NEXT TO HER


I've known a girl for a long time. She is a very special girl. She doesn't like being in a crowd, letting go, she loves reflection, the humor that comes from knowing how to live, the sweetness of a late summer afternoon. For me some of her actions are still full of mystery: when she is listless, unfriendly, when she does not believe in herself and she says that she will never make it happen to her great dream of hers. Yet I see her infinitely beautiful mirroring herself from the Ponte Vecchio in the waters of the Arno, she with glasses, she without stilettos and fishnet stockings, she who doesn't wear makeup if she's a little down. Talking to other people, someone tells me that she is immature, or that she is not determined, that she is too pessimistic and they keep telling her that luck favors the bold, that nothing is impossible, and so on. I see her sleeping lying on the sofa, on her legs there is always Amadeus, her cat, her black curly hair is unkempt: that's the only moment she is really mine. For the rest of the day and night she struggles to be part of the world: she studies, works, loves photography, painting exhibitions, cinema, is a radio speaker, reads a lot and is afraid of people. I would hit her when I see that she feels inferior to people who are not worth a quarter of her, when she disappears among people among whom she should make her way. Then suddenly I hear her crying, at night, in her room, in the dark and I would like to tell her that she should not worry, that she is stronger than what she herself believes. At lunch I hear her talk with so much enthusiasm about what she wants to do with her, about her love for Florence. At dinner I see her exhausted, as unfathomable as the night. When she tried to kill herself I felt like I was suffering with her, a night spent struggling to start waking up every morning with the courage to live. Who is this girl I love so much? Why, despite her insecurity, do I blindly believe in her? She seems beautiful, intelligent, it seems to me that she does not lack anything to be happy, instead ... I see her suffering in a terrible way. At her age I would have liked to be like her too, but I didn't have the courage because one would have to be too little afraid of loneliness to do so. She does not accept compromises, she criticizes men too much, she has too much faith in friendships, yet if I were a man I would fall in love with them. She is full of flaws: she is fussy, uncompromising, whiny and pain in the ass. She is full of qualities: sincere, generous, nice (with whoever she wants), unpredictable. She lets me share in her life, she wants her to know what she admires and why she admires him and I try to understand. She injects me with her life, her eagerness to know, to know, she also tells me everything about men, about the problems she has with them and I discover with her how varied life is, infinitely beautiful even in tears. I who have always believed I knew what was good and evil, that I knew what had to be done and built! She destroyed all my beliefs and gave me a blank sheet to write on who knows what. I don't know what to tell her, I don't know what to do, I just want to see her and be close to her. How could that happen? where did she find all her autonomy from her? What did her ambitions come from?

I only know that I love her, that I would go crazy if something bad happened to her, that I will be happy with her even if she does not achieve anything. I just know that she will always seem a little bit mine, without patterns and without convictions. I just know that I will want to be next to her when she has her first white hair. I just know that if I hadn't been her mother ... I would have liked to have been her daughter.

(Silvia Innocenti Caramelli)