domenica 18 settembre 2011

Like a duckling

We lived in a white villa at the feet of the Aventine hill. The villa, a snowy duckling hatching its eggs (us) in the middle of a big green garden run by invisible boundaries. The "pratone" (the big meadow) where bush and pine trees were kings and queens; the "praticello" (small green) where my brothers used to play soccer because the grass was cut as short as a shaven head of a marine and the "boschetto (little wood), the reign of shadows, where the sun was banned for good. Then there was the "stradone", the big brown path that led to our door,  the runway for our bike turmoils.
Two terraces crowned the beauty of the house. One was pink with cotto and spread with daisy tiles; the other, carpeted with river pebbles, was all ups and downs because of the madness of the pine roots that seemed to emerge from hell...
The villa too was  divided into two. On the two top storeys that tickled the sky lived the Salini family; on the ground floor, flowers and grass on our nose, the Ponti family, us. To me, as a little girl, the garden was all in the wooden shed lost in the pratone, full of useless ladders and shovels and rusty mysterious tools: my hiding place, my shelter. All of a sudden, a flash in my memory. I am running mad towards my little green hut,  a little thing of about six years old, I am running and my father is after me, shouting and green with rage. I run and run, but he is closer and closer. Then I turn around, stiff and still, and: "You fag" I shout. I do not know ther meaning of that word but, to me, it's like a scratch. I close my eyes, waiting for the blow. That never came. When I opened my eyes, one at a time, my father was laughing red faced and all.