Does it still beat?

Publish date 11-04-2023

by Marco Grossetti

I close my eyes and think of you. Of how cold inside that house, of the frost that descends upon a small heart when it's dark, of the storm to which it is exposed without any protection, of the infinite number of abandonments and shortcomings, absences and forgetfulness, to the forever lost time of toys and cuddles, to small lives plundered by fate and by the circumstances of their light-heartedness and happiness. To a house that burned down in the night, to the smell of poop, to clothes full of stains, broken toys and dirty dishes, to the mess in which you learned to take your first steps and speak your first words, now that you are old enough to do knowledge of what happens in other lives as well.

An angry look hides a double bed which hosts at least twice as many entitled persons every night, a closet that has become – in order not to miss anything – a room for unwanted guests, a doorbell that rings empty like the mom's phone for hours, without sending back any sign of life. It's dinner time, but there's nothing hot on the table for the diners, the smell of goodness is missing in the air, open arms and sweet words are missing to welcome the little inhabitants who return when it's already dark, their hearts full of shame and a single question that repeats itself in a loop, in the head: at least tonight, at least this time, will someone answer?

The hands in the pockets, the hood over the head and the gaze down towards the ground with the only hope of not meeting friendly faces who can ask you where are you going, why are you alone, where is mom , even at this time is dad still working? Live incognito in an upside-down world where the little ones remind the grown-ups of what they need to know, coincidences with special appointments, day trips and matches, become familiar with alarm clocks, clocks and calendars because you have to know where and when, you have to remember it and not arrive late, managing not to sleep a wink or to open it in time, forced to do it alone, while your little brothers learn from you, to organize their lives so as not to hate it.

I close my eyes and put the hood on my head too, I taste a piece of cold and get lost in a dark corner, I look up at the sky, but it comes more naturally to me a few seconds later in the same place where you look, down to the bottom, too great the weight you carry in your heart. The gestures of abandonment have entered the sad dimension of ordinariness, everyone around you has been overwhelmed by the habit of carelessness that no longer makes any event considered injustice or emergency: if the door is closed, you pass through the window, there is no it is contact with clean linen that tastes like new, the dress is the same as yesterday, yesterday and again yesterday, the boiler and washing machine can be broken for months.

I say hello and nobody answers, the door on the street closes slowly with a creak. I see a child disappearing in the dark. I think about how much loneliness that little heart is enduring. Will he be able to hit again tomorrow, with no one waiting for him, no one looking at him, no one loving him?

Marco Grossetti
NP January 2023

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