguishable blue. Behind me I could feel the sun setting and the shadows of the houses and hills that would soon overtake me. I could look at the sand around me without squinting at the sharp beams of reflected light. I was reading. I was curled up under the umbrella, on my yellow towel, with a Baudelaire book in my hand, reading the Albatross. And it was then that I realized that in the end it was me, the albatross was me. My friends were all playing volleyball, or at the bar, chatting with girls, sleeping, or getting ready for the night. They lived in their present, without thinking too much about it. While I was always trying to understand more, I was thirsty. I was trying to broaden my vision to be able to see space and time with ever larger eyes, enriching my thoughts every day with those of the authors who accompanied me in my readings. Probably in my friends' eyes I was also funny and awkward, like an albatross on the ship deck. No one actually made fun of me, but I could see their elusive glances between fear and incomprehension. I was young. I couldn't know I was scary, just like the unknown and the incomprehensible are scary. Most perceived me as a strange person. And thinking about it, in an environment where the rule of the strongest was in force, understood in the most physical and violent sense of the term, only today do I realize how powerful was the image that I emanated through my strange diversity, with a book in my hand. Without a fight, without the need to flex the abdominal muscles. Just doing what no one ever did. Light. The books in that dispute were such a foreign object. Seeing me with a book in my hand, on the beach then, was the equivalent of a machine gun loaded and ready to fire. The book in my hand was a weapon. And I didn't know it. I thought it was just a book. But today I understood that in their eyes I was a bit like an albatross on the ship deck, funny and awkward. However, they also knew that at any moment I could take flight, majestic and unreachable and no one would ever be able to follow me like this up. Now I understand.

Foto di Ben White su Unsplash

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