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As he was slowly swirling around, dragging behind him the ball bouncing on the pavement, that morning he thought of his friend Ughino, with all the problems his image would conjure up. So intent was his thought, that Markus stopped the ball with his hands and stood for a moment looking at the climbing roses that were decorating the garage door.

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Markus turned around and his face lit up. She threw it on the ground and they hugged happily, transported by the spontaneity of a gesture they were accustomed to since they were five. Markus though realized he had perhaps been too spontaneous. He pulled away immediately, blushing. His face beamed with delight. Cheerful, playful and full of life. He was greeting everybody loudly But his mother has gotten worse.

He told me himself and I actually saw it for myself. He said there is very little that could be done since she is mentally sick. They suddenly heard a loud noise of metal, stones and wheels coming from the access road to the village house. The two got up and moved towards the lane that led to the main entrance. When they got to the corner of the garage, they had to move back to make room for a boy who was riding a strange three-wheel vehicle with great speed.

Then he addressed both of them: I am very happy. Ughino started to get off the bike and then hesitated. Would you like some juice? He looked at Markus and said: I have to continue my deliveries I just wanted to say hello. He looked at Angela, trying to let her know. She understood immediately and said: I have to go help my parents get set up. Then Ughino got off his bike, stopped pretending he was happy and hugged Markus.

Then Markus pulled his bicycle out of the garage and pointing to the road said: He was ten years old, but because of the emotions and the grief that life had reserved for him, he could teach good judgment and maturity to his fifteen-year-old friends. The engineers of the municipality had tried various times to have the two legally evicted, as the dwelling was considered not desirable for health reasons, but every time, independent groups of people had dissuaded them and convinced them to defer action.

Paola, the mother, was still young, but she looked like an elderly woman. She was afflicted by many ailments and when she was able to rustle up a little alms money, she would always go home with a bottle of wine in her hands. Paola was an orphan and she had never known her parents. She grew up in a convent and when she was twenty she had gone to work as an attendant at a summer camp for children on the Emilia Romagna coast, where she had met her first and last love. Salvatore, a tourist traveling in that area, invited her to dinner and they stayed together until morning, when Paola had to go back to work.

The following days she waited for him in vain on the beach where they had met. She looked for him in a futile search throughout the whole city, only to realize the only thing she knew about him was his first name. Salvatore had left her, much like her mother had done. At the end of the season, she returned to the village pregnant with Ughino, her mind totally empty. As the baby was getting bigger, the mother was withering away. Her body slowly sagged like a bamboo whipped by the wind and only alcohol could make her bear the eternal grief of life.

Ughino understood immediately, since he was very small, that he had to take care of himself, as well as his mother. So he would go to school and after school he would take care of the house, helping Paola as if she were a little girl. Despite his sad destiny, Ughino smiled all the time and he would play with his friends, who loved him a lot, any chance he got. The boy did not want his friends to pity him because of his condition, so often he would tell innocent lies to mask his meager truth.

Sometimes, he was invited to lunch by families of friends, and was served with wonderful dishes of Umbrian tradition. He would then thank the hostess by saying: Just the way my mom fixes it! Things were different with him. He spent a lot of time with him and thought of him as an older brother. Once, when school let out, a couple of older boys arrogantly stopped Ughino. It was Giovanni Montaldi and Piero De Lisis, sons of two wealthy businesspeople from Orvieto, dressed from top to bottom in fashionable clothes.

They did not have many friends at school, but their private alliance seemed to satisfy them and they did not feel they had to be friendly to other people. Always bold and arrogant, they had several times shown lack of courage in their actions. Therefore, they usually would bother the younger and the weaker kids. Ughino was one of them.

One time, Giovanni and Piero started making fun of him because of his older shoes with holes, shoving him around as they spoke, while he was trying to resolve the situation with a smile. Suddenly Piero kicked him and his backpack filled with his school notebooks fell in the sand. Then Ughino turned and saw the boy turning red, because an arm, behind him, was grabbing him by the neck. With a yank, Piero fell on the ground and immediately Markus was on top of him, beating him up, while a couple of friends were holding Giovanni back.

