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The darkness of the soul

The darkness of the soul

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The darkness of the soul

982 pagine
16 ore
2 ott 2018


"What dark fate combines provincial towns like La Spezia, Pisa and Livorno. What happens in the basement of the Cathedral of Naples or Etruscan tombs of Cerveteri?... What invisible thread binds the tides of Jersey at the sunny beaches of Ascea, the ancient Elea of philosophers?... What mysterious twine spread from the famous Cinque Terre to the lush scenario Yucatan yet disturbing?... Which glow hell will burn Venice?... What fate will concern Rome, the eternal city, and New York, the Babylon of the modern world?..From the torment of Athens to the rebirth of Paris, in a context in which connections are so unsettling that they feel something else, the life of the main character comes close to a mysterious and dangerous world disturbing and apocalyptic scenario project... A game of mirrors where nothing is as it seems... not even the difference between good and evil
2 ott 2018

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The darkness of the soul - Luigi Angelino



of Mr. Lorenzo Cecchinelli

From Air to Earth: a descending parabola that transforms the Soul into Darkness. The novel is divided, in fact, into four parts, Air, Water, Fire and Earth, inspired by the four classical elements of Greek philosophy. The protagonist Mirko is the synthesis of humanity, enclosing in his being all aspects of a modernity that has broken every boundary. It attracts time and events, catalysing the profiles of a decadent civilisation like a magnet, designing the journey of life as a mutation path, the results of which are transfiguring. The Darkness of the soul is a great metaphor that explains the existence constrained by its human logic, which cannot be ignored by abstract connections. Mirko, after all, beyond the unscrupulous appearance, is a virgin, a litmus paper that reacts to life, highlighting the models of a monstrous and degenerative existence. He is a new hedonist, nurtured by relative thought and by the ability to measure his potentiality through experiences, and he does so with freedom of action that leaves no room for any moral remorse. Mirko is a pure being, free from any superstructure of values: his horizons are an open space to travel with the free curiosity of a person without precognition. Not far from being a superman, he travels his life in search of the apex, towards which he is driven by a mysterious force, by the inevitability of fate. The apocalyptic vision of its existence is universalised, following the classical Christian eschatological interpretation of the perennial contraposition between good and evil. But the concept of sin is turned upside down, the experiences of the life of the protagonist result in a disquieting and dreamy reality, but plausible of the current reality. A soul of the protagonist and the world never chastised, entangled in an organised delirium of events without never lose its original purity. Mirko is worthy of being flanked by the great decadent heroes, he is the ideal son of an Andrea Sperelli, or Dorian Gray, an overturned Kafka, wherein his metamorphosis he expresses power and not a minority. The themes of the novel are interwoven as an embroidery touching many topics, always interconnected and that reveal the author's culture. Throughout history, with fantastic but likely interpretations, it delineates theological and philosophical themes never disunited from the plot, fascinates in the plastic and realistic descriptions of the numerous geographical locations, wraps with astronomical and artistic references. Explore the topic of love and sex understood as ferity. And yes, if one thing springs to the reader this is the great manipulative seductiveness of Mirko, erotic and phallocentric, uncontrollable. Some episodes leave you breathless; they marvel, shake and make you reflect. Mirko is detestable as much as fascinating and bewitching. He is frightening, but, at the same time, he is attractive and compelling even when he does not seem to be. A beautiful novel, full-bodied, intense, full of suspensions and variations of register, which glues you to the reading, with the illustration of the life told through the torments of the soul and the community, an in-depth look into the abyss, where consciences lose identity, a hyperbolic journey into the evil that touches, touches, strikes and destroys. Do not expect answers from this book, which will further fuel your doubts, without the claims of complicated and impossible moral solutions. The Darkness of the Soul is a multi-novel, a cinematographic sequence in 3D, like a dream or maybe a nightmare, whose awakening is shaken by a door, slammed by the wind, dramatic and real, which can only accentuate our awareness of being so banally ordinary.


by Mr. Massimiliano Bertolla – lawyer

It takes courage to write a book so voluminous in contrast to today's editorial lines, but above all a lot of skills, qualities that are not lacking to the author, who has been able to create a text articulated in multiple levels of reading, always dense, but brilliant, linear, despite the complexity of a gripping plot full of twists and turns. Already in the first pages, you enter in the life of the novel, you become almost unconscious actors and embracing the many characters that the reader will seem to touch, to perceive their emotions, their weaknesses, joys and fears. The solar and rational Rossana, unattainable that he reached but, at the same time, always suspended; the tragic heroine Nicoletta present in the protagonist's life since childhood; the mysterious and enigmatic Elisa, devoted to an unspeakable destiny; the manipulator but also manipulated Ares; the perfidious Jacques, symbol of evil, opposed to the angelic Jack; the maternal and almost oedipal dramas of Mirko's relationships with his mother, transfigured in the unconditional love that will animate the same protagonist towards his daughter. The novel must be read from top to bottom, letting itself be guided by elegant but always realistic prose, sometimes raw, and only by penetrating the plot you can understand the choices of content, neither obvious nor taken for granted. The great final is the keystone of the whole system, so that the attentive reader, once is closed the book, you can reflect and re-read the memory, first of all, those passages that eventually acquire a clear but disturbing meaning. It's an intelligent novel, which moves in higher sphere, for those readers who want to take up the challenge of letting themselves to questioned on big, important, I would say nodal, themes on the meaning of the existence of the world and of individuals, on a present that may not even be as it seems. For readers who are not afraid to read reality, going beyond...


8th March 2011

The wind at the end of winter shook the branches of the trees along the seafront of the island, in a lunar and desolate landscape appeared Mirko, who walks with an uncertain and furtive step, with the appearance of those who perpetually flee from something or those who are travelling towards an indefinite, unusual, unattainable goal... What is Mirko looking for that night? Not happiness, he has renounced for a while of that, not easy occasions, he has experienced many of that, perhaps he was looking for a last imperceptible hope, a slight beat of wings, a small hook in the sky, a thin line also coming from the other time and another space, to be able to face the incipient spring, to continue living...

