MIRIAM 13 – Dear Andrea, today I’ve been thinking a lot about the news spreading everywhere since yesterday: most of the “new” infected are the parents of all the students who came back from the north of Italy a few weeks ago. At first I wondered how it was possible for these kids not to realize the danger they would put themselves and their parents in. I was astonished by the superficiality and the selfishness. But then I stopped (it’s not hard to stop these days, it’s much harder to restart) and I thought that it would be better for me to depict this story, that I really can’t understand, in a different way. So I tried to come up with something, to recreate, to listen, to see. I listened to the phone calls of a few weeks ago. Phone calls full of anxiety, worry, hearts beating irrationally fast.
Full of answers, given at a thousand and more km of distance, all the same.
“Mom, Dad, don’t worry, I’m fine, it’s better for everyone that I stay here”.
The stubbornness, parents asking their kids to come back home, despite the decrees.
“Your father and I don’t care, just please come back home”.
Things said between tears, sometime whispering, something shouting.
“I can’t come back, you would be at risk more than me, don’t you get it? Nothing’s gonna happen, you’ll see”.
Answers given trying to find composure and courage, who knows where.
And no, they don’t get it. Or rather they get it, of course they do. But for a parent the need to protect, almost an animal instinct, an ancestral instinct, is far more important that the wise choice to keep a safety distance.
Call me crazy or romantic, but that’s how I want to depict this “escape” from the north of Italy. I want to think that those kids, that have now infected their parents, were forced to choose the lesser evil between the heartache of being distant and going back home with the risk of infecting their parents. And I want to think of their stolen hugs, hugs risky and sweet, full of fear and love.
ANDREA 13 – The distance. Love and distance. Love, distance and sacrifice. Long-distance love is a sacrifice. My thought revolves around these three elements. It’s not just the 1000 km making a difference right now, we all have some distance to bridge: there are people 1000 red km far (from Naples to Milan o Turin), people 30 km far (from Naples to Caserta), people 3 km far (from one neighbourhood to another). The heaviest distance is the one between the hearts. And when the heart speaks, reason usually stays quiet. This ancestral instinct you talk about should be tied to a more important one, the survival instinct for a greater good. A sacrifice, as I was saying. My third element. There Is a nursing home in the building opposite mine. The elderlies: they are the centre of the world today, they’re the one dying, those you can’t just keep inside (do you remember day 2?). From our kitchen balcony we can see some of the hospice’s rooms. From a much farther distance than the safety one, today I said hello to Enzo while I was having my coffee. Enzo is an invented name, but I just wanted to give a name to that hand that waved at me from far and to that person that smiled back at me saying: “it’s like war. They told me I can’t go to the courtyard anymore. I hope they find a cure soon”. Enzo probably doesn’t have anyone to share this quarantine with, and the courtyard was the place where he could meet his friends. This is his distance. “A small sacrifice, then we’ll all get better”, I told him.