During the summer, Ughino helped Mario, the manager of the only food store in the village, with deliveries to clients. Since during the summer holidays the number of people increased because of the arrival of all the people who owned a country cottage, the need for deliveries increased, as the store was getting bigger and acquired more clients. So, Mario had given Ughino a bicycle he had modified for small deliveries: Little Ugo felt mighty proud when he was riding this unique vehicle and often he would come back from his deliveries full speed, doing acrobatics on two wheels.

But when he went home, he left his cheerfulness outside the door, like a coat hanging from the door. The boy would put his love and patience clothes on and cross the door bravely. His mother would usually sit by the window, crossing her legs, with her foot constantly moving up and down. Her gaze was lost in empty infinity and nearly always she did not even know her son had come back.

Ughino thought his mother was the most beautiful woman in the world and he hoped every day that she would heal quickly. His continuous care and attention was not enough, he thought. Maybe he should take her to the hospital. But how could he love her more? He loved her more than himself! Every day he tried to be more affectionate. His heart would break, for he could not see any improvement. He would cook for her, talk to her, he cared for her hands and feet, and he would tell her about what was happening in school, but she would rarely answer, and when she did, only in monosyllables.

He would then go in the bathroom, turn on the faucet and cry his heart out, hitting his head with all his strength, crying rivers of steaming tears into the basin, clutching his heart because of the pain. She is completely mad. I met her yesterday and took her home. He tried to change the topic: Do you want to go to the beach with us? Do you remember the last time, when she fled at night and we found her on the bridge? Who gets to the square first decides the punishment! Markus looked at him straight in the eyes and said: Let us through, I have to go to the store!

Piero did not move. The left window of the car was lowered and a voice screamed from inside: Giovanni grabbed his bike and started pedaling towards the descent. But he did not need to; he already knew it was a heavy person with white withered skin, with his head dripping with sweat and black sun glasses perennially resting on his forehead.

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Not because of you. Ughino got off his tricycle and said: He enjoyed watching the women in and out of the store, chatting, with bags filled with heads of lettuce and loaves of bread. Those images were engraved in his mind since he was small, even though they were not keepsakes from his own land. He only remembered a lot of confusion and the icy cold of the huge supermarket in the city where he was born. The younger told the oldest: You see how nice and polite he is? Despite all the bad things that happened to him Just yesterday, I found his mother at my front door. She had finished the wine.

Once in a while she comes over to my house too. But what should I do? I would feel like I did Ughino wrong. But now we have to do something. And we can take turns caring for the boy. How much trouble can that polite boy be? I know he takes care of all the housework, he could even help me! He wanted to tell those women that if they really loved Ughino, the last thing to do was to separate him from his mother. He had to find a solution. Meanwhile, Ughino had left the store and was loading the bags on the cart. When they were alone again on the road, Ughino continued: Tell me about your idea.

But we know nothing about him; he has been living there by himself for years, since he first came to the area! But they call him Doctor Draconis, and I heard that he was a doctor. He may be able to help me. How did you come to think of him? Maybe because I heard he was a doctor, and maybe because nobody can help mom.

What do you say? Would you go see him with me, and ask for his advice? Are you aware of what everybody around here says about him? There is just one thing She is a friend of mine and you can trust her. Let me know when you intend to go. I have to go home now. Markus was happy to see him like that, even if deep inside he was doubtful of the decision he had made.

He lived with his cat, Bastet, in a decrepit house, lost in a small wooded area between the villages of Sugano and Orvieto. Nobody knew what he did all-day, but if you walked along the house you could nearly always hear the sound of a clarinet, which — from the windows up high — would meander up to the top of leafy trees. It was not a pretty house and it certainly did not bring a smile to the people passing by. The window shutters were hanging down like the eyebrows of sad eyes. The outside walls served as a perennial bed to the gigantic climbing vegetation and even the main front door was so misshapen that it appeared to be grinning with contempt and grief.