He considered again his thoughts, he is still very rational, the melancholy and sadness have never dimmed his clarity, he looks towards an extraordinarily red moon, an omen of misfortunes for ancient civilizations, he looks around, even smiles, he is very peaceful now, since he made his decision...

He studied the phenomenon of the low and high tides of the island, now he knows all schedules. Leaning on the rock on which he had made love in the moonlight many years before, he remains still, he waits in silence, then begins to perceive the slow but incessant flow of water, he was abandoning himself to one last thought ... little Anna, then the water starts to submerge him faster and faster. Mirko no longer feels anything, neither pain, nor relief, nor anguish... He just lets himself go... he is freeing the soul... he does not want to get to spring... no more.



Chapter I


I, one day I will grow, and in the sky of life I will fly, but a child who knows... always easy cannot be the age... then one September night I woke up, the wind on my skin, my body the light of the stars, where was my house and that child playing in a courtyard... I, vagabond that I am a vagabond who is nothing else, I have no money in my pocket, but there is still God up there... Yes, the road is still there, a desert seemed to me the city, but a child who knows, always easy cannot be the age... then one night in September I woke up... the wind on the skin, on my body the light of the stars, who knows where was my house and that child playing in a courtyard... I, vagabond that I am, a vagabond who are nothing else, money in my pocket I have not, but there is still God up there...  

(Io vagabondo - I vagabond, Nomadi) *

7th July 1973

Warm, radiant July ... On the beach, the little Mirko plays with the sand, his blue bucket is overflowing, but he now feels the difficulties, because it arrived the moment to overthrow it to realise ifs he has reached the moment to materialised the castle he had dreamed, a castle maybe inhabited by his fantastic friends. He is not sure of being able to plant it firm and whole in the sand... In fact, when he is turned the bucket upside down, the contained sand comes out, forming an unformed pile, far from the enchanted castle he had dreamed of. Mirko cries, but it is a silent cry, an inner cry, like a pond among high rocks, which with time will widen and erode the same stones... What do you do with your head down, Mirko, and enjoy a little 'sun, the mother says so tanned, while she is lying in the deckchair on which she is listlessly sitting, reading an illustrated news magazine. Anna, forty years, a beautiful woman with a pair of legs still to be admired, she had been one who had driven the suitors mad: one great love, the beloved son, but upon which she had poured all her apprehensions and frustrations.

Mirko does not answer, gets up, goes to the seashore, dips his feet into the water, hears the voices of the other children playing happily... He always has his eyes closed, to hide that silent cry, he opens them for a moment and looking towards the horizon and imagines the merchant ship where his father works, that father too absent and distant, who by now no longer he wants to know or learn to love, but he prefers to leave his image in the space of fantasy and imagination.

The tenuous brightness of the vespers confuses the spirits, another muggy day in July ends at the sound of the waves crashing on the shore. Mirko, go to bed that it's late, I stay a bit in the yard, you can bring with you the bunny that keeps you company. his mother says. The little one obeys, as always, kisses her and goes to bed clutching the bunny, but he fails to fall asleep deeply, he was entering in a state of drowsiness, a sweet unconsciousness. His childish thinking is mixed, producing images in which reality and fantasy become confused... He seems to see shadows, opens and closes his eyes intermittently, but those shadows do not abandon him, and they seem to twirl in a mysterious dance...

12nd October 1974

A bright autumn day on Naples... The usual chaos, the joy and the coming and going of people who do not seem struck by the period of austerity. A few days ago, Mirko started the second class in the elementary school, he skipped the first class, doing the exam from a private, without any difficulty: he was always precocious, intelligent, starting to read before writing, unlike the majority of children. He finds himself in a male class, all of them bigger bully than him, many of whom are accustomed to street life, for them the study is stuff for females or femminielli*, they are trained to think like that for the repeated lessons of life received by fathers, brothers, uncles, cousins, friends... The only one who has solved the problem properly was Mirko Ravella. the teacher says, a bit wary, without too much conviction, arousing the laughter and scoffing looks of almost everyone present... Mirko is embarrassed, would like to sink, his eyes down avoid looking at both the teacher and his companions. In the interval Antonio was approaching him, one of the little boss, who had already tried twice to come to him: Chi caz’ ti credi d’essere solo pché mam’t è maestra pur essa. (Who the fuck, do you think only because your mother is also a teacher). It has nothing to do with this tries to answer Mirko in an Italian incomprehensible to most of his companions. Fam 'nu bucchin (Give me a blow-job) Antonio elegantly replies to him. In the afternoon, unlike the others who spend their time playing football or strolling around the streets of the neighbourhood, Mirko does his homework with diligence, and reads a lot: picture books that are suitable for his age, but also books on geography, he is passionate about it, and his mother regularly buys to him. Every so often in his conscience, emerged the image of his father, which saw for the last time at the beginning of September, then he left on his cargo ship for a distant and almost unpronounceable destination. Mirko spends too much time with her mother and her friends, although he would like a male figure to talk to, confide in, tell his fears and anxiety attacks when he is forced to set foot in the classroom, among those guys from which he feels different and foreign. Then he invents Ricky, a blond and cute imaginary friend; he was drawing inspiration from the character of a recently read story.