In winter, he would always wear a long, black overcoat and a large hat with brims curved towards the bottom, while in summer, he would dress entirely in white. Shirt and pants were so big that his thin, tall figure would appear ghostly. His face was thin and sunken under his cheek bones and his eyes were set deep and overshadowed by his sockets, blocked and hidden from any observer.

His hair was long and smooth, down to his shoulders, by now partially grey, even though the age of the doctor was a mystery. When he would go to the village, he would speak to people in a very polite manner, often speaking in a polished style, not characteristic of that area. His speech was concise, just what was necessary and no more. Under no circumstances he had appeared hesitant when starting a conversation with unknown people.

He was heard talking in public only once. It was when, at the market, a mother was screaming to her son, who apparently had stolen a pen from a man who sold stationary. The woman hit him on the back, as she was screaming: I am hitting you also for having lied, for saying you did not steal that pen! Hermes was the one who told him to lie. And who is this Er When they found out, the young Hermes denied it repeatedly; he lied with strength and courage to the God who was accusing him. Faced by such impertinence, Apollo started to laugh and forgave him. Children must lie, Hermes tells them to.

When he would leave the house to do some shopping, he would walk on foot through the wooded area, dragging behind him a small four-wheel wooden cart on which he would load his supplies. The title of doctor had been given to him by the inhabitants of the village, as it looked like in the past he had practiced medicine. No one knew, however, what kind of medicine, nor if he ever had taken care of, or healed anybody. The elderly ladies were very suspicious and if they happened to meet him, they preferred to go another way.

Talk had it that he did not have any children and that he had moved to his house a long time before, following the untimely death of his young wife, whom, as a doctor, he apparently had not been able to save… Since then, he had been a recluse in his own house, a house where the only sound was that coming from his sad clarinet. Doctor Draconis lived in that area in great privacy and this had created stories, testimonies and fairy tales about him. One of the stories about Draconis around San Quirico was that while he was travelling around the world looking for answers to his questions, young Doctor Draconis met and fell in love with Suseri, a Japanese girl.

Once, unbeknown to him- he hid a poisonous spider in the pocket of a jacket hanging in the closet. As fate would have it, that morning, Draconis did not wear it when he left. The spider bit her and she fell on the ground, where she died after a few minutes. When Draconis returned home, he found her on the ground and tried to save her, unsuccessfully. Word has it, that the grief was of such magnitude that the doctor from that day onward became a loner. The inhabitants of Porano had an addition to the story: Draconis would communicate with the spirit of the young Suseri through the sound of the clarinet.

Someone also said he had seen him at night go down the well in front of his house and come out only in the morning. No one could tell if the stories were true or born from the imagination of the people. The truth of the matter is that Draconis was, by then, an integral part of that environment, just like the woods, the houses, the vineyards and the vegetable gardens.

That afternoon he was going with him to the Orvieto library to pick up some books Josh had ordered the week before. He climbed on the seat of the jeep that was already in motion and they took off on the white road leading to the highway. Markus had an open and sincere rapport with his father and often shared his interests leafing through his papers, articles and books. When the family moved to Italy, through the whole delicate moving phase, Josh had been very close to his son, trying his best to offer him a strong and firm support at a time of great uncertainty.

As they were getting onto the highway, they met Ughino who was entering the road, going towards the Allen residence on his delivery tricycle. I have to ask Ughino something. I will be right back. I can come by around six. Be at my house at six. Markus was lost in thought.

I often think about him and I am tempted to go visit him to write an article. But Mary discourages me all the time On the other hand, not even Melampus was aware he was one! He was the first mortal granted divine powers by the gods. You know I love it when you tell me mythic stories! It was as if there was a universal mould for every occasion. Wait; let me think about the story He would understand the language of birds and insects because it seemed that two serpents, grateful for a favor, licked his ears.