22nd September 1976

On the day of the first communion, Mirko is very excited, he prepared himself diligently for the event, he was in fact the only one of the catechism course who studied all the subjects with passion, elaborating them with intelligence and doing often thorny and profound questions that the teachers, unprepared, conformist and superficial, dismissed with short and deceptive answers. On that fateful morning, he feels that a thousand thoughts have taken him, even from the fear of not being able to participate in that mystery that is too complex and unattainable: The Body of Christ will enter into him. Mirko wear the sagum makes his mother we have to go to church for the pictures. There is also his father, finally. At least for that long-planned ceremony, he managed to free himself from work, but he always looks absent. With his wife he speaks very little, Mirko feels intense tensions, with him his father appears kind, tries to take an interest, but it is absent, perhaps he has remained with his mind on his ship, or lost in who knows what thoughts. Mirko is wonderful, light brown hair, big dark eyes, a beautiful face; no doubt resembles his mother... On the altar is imposed a general joy and laughter, a few children, including Mirko himself, they are focused and think about what they are doing. The ceremony proceeds without jolts between photographs, confusion, sermons, an indistinct set of promises that will never be maintained and hopes that will be irreparably broken.

During the night, exhausted by a tiring day, Mirko will dream of being on a distant island in a small hut with his friend Ricky who comforts him, kisses him, hugs him, reassures him...

24th December 1976

The Christmas period in Naples is always fantastic, a mixture of religious tradition, popular enthusiasm and liveliness all in Neapolitan style... The lights, the decorations, the voices, all contribute to making the magic atmosphere in the eyes of Mirko, who still he lives Christmas with the typical eyes of the child, and since the morning he has already meditated on the surprises that the eve of the eve will reserve for him: family dinner, exchange of gifts and then probably midnight Mass.

Wash your hair, come on, do not waste my time. his mother tells him...

I do not want to, now let me finish reading the child replies. This simple tit for tat provoke an uncontrolled reaction in her, she gets closer, gives him a strong slap and throws him to the ground. Mirko remains motionless, does not cry, she continues to rant: You are my ruin... You and your father are my ruin. The child continues to remain motionless, is afraid that she may have an even worse crisis, then to suddenly the mother calms down. For the eve dinner, in the company of her cousins Flora and Giorgio, Anna, she is very considerate of her son, feeling guilty for the rage of the morning. The adults fill the sad child with presents, whose soul already seems to sail towards distant and unknown shores. With kind words, he thanked the mismatched couple, she tall and skeletal, he short and stocky, while with the delicate little hands rotates the helm of the model ship received as a gift, for a moment he sees the image of a handsome dark-haired man walking on the deck of a grey ship, but it is not his father... At midnight mass Mirko sits with his mother and other women, not with the children of his age and already thinks that with the new year he will begin to the be an altar boy, as promised by the parish priest some months before. The solemnity of the celebration succeeds in involving him and carries him to an almost fairy size, also because of the sleep that at that time of night looms aggressively. Reopening and closing his eyes several times, it seems to him that the two white marble angels, on either side of the altar, are tinged with red.

22nd July 1977

It had been an absurd summer so far. The Azores anticyclone had not done its duty; many perturbations had followed one another, alternating with flashes of good weather. But that week the heat had finally exploded and the lucky ones who were on holiday at sea could still enjoy the pleasures of the sea breeze. Mirko had made friends with a peer named Antonio, a nearby umbrella at the beach club called Mermaid, after their respective mothers had become familiar, discovering interests and tastes in common. That afternoon, however, Antonio had not gone to the sea, struck by a strange viral shape at the throat and Mirko played alone on the seashore, trying to collect the lighter polished stones, which he systematically placed in a large bucket. His mother was reading a magazine in a distracted way lying on the sand. Mrs Ravella, Mrs Ravella. Madam Caterina, the owner of the rented house, is approaching her: You received a call from your cousin from Naples, maronna mia (oh my God), I do not know how to tell you, she told me that she knew, I did not understand from whom, that your husband, a 'maronna (Oh my God), he's... he's dead . Anna does not blink an eye, remains petrified, not so much for the pain but for the surprise. The woman looks at her son, thinks of how to tell him, she was hating the moments of uncertainty and embarrassment and, in her heart, still curses her husband who now forces her to have to play the part of the distraught wife. We have to go back to Naples, Dad has had an accident she turns to his son. But how's Daddy? He's dead, she whispers all in one breath with her tearful face. They will know that the absent father / husband had had a heart attack in the engine room and that the first aid medical help had proved useless.

15th November 1978

Life without a father brings no substantial change since in reality there had never been. Mirko became more and more a handsome kid, now almost eleven years old and began attending middle school. A very difficult insertion in a purely male school, badly attended, full of bullies and boys accustomed to street life, by age and extraction far more violent than those crossed in elementary school he appears, in the eyes of everyone, always as the most intelligent, the best, the most sensitive, and for these qualities he is targeted and becomes the target of insults of most of the class. He is nicknamed Maria, a bit 'considered different and also because it is the favourite of the teacher of letters, which is precisely called Maria. The shyness forces him to remain secluded, not to participate in the sports activities of his companions, if not in the hours of physical education, which for him are the cruellest torment, especially when he must undress in the locker room. While everyone laughs and jokes, he blushed from embarrassment and shame. That day it is raining heavily, leaving the school Mirko, as always solitary, advances, he does not want to do the way to home with his companions, not to have ridiculed from them and to finally find a moment of peace. While he skirts the isolated street struck by a phenomenal downpour, he hears the horn of a car, sees the intermittent lights. The car approaches it. Come on; we'll take you home, you will not arrive at home with this rain. It is Antonio, his repeating school year classmate, next to his brother Pasquale, a twenty-year-old lean and dazed; behind two other boys over eighteen to twenty, which Mirko imagines are friends of the latter. Do not worry, ten minutes and I'm home, Mirko replies. But you're just stupid, come on, get behind, there is no place... What the fuck are you afraid of?. He is undecided; it is the first time that someone from that school shows him a little of solidarity and interest. In the end, he yields. All right, I'm going up, thanks anyway ... but where do you go, you do not go to my house.

Nun t’ preoccupà, facim nu gir chiù luong (don't worry, we are doing a long route), the streets were flooded, Pasquale says and smiling to others. Is it true that you like cock? Laughs one of the two sitting behind, between which framed him, taking his head in his hands and pushing it towards his legs. Mirko then understands that they are not going to bring him home, he knows he has fallen into a trap, he feels a sense of fear and panic, he asks and implores to get him out of the car... They are approaching a country where was located a ruined house... Get off from there and nun ti lamentà senò t’accirim e mazzat. (otherwise, I'll take you by blows) The three big boys push him into a narrow and dark space, threatening him with a knife, while Antonio also attends the scene a little surprised. After half an hour, they take him back home. Now, if you say a single word you're dead ... one of the thugs screams ... Mirko gets out of the car thoroughly wet, dirty, profaned; he starts to go slowly towards home, does not know what an apology to tell his mother for the delay.

What happened to you? I came to meet you; I went to talk with Professor Gatto, now I was going to the Carabinieri . Sorry mum, I stayed to play with Antonio, and we are a bit held back he replies with little conviction. Take a hot bath straight away, get off your clothes otherwise you get pneumonia, Anna tells him worriedly. Sure mother" the son answers her, anxious to disappear and immediately immerse herself in the tub. Mirko soaks in the water, gets rid of dirt and moisture, lingers on her private parts, known as his pea has recently grown, touches himself, gets stiff, starts instinctively to move it vertically... At the end of the convulsive movement, has its first ejaculation.

Now he feels guilty, confused, not so much for the humiliations he has suffered, but because he is afraid of his own excitement.

26th April 1979

The sun's rays illuminate the cloister of the convent of the Capuchin friars on that bright spring afternoon. Mirko is already sitting with the others waiting for the arrival of Maria Grazia, the catechist who prepares the boys for confirmation. That day the catechist is late, and they take the opportunity to laugh and joke, throwing balls of cards. Excuse me for the delay, but I went to take my nephew Nicoletta, Maria Grazia says, pointing to a tall girl for her eleven years, with a slightly pale face, a frightened look that seems to reveal a great shyness. During the entire lesson, Nicoletta's eyes continually intersect with those of Mirko, as if they both saw the signs of suffering and loneliness in the other. He has already learned to read on the faces of others the sadness, that same state of alienation that has belonged to him for some time. At the end of the lesson, he finds a little courage to approach her and says, But will you come every Friday? I do not think, only today I accompanied my aunt, replies Nicoletta, looking down and appear intimidated even more from that sudden contact. Then she turns her back, moves her hair from her forehead, and follows her aunt to the exit, turning once to nod with her right hand. In vain Mirko hopes to see her again soon, Nicoletta will not come back to accompany her aunt until the end of the course in preparation for confirmation.

18th May 1980

On a warm spring afternoon, Mirko crosses quickly with his mother to the Acton street to go to the Rowing Club at the weekly swimming course. It is unusually hot to be still May, he has the shirt attached to the skin, sweat trickle and does not even have too much desire to dive into the crowded pool. He likes to swim and is also good, but his intense shyness leads him to always remain on the side-lines and not to socialise with others. This particular aspect also determines a sports performance lower than the average of the other boys. He is always upset when after the lesson, during the change and the ritual shower in the locker room, he is watching the big boys naked. Mirko, today you have been great, Sergio said, a nice sixteen-year-old. I'm living near here, why do not you come to my house? I'm sorry, but my mother is waiting for me, I cannot. Let's do it the next time, come on, come without your mum, Sergio resumes with a wink, while he arranges the pea in the briefs, lingering a bit. Mirko, glancing at him, he said hello with his face completely red and heads for the exit. How did it go today? His mother tells him, who every time tries to see signs of disappointment or satisfaction on her son's face. Well, as usual, he replies laconically and meanwhile he thinks of the lost opportunity to stay sometime in the company of Sergio, who among other things looks like a good boy, very different from his tormentors and rough schoolmates. The evening he remains impressed by the horror film The Abominable Doctor Phibes, inspired by the revenge of a doctor against a specialist team, they were guilty of having caused the death of his wife during an operation. The terrible old man took his revenge, inflicting on each of the members one of the seven plagues with which the God of the Old Testament had punished Egypt. Mirko is already attracted to religious and esoteric subjects. After watching the film tries to fall asleep but those raw images come back to mind: grasshoppers, mice and other tortures are confused among them...

1st June 1980

The last week of school has arrived and with it the long-awaited holidays, but Mirko already knows that he will get bored for the entire month of June, at least until they leave for the sea. In the last period, the pressures of the comrades have diminished. Indeed, he has managed to make friends with some boys and has learned to distance himself from the most dangerous and violent. He never talked about the unfortunate episode in the first year with anyone. That afternoon, after a two-week conviction, he manages to persuade his mother to stay home and go alone to the swimming course. This time he intends to accept Sergio's invitation, on the contrary, he hopes that the young man will invite him again. Arrived in the locker room, he starts to change and looks around, but he does not see him... He is now resigned, he is heading with the others in the corridor towards the pool when he is aware that Sergio is already in position to dive. Try to reach him, but he has already plunged and is swimming fast strokes. Mirko waits anxiously for his turn and then dives, looking for him in the water and, when he sees him, he greets him with his hand and reaches him. Today I came alone, tells him when he is finally close to him. Well, well, finally far from mother's skirts. Then after the lesson, you come to me and winks at him... I undress... it's hot her Sergio remains completely naked. Do not be shy... Undress you too, what do you think I did not understand what you want to do...? Mirko does not consider this a dirty situation, but the biggest friend guides him. Reached the peak of pleasure, Sergio changes his attitude, becomes cold and says This thing starts and ends here, nobody should know, lighting a cigarette and looking at him.

Of course, of course answers Mirko confused. The scornful air of the older boy pierces him, then he looks down, strives to hold back the tears, after all, he is still a child, but he resists, goes straight to the door in the wrong direction. From here Sergio guides him, giving him a pat on the ass and winking with a bright blue eye.