The man had been sick since he was a young boy, ever since he had witnessed the sacrifice of two rams by his father, when he saw him walking holding a knife covered with blood. That sight made Ificlus sick, but no one understood that, with the exception of the two birds of prey that witnessed the fact. He ran to get the old knife that was still stuck in the trunk of a tree and made Ificlus drink the rust formed by the blood of the ram, dissolved in a little water. Somehow, he had to get rid of that terrible image from his childhood, and perhaps the blood of the ram reminded him of that.

And what does Melampus have to do with Draconis? It was just to show you that Melampus was a doctor without knowing it. They got out of the car and started walking towards the escalators that were climbing inside the hill like a worm making its way upwards inside an apple. All around, they were surrounded by the tuff walls of the gallery, the color of toasted hazelnuts. The gallery was a steep climb, until it exited near Piazza Raineri. When they got off the escalators, the two turned to the right towards via Loggia dei Mercanti and when they stopped in front of the Piccolomini Hotel, they had to flatten against the wall to make room for a car with a powerful engine that was coming down the alleyway.

Markus was familiar with that car. I am happy to see you. And since city hall gave us the license, it would be very useful if you could write an article for your American editors. And the tourists would be very happy to know that here they could find the same food they eat in their own country! His small eyes hidden by the fat of his cheeks and his nose, flat above his swollen lips, made him truly grotesque. They said goodbye and as soon as the car was gone, Markus vented his disappointment: You even promised him you would write him an article?

But I did not tell him what I will write in the article! As they were paying for their snack, Josh heard someone calling him: Come sit with us for a little while! I find you very well. Looking towards the display case of the news vendor, Markus said: He said he is going to be at my house at six.

We'll go there together. He motioned Markus who was approaching them. Then Angela turned to her mother saying: I will see you later, at home. Matilde used to go to the cemetery every week. She would clean and shine up the marble slab that had been guarding the memory of Anselmo, hear husband, for over ten years. To her, that visit was a pleasurable break from her daily monotony and after having taken care of the flowers, changed the water and washed the marble, she would sit on the stool she brought from home, and chat peacefully with Anselmo's smiling picture.

At the village, nothing new, except the seasonal tourists are coming and at least there is someone on the road. Fausto and Teresa are here too, and they say hello. I have always taken care of them you know, just like you used to do, and I remembered that in November you prune only the stems that didn't bloom during the season, leaving only the flowers dry on the other stems.

Next spring you will have hydrangeas as large as watermelons! The lavender bush has grown a lot too. This time though, I am going to take all the branches off and make them into scented laundry baskets like my mother used to do when she was alive. She told me that after the summer, Giovanna and she are going to city hall to convince them to put Paola Stoppa, that poor soul, in an institution, while Ughino is taken care of.

Life was unkind to her since her birth, but now Ughino needs a normal life with a normal family. He needs someone to take care of him. This is another one of her lunacies: Did you know she comes on foot from Sugano? She never takes the bus and the road is very long! She was holding a bunch of small wild flowers she had likely picked up along the way and from time to time, she would put one in the vases of the loculus. What are you saying? We give her wine, anytime she wants it! In the meantime, Paola seemed happy with her visit and she started moving towards the exit of the cemetery, lazily dragging her feet on the stone pavement.

When she reached the large entrance gate, she turned towards the tombs one more time and observed them, turning her head from right to left in a collegiate greeting and exited towards the road. From the back seat, Angela pointed to the woman and said: He then stopped in an open space. Markus got out of the car and moved towards the woman.

Then, running, he caught up with her. After they left, Josh asked: Do you have someone there? Markus helped the woman get out of the car and accompanied her inside. On the way home, Josh — deep in thoughts — could only say: He was trying to shoot a basketball, but he was probably too short for that. He waved cheerfully to all of them and Josh stopped the jeep. I am going in, have fun and Ughino placed the ball on the ground, tucked his shirt inside his pants and said: As soon as they reached the highway, they crossed it, entering an alley in the front that ran along the perimeter of a thicket.