23rd November 1980

That Sunday in November is unusually hot, the thermometer exceeds twenty degrees, while the day slips away dull and ordinary.

Towards evening, Fiocchetto, the kitten that the boy had adopted a few years ago, is very restless, during the dinner disappears and hides. A sudden rumble, accompanied by a startling and undulating movement that seems to last for an eternity, upsets Mirko's senses. His scared mother starts screaming. It's the earthquake, let's put ourselves under the master wall. Immediately afterwards they hear a general commotion... The screams of the person, the panic in the street... Afterwards, it's all a succession of frenetic and confusing images... Throughout during the night, in the streets of Naples, chaos reigns, people poured out in the streets for the concern of an unspecified aftershock. Mirko and his mother, in the company of the cat in a basket, spend time in the church, they considered it a haven, not only as a dwelling place of God but, primarily, because of the solidity of the foundations and the type of construction resisted to the passing of the centuries. Mirko observes everything in a confused but logical way, urging his mother to go home, annoyed by the panic of the crowd piled up in the catacombs of the church. Although very young, he shows the ability to analyse problems lucidly and rationally. He was walking through the dark caves; the image of the fish captures his attention, portrayed many times in those narrow spaces. Father Aldo had explained that, for the ancient Christians persecuted by the Romans, the fish was used to symbolize Jesus Christ, because in Greek the word ictiùs, which means fish, could be used as an acronym to formulate the phrase Iesus Cristos teou uiòs soter , that is Jesus Christ, son of God Saviour. Even in the confusion of the moment, the mind of the boy makes a jump in the abstract, for a moment the image of the fish overlaps that of a monstrous insect...

5th July 1981

Mirko is now a handsome boy of thirteen, he finished junior high school a year earlier, with the judgment of excellent, and some teachers had also told his mother: If we had to attribute only one top marks in all the school, we would have certainly given it to her son. It's a sweltering July, Mirko on the beach manages to stay in the sun for a short time and prefers to stay under the umbrella or immerse himself continuously in the transparent water. He also likes to take long swims, moving away enough from the shore, which arouses considerable concern in his mother. Mirko, do you want to come for a walk with us? Gioia calls him, a blonde girl one year older than him, the daughter of an old friend of Anna's. With her, there is her brother Giovanni and a skinny girl named Stefania. Ok, I'm coming! And he walks with them on the shore with his feet in the water, heading towards the cliff. Mirko cultivates a secret crush on Gioia but considers her unreachable, also because she is older than him and with interests for the boys from sixteen years onwards. He had several erections when they met and kissed her on the cheek, but he always blushed with shyness and embarrassment. What do you think if all together we go to the amusement park tonight at the end of the country? Giovanni says. Yes, I like, said Gioia and you, Mirko, what do you say? Yes, I'm there with a little-forced smile, but enthusiastic at the same time. That evening his mother prepares a light dinner of fried fish, salad and fruit. Mirko feels excited about the upcoming release and, after a long reflection, chooses to wear a T-shirt, green sneakers and light jeans. He admires himself in the mirror: he already has a good body and shows a few more years compared his age. As soon as they meet, Gioia looks beautiful in his eyes. She is wearing a black blouse and tight black jeans, pink boat shoes, a string of eyeshadow and lipstick. Who will stop the music. The air becomes electric, and a man does not tame the Pooh* sing, while the group reaches the amusement park. Mirko feels strangely cheerful and light-hearted, finally comes out with an exponent of the other sex, and this makes him feel like the boys of his age, who had always boasted of running after the females. Giovanni flirts in a clear way with Stefania, and when they arrive at the roller coaster, they run up on a free car for two. Mirko has never been on that attraction and has a heart in his throat, but does not dare to refuse to climb, does not want to make the figure of the girl. Gioia takes him by the hand and pulls him on the next car. Laughter, music, joy, Mirko forgets his fear and lets himself be overwhelmed by the vortex of that infernal machine, and while Gioia squeezes his leg with her soft right hand, the boy feels a strong erection. But where did go Gio and Stefania? Mirko exits from the amusement park. Come on ... Did not you understand? Those are staying together, now they will surely be to snog each other, Gioia says and adds look at this evening, would you like to sit on the beach? Mirko is confused; he seems to live a dream, now he would like that all his classmates were seeing him at that precise moment in the company of that beautiful blonde... Sitting on the beach, Gioia smiles. Do you know that you're really cute? Thank you; you are ... you are, um ... already very beautiful... but answers a bit confused and embarrassed. Then he says something without thinking, which does not know where he comes from: Do you want to be my girlfriend? Gioia smiling and answers yes then expecting that to seal the decision, the other comes close to kiss her, but Mirko was taken from a new attack of shyness and remains watching the sea in silence, too surprised by her own courage and the affirmative answer of the girl. Time to go, take me home? She says after a few minutes.

Of course, of course ... and they walk towards the centre of the town. That evening Mirko falls head down, is dazed because he finally thinks of being with a girl, but knows he missed the opportunity to kiss her, as usual, you have to do between sweethearts.

- All right - said to himself - tomorrow I will try to kiss her in a secluded place. –

8th July 1981

In the following days, in vain Mirko had looked for Gioia to invite her to take a walk and to be able to kiss her. The girl had always hidden, or she was not found at the beach where she had an umbrella or was denied, making others to say she was unwell or having a headache.

Mirko senses that he has missed an excellent opportunity and is almost resigned, but that morning, around eleven o'clock, as he is coming out of the water after a long swim, he sees Gioia appear, recognisable from any distance by her fair skin reddened, more than tanned. She walks smiling in her white swimsuit and her natural blond hair swaying up to her shoulders.

Are you one of us tonight? We'd like to go back to the amusement park, she says with a radiant smile. Well, I have to think about it ... Mirko can even be ironic, even if he is getting very exciting for that invitation. A tonight then, now I have to go, I promised my mother to accompany her to the market... At nine o'clock in front of the central cafe, the girl adds, moving away. Hi Gioia, Mirko smiles. That evening is very emotional, he eats little and quickly, stops to watch a bright sunset on the sea from the backyard, but those days of July are still endless, there is still a lot of light on the horizon. That evening Mirko chooses Lacoste blue t-shirt, dark jeans, Nike sneakers. Brush his thick brown hair, repeatedly looking at his watch to avoid arriving early. At 20 and 55 o'clock, he leaves the house, and after five minutes, he is already in front of the central cafe. Friends have not come yet and Mirko impatiently, to deceive the time, makes twice around the block. After another ten minutes, he sees Giovanni and Stefania hand in hand, followed a little further back by Gioia and another boy. This is Carlo, a schoolmate of Giovanni; he came to stay a few days with us. Mirko shakes hands with that handsome dark-haired boy, sporty, about sixteen years, who looks like a person that know-how to do with girls. Throughout the evening Giovanni kisses and hugs Stefania, while Gioia laughs and jokes with Carlo, who shows off his most captivating looks like a handsome teenager, to conquer the girl. Mirko always remains on the side-lines, sometimes fits into their conversations, but Carlo always manages to ridicule him and to capture all the attention on himself. When the other couple came out to snog, Gioia with Carlo also started holding hands towards the beach. Mirko lumps in his throat for humiliation; he feels a stabbing pain in his chest. I'm going home; I'm tired...".

Come on, come on, Gioia says absently, while Carlo is increasingly impatient.

No sorry. Sorry, I'm tired, bye.

You're already back Mirko, how did it go, did you have fun? Anna asks worriedly. She knows her son's shyness and anxiety. She was delighted that he had finally found some friends to spend evenings. Yes, mother ... now I go to bed. The mother looks at him, knows him well, knows he is suffering. Do you want a cup of milk? No, I go to the bathroom and bed, goodnight.

Mirko tightens the pillow on his face, not to be heard, and cries a lot...

26th July 1981

That morning, around ten o'clock, the temperature has already exceeded thirty degrees, plus there is a noticeable rate of humidity, an unusual element for that seaside resort, always breezy and with a pleasant and temperate climate. Mirko does nothing but get wet continuously, or stays in the shade reading an adventure novel. Walking along the shore, he meets the gaze of a dark-haired girl, maybe a year older than him. My name is Anna, she says smiling. I'm Mirko, he answers a bit awkward. Do you want to do a walk?... And they walk towards the north side of the beach. At one point Anna approaches and kisses him on the mouth with her tongue... an intense kiss, never tried before. The time seems to stop, the light of summer seems even clearer and brighter. The Saracen Tower, perched on the cliff, seems to him an ancient protective god. He is amazed by the initiative of the unknown, but he gets excited as it had never happened before... After a long walk by the sea, they decide to return to the beach of Mirko. Are you here these days?, he said. No, we came only for today ... Now I have to reach my mother waiting for me. Anyway, you're cute. If I come back, I would like to see you again... My name is Anna... Anna Carlucci. Mirko thinks that maybe he will not see her again. How much he would like to be with her for a few days, carry her around, show her to Gioia and others. Anna Carlucci will remain the short meeting of a summer afternoon, but he will always remember her, he will never forget that first kiss. Even to Anna that kiss will remain imprinted, also if she does not have more news of that beautiful and shy boy, if not so much... so long after....

25th September 1981

The students were eagerly waiting in the atrium of the school to get information on the composition of the classes. Mirko already knows his course, he was included in the B class, considered the best in high school. The boys enter the classroom a bit frightened and confused; they were occupying the school desks randomly. Mirko sits at the second school desk in the row on the side of the windows, next to a tall, slightly bowed boy, with whom he exchanges a shy greeting. Teacher of letters, Mrs Gerani, who is considered an excellent and demanding teacher, starts to appeal. Today and for the whole week, you will come out from school at 11:30, from next Monday you will have the final timetable divided into five hours per day, she says apodictically.

At the end of the lesson, Mirko sees a familiar face. - But I know her, where did I see her? - thinks to himself.

Hi, do you remember... I'm Nicoletta; I came once with my aunt, your catechist of confirmation the girl says with a little voice made raspy by the emotion. Yes, hi Nicoletta, you too here, I remember you...

Chapter II


The rush of the heart is already a novelty, which behind a newspaper is changing opinion and the evil of the day and a few miles south of my return, of my good morning... but it is gliding in the worst motel... of this Carretera... of this life dancehall... it's a planar flight to be nailed down here... crucified on the wall but how to remember it now... I'm not a lady... one with all-stars in life... I am not a lady... but one for whom the war is never over... oh no oh no... I am a silver leaf, fallen from a tree felled there and that would like to chase the wind, but that does not make it... oh but what a bad effort to fall a few meters beyond my misfortune, my fear ... it's a flight to plaint glide to be remembered here, not to know how to fly, but how to remember it now... I'm not a lady with all-stars in life... I'm not a lady but one for whom the war is never over... I'm not a lady, one with too many signs in the for life... oh no ... oh no.

(Non sono una signora - I'm not a lady, Loredana Bertè) *

9th January

Leaving school, he pauses to talk to Nicoletta, but she appears even shyer than he is, remains awkward, exchanges a few words and then slips away. Mirko goes home, backpackers, pensive, and walks the ten minutes of walking, without particular hurry to return. He has no particular perspectives for the afternoon: the usual hours of study, then around 18 in the church, and finally a dull evening watching television with his mother.

After the Mass, he was carrying out the post of head of the ministrants; the new pastor praises him: You are an awake and precise boy, I believe that your destiny is to follow the path of God. Indeed, for a while time, Mirko will think that his destiny is to become a priest. When the only voice is silence, he goes out of the vestibule and stops to arrange the various furnishings in the drawers. As ghosts that come out of the darkness, two boys approaching him and they begin to insult him with epithets. Mirko quickly manages to gain the exit of the monastery on the side of the sanctuary, crossing at a fast pace the wide balustrade of the choir, and goes out in the starry evening, he was sad and lonely. Those days have neither the promising light of dawn nor the polychromatic glitz of the sunset for the unfortunate teenager.

16th February

Since the end of January, temperatures have averaged only a few degrees above zero. Now in the classroom, the forces were already outlined; the best were, undoubtedly, Mirko and Mario, as was clear from the report cards of the first quarter.

The rival is a dark boy, with his hair always ruffled and thick glasses, very inserted in the political activity of the school. Over time it will become the real driver of the periodic assemblies of the class and the entire school. Mario also has a significant influence on his companions, for which he soon became a point of reference. Mirko, on the other hand, is not able to overcome shyness, always remaining isolated and on the margins of social activities, even if he is brilliant in performance, more for natural skills than for the actual time that he spent in the study.

That morning, during the hours of class, Mirko appears very nervous, has long felt that growing in his chest intense anxiety, which often turns into crying, more than loneliness or in strong quarrels with the mother. During the Greek lesson, he often participates to interrupt the banal and somewhat incomplete exposition of the teacher of letters Mrs Gerani, laughing again and again in an inappropriately way, even he cannot explain well the reason for that behaviour. He has an uncontrolled reaction, a strange desire for leadership.

Ravella, now enough the teacher screams but who do you think you are? Exit immediately and take an example from Bianchi, who besides being a good student, everyone loves him. Perhaps she notices that the sentence was too offensive, but she cannot go back and lose her face in front of the class, then with a fixed gaze, she let him sit outside.

It's just a bitch, she exaggerated, Rossana says, the prettiest in the class, long brown hair and blue eyes, when she comes out ten minutes later with the excuse to go to the bathroom. In fact, but what should I do? Mirko replies with a half-smile. See you later, Rossana smiles in turn. He pauses to look at the waving walk of the girl and thinks it would be wonderful to be with her, who in that period flirts with Mario Bianchi.

10th March

On March 10, 1982, all the planets, of the solar system, were aligned on the same axis: a unique astronomical event, which the teacher of mathematics Sanna does not fail to illustrate to their students. In nine days, the Falkland war between the United Kingdom and Argentina would break out, ten weeks of violent clashes that earned Thatcher the title of Iron Lady.

Mirko loved his cat, his inseparable companion for six years, but that afternoon, left alone at home, he starts to feel strange urges and chasing after the cat. Then he grabs it, and without knowing why, he tramples his tail, putting his hands to his throat and stopping only when the cat emits atrocious screams of fear and suffering. He marvelled at his actions, after all, he had always loved him. That evening, during the Mass, he took the communion without confessing the violence on the cat. He has not forgotten it, nor does he do so by superficiality, but wishes to omit that sacrament of Christian grace deliberately. He almost feels an enjoyment to counter to the religious precept; he was starting to be attracted by transgression and lies.

29th April

Spring is flowing fast, Mirko gets high marks in all subjects and is now sure to achieve the same final average of Bianchi. Mirko, Fabio, come and get a dessert, there are, Cora, Nicoletta and I, also. It's my birthday, Rossana says suddenly when she leaves school. The five awkward little boys enter in a cafe and the birthday girl distributes the pastries. What are you doing here?. Anna enters in the cafe; she is teaching in a primary school near their high school. Mum, it's Rossana's birthday, we came to celebrate. Ah, well, the woman says and smiling, Best wishes, Rossana. Thank you, Madame. See you, guys she replies, happy to have finally seen his son in the company of peers.

At the moment to say goodbye, Rossana kisses Mirko on the cheek, while Nicoletta on the side-lines looks a bit confused. The boy, returning home, is in seventh heaven, but does not want to delude himself, does not believe that the most beautiful and admired girl of the class can be with him.

Mirko, come on, Dallas starts. Mother and son do not lose for any reason an episode of the television series that would soon become a phenomenon of custom. I read that tonight Sue Hellen will betray J.R, Anna adds... At 21:50, at the end of the episode of Dallas, the phone rings. Madam, I'm sorry for the time, I'm Rossana, could I talk to Mirko? Sure, don't worry, I'll pass him right away, Anna says with a dazzling smile. Mirko, for you. Hi, Rossana. They comment the episode of Dallas, and together they burst out laughing...

15th June

Mirko spends the whole spring with anxiously for the marks, afraid of being overtaken by Mario. The football world championships in Spain have begun and keeping him busy full-time in front of the television, on those warm evenings already summer. Until then, he had not found the courage to ask Rossana to take a walk together, and even their telephone conversations had gradually reduced until it disappeared entirely at the end of the school year.

Mirko, the school results are published his mother calls him. You had 7 in Greek subject as well as in English subject she adds, implying 8 in all other subjects.

And Bianchi? All 8 his mother replies. It might seem absurd that such news provokes dismay in a fourteen-year-old boy, but that's Mirko's reaction, that in his room he abandons himself to desperate crying. Scholastic success was the only objective and satisfaction for him, in a period of sadness and loneliness, in an age that in the collective imagination should be characterised by entertainment and light-heartedness. He slams his head against the wall several times, wishing to be stunned because at that moment he sees everything black and dark. Mirko has strange thoughts, even going so far as to think that if the God to whom he devoted so much time, serving him in the daily rituals, did not want to help him, then he would almost have preferred to turn to Satan. Enough that it lifts him up before the world and his enemies. They are the confused thoughts of a boy, dictated by the sadness and the awareness of feeling different from the mass, but destined to grow, to develop, like seeds that give life to a tree with intertwined branches so far from the root.