The other side of the road was delimited by grassy fields that sloped along the side of the hill; the grass was very tall and, for the most part, dry. We have to leave our bicycles next to the large oak tree. Then, they had left, for they thought they heard some steps coming down the stairs. Markus remembered that day well, because it was very cold and on the way back home it had started to rain cats and dogs. They arrived in the vicinity of the turn to the inside of the wooded area. The pair on the tricycle was moving slower and at every pothole Ughino would jump really high, almost falling to the ground.

She was standing by the road, looking in the direction of a tree. We almost hit you! She turned towards them, her mouth open and in disbelief, pointing to the tree. It was standing still in the middle of the road and would not move Then it opened his mouth and I thought it was about to speak! It had an acorn in its paw and Then it retreated to the tree Markus bent down and grabbed an acorn in his hand. Suddenly acorns began to pour from the tree, hitting the children from up high, nonstop, as a thick hailstorm.

As they stopped, Angela slid on the leaves and fell right next to the trunk of the big chestnut tree. Angela was sitting on the ground, looking up high towards the top of the trees, in all directions.

But what was wrong with those squirrels? It would have been impossible to use the bicycles. Unexpected notes, from very heavy to very light acute trills, the notes floated through the vegetation, to the ears of the children. Two small bushes of red berries, like bony, bleeding hands marked the entrance to the garden. The three crossed the threshold of the fence, and found themselves in the green area in front of the house.

The house seemed abandoned, as did everything else around it. In the middle of the area in front of the house, there was an old well made of rock stone, which brightly stood out against the green. Angela and Markus kept approaching the front door of the house cautiously, when they realized that Ughino was moving towards the well.

I want to see. You could not see the bottom, but along the side there was a long metallic ladder hooked onto a border stone. I thought there was some one Markus, was this here when we were here before? I remember it very well. Markus, you go ahead. Markus looked at his friends, sighed and lifted his hand to knock. He knocked three times.

The music stopped immediately and a cat meowed. The children heard noises of chairs and moved objects coming from the first floor, along with heavy steps on a wooden ladder and a muffled grumble. In the meantime, the cat must have reached the door, because the meows sounded much closer now and the steps were becoming heavier and sounder. The door snapped open, quickly, causing the three children to jump backwards.

In his hands, he was holding a long wondrous clarinet made of ebony. He was holding it like a club and between his feet— in a pair of leather sandals — standing upright, a grey cat with velvety hair was observing them annoyingly. There are many doctors around. He then turned towards the door and walked into the house, slamming the door.

As he was climbing the stairs, you could hear him mumble: It was hard to tell whether Ughino was more frightened or disappointed after the short meeting. He stayed on the side, staring at the closed door, without saying a word. Angela put her arm on his shoulders, pulling him back towards the garden. He then started walking behind his friends, his gaze to the ground, while the sky was turning red and the nocturnal animals lazily began to yawn and wake up.

After midnight, the sky filled with a multitude of stars and even the smallest ones were visible to the naked eye, from the hills that were void of the luminous shine of the metropolis. You could also hear better. You could hear noises that during the day were hidden in the neglected acoustic background: But for Ughino, that was not a peaceful night. He kept turning in his bed over and over again, jabbering words during his agitated sleep, while thinking back to the images of a cold rusty ladder, down the bottom of a well.

A continuous metallic noise resonated in his ears, caused perhaps by an object hitting the steps of the ladder. In his sleep, he thought that was caused by the heel of a shoe, hitting an iron pole.

He forced himself to open his eyes and in the darkness of the room, he looked up high towards the small open window that overlooked a small vegetable garden behind the house. The light of the moon lit the window panes, which were protected by metallic grids. In the square of light projected on the wall, Ughino noticed a large shadow that was knocking lightly on the metal grid. The boy turned on the light on his night table and a faint soft light lit up the bluish walls of the room. Rubbing his eyes, he directed his attention to the small window, now able to see clearly what was happening.

A large barn owl stood upright on the sill, hitting the metallic grid with its beak. The animal appeared proud and composed, as if taking pleasure in his wonderful attire illuminated by the moon. The light of the moon, in fact, made the whiteness of his facial feathers shaped like a heart really stand out. Ughino loved all the animals in the countryside and the presence of the night bird truly did not bother him. The only thing that bothered him was the fact that the animal had woken him up, by hitting his beak on the grid.

He had seen other barn owls during his summer nights on the hills, but that was unusually large. I am tired of hitting my beak against the grid; it was beginning to hurt! The barn owl had spoken! His voice was similar to that of an unexpectedly disappointed old grouch. Ughino then got out of his bed and said: Come closer and listen to me.

The barn owl continued: They are waiting for you there with all the instructions. I was dreaming of an iron ladder that was going down into But why do I have to go down there? I am a little scared. I have no time to waste. If you want to help your mother, go down the stair in the well and you will realize that it is not dangerous.

That said, I bid you farewell. Slowly the boy sat at the side of the bed. Should he go down the metal stair? On the other side of the coin, how could he trust a night bird that spoke like an ill-tempered old man? A grey feather was right next to the grid. Would anybody ever believe him?

He had to go. It was a lucky break he was allowed to bring Markus and Angela along. Without them, it would have been a real problem. Yes, it was still night, but who could have slept after that encounter? Ughino looked at his old alarm clock on the night table. It was three in the morning. He grabbed his pants and shirt off the chair and got dressed in a hurry, silently.

He pushed the door aside lightly, but in the semidarkness of the moonlight through the window, he saw an empty bed! Yet, he remembered he had wished her good night, the night before and that she was already in bed. Maybe the barn owl had woken her up and she had gone into the kitchen to get a drink of water. The house, however, was immersed in darkness. He went into the small kitchen and turned the light on. As he was turning around, he thought he heard a soft noise coming from behind. He turned just in time to protect his head.

Paola, from behind, lowered the bottle she was holding on the head of her son with all her might. She let an angry cry escape. Ughino jumped to the side to avoid the woman. Luckily, the boy was so agile that he managed not to get hit. While he was jumping around, he grabbed a towel and wrapped his bleeding hand in it. Go away, you and your snakes! There was no other choice: Ughino then ran out of the door, climbing the stairs that were leading to the road.

As soon as he got outside, he jumped on his delivery bicycle and started to pedal with all his might. He pedaled and cried. He cried and sobbed. His bicycle, though, knew the way. Servo Inutile General field: E' un riflesso al " saeculorum " finale. Frutto delle preghiere dell'infanzia.

Fin da bambino infatti, ho scorazzato nella chiesa di fronte alla mia casa. Una chiesa povera, austera come i suoi servitori. Burberi e severi frati Francescani Cappuccini. Quelli con la barba per intenderci. Ed ora sono qui. Se non osservassi l'orologio, uno Swatch da pochi soldi; un regalo delle mie figlie: Mi guardo intorno ed incrocio il volto dei colleghi. Nei loro occhi la medesima domanda: Vorrei poter sospendere tutto. Io non ho colpe.

Ma rimango e in silenzio, mi rivolgo ai miei Santi. A San Giuseppe mio patrono. A San Giovanni della Croce di cui avevo un'immaginetta bellissima. A Santa Bernardetta che non posso dimenticare. Alla Madonna di sale che aveva mia nonna e che baciavo tutte le sere prima di andare a letto. Salvate, salvate la mia anima. Non potevi trovare una scusa?

Pierdomenico Baccalario

Bastava dire che non ti sentivi all'altezza. Bastava poco per non essere qui, cretino! Una paura atavica, ancestrale. Tutto quello che la mia formazione culturale non ammette. Anni di studi, anni di materie astruse come fisiologia, anatomia, patologia che impediscono di riconoscere quello che la fede non ha mai messo in dubbio. Rivolgo gli occhi a padre xxxy e tutto si placa. E' la sua voce che calma tutto. E una grande pace mi prende. La mia gola articola in silenzio: Sono venuto con il pellegrinaggio che la mia Diocesi organizza ogni anno.

Un viaggio in treno di millecinquecento chilometri, un convoglio di ventiquattro carrozze per ottocento pellegrini; una bolgia pazzesca. E' la quinta volta che