After a dull zero between Peru and Cameroon, Mirko goes to bed, but as often happens it has the marble member and does not want to say the prayers, as they taught him as a child. They come to mind images of a film seen secretly, sometime before; it even remembers the title, Portrait of the bourgeoisie in black, where a young Ornella Muti* fucks with a handsome young man and even with his mature mother of him. He is attracted to that murky situation; he seems to remember that in that film the son of the woman was even in love with the young lover of his mother, in short, an intriguing situation that fascinates and excites him.

11st July

You will have an immature woman and a young pain, avenues of burning leaves to burn your heart .... Claudio Baglioni* depopulated that summer. Mirko has slightly overcome the disappointment of the grade, 7, in Greek subject, devoting himself in the morning to diving in the crystal-clear sea and walks on the beach of Ascea* and long bike rides in the afternoon. He still has no friends, he is almost always alone, sometimes he accepts the invitations of Gioia, also this year accompanied by Carlo, primarily, he rarely goes out to please his mother, who continues to repeat that he cannot always be alone.

Bearzot's* Italy surprised everyone, after qualification in the next round in the ridiculous group, it managed to overtake Argentina, Brazil's favourite, and Poland in the semi-final, coming unexpectedly to the final match against Germany. Mirko and his mother had followed the previous matches in the home of a friend, a grocer, all friendly but straightforward people, fun and hospitality were assured. Even that night for superstition reasons go to the same place, there is great trepidation for the event, in Italy now it is none other than talk about this significant undertaking.

Champions... Champions... Champions.... It will remain in history the scream of the famous radio station Nando Martellini* and immediately burst the joy in all the cities of Italy, grand celebrations that will last for the whole of that memorable and fantastic night. Even in that small town of Cilento, people abandon themselves to the most unbridled enthusiasm, Mirko and his mother, after hugs spilled with the vision companions, go to the central cafe to attend the revelry with a friend of his mother, the picturesque Mrs Mutilante, always in an in-fighting trim to give orders to poor husband, Giustino.

12nd August

It was time for the first trip abroad for Mirko and his mother: Lourdes... They had already visited Italian cities: Florence, Venice, Rome, but this time the idea of participating in a pilgrimage organised by the church had matured.

Mirko had always been passionate about geography since he was a child he had researched all the European capitals, he was talking about it, as if he had been there. The long bus ride had bored him, too many seniors, and with the few boys that there were here, he had not been able to get to know each other. That day participates in religious celebrations at the famous cave. The place impresses him enough: the rocky massif, which the rock dug into, is called massabielle, that is old rock and is composed of three openings not the same, the largest was become, for a long time, a place to celebrate mass.

During the midday religious function, Mirko cannot concentrate, in his thoughts are coming strange concerns, he meditates on his future, so far, so uncertain, then he has a sudden erection, not in keeping with the surrounding environment. In the previous months, he had devoted himself to various esoteric readings, taking some books from the convent library. He was increasingly fascinated by the figure of Lucifer, the most beautiful angel, renegade because he had dared to challenge God's authority... In the midst of so many people he has almost a dreamlike vision, he imagines being in the middle of dark and hooded figures, celebrating orgiastic rituals. Mirko is no longer ashamed of his sexual impulses but is learning to create a mask that defends him from the outside world, acquiring abstraction from the reality that it will characterise him in the following years. He tries not to show himself as an open book, not faking consciously, but almost he was creating an involuntary outer shell, different from his real personality, and, at the same time, an integral part of it, in other words, a game of mirrors, strange concentric circles. Mirko, how you are absorbed... are you in ecstasy? Anna tells him. Yes, mom, I prayed, he said.

In the afternoon they visit Pau, a historic city in the Pyrenees, in the Aquitaine region, famous above all for its castle, the former residence of the Foix counts. During the return journey by bus, Mirko remains enchanted by the look of a man in his late twenties, tall, blond, electric blue eyes. The two strangers stare at each other, smiling at a distance. Mirko, I go to the toilet in that cafe, do not go away, please his mother warns him when they arrived in Lourdes.

With an audacity that he does not know he owns, he takes a slip of paper from his pocket and writes Men's room in the hall of the Hotel Villeneuve at 9:30 pm and delivers it stealthily in the hands of the man... In the evening, after dinner, he got used to it to spend some time in the hotel lobby chatting with father Girolamo, the parish priest who accompanies them on the pilgrimage, while Anna prefers to go to her room to rest. He intends to use this moment of freedom to meet the man...

His mother decides to return to the room. Mirko, do not come at your room late. No, mother, do not worry, he replies quivering, as he peers at his watch... At 21.25 he sees the strange stranger enter, their eyes meet, the man drinks something at the hotel cafe, then asks the waiter where the toilet is and go on... After a few minutes, while Father Girolamo is holding a tedious discussion about the world's hunger, Mirko apologises, saying he has to go to the bathroom...

They lean on two adjacent sinks. Here it's dangerous, tomorrow evening, I've booked a room in this hotel ... come to me the man tells him with an enigmatic and bewitching smile... Ok Mirko whispers. Then the man disappears, after having glanced at him with his electric blue eyes.

13th August

Last night I got addicted talking with Father Girolamo, he's an exceptional person, Mirko says, going to make it clear to his mother that he would be late that tonight. Ok if this distracts yourself, come later to the room. Meanwhile, I fall asleep. That evening the priest is late, Mirko curses him mentally anyway because if his mother does not see him chat with him, do not decide to leave.

Here we are, my dear boy the priest arrives. Mirko was waiting for you to talk a little, Anna says, yawning. It's a joy, Madame; this boy has a great future, I already see it written in the heart of God.

Father, I'm going to sleep, he says after an hour of conversation, who had already flown with his mind in the room 332... He starts silently in the elevator on the third floor, looks around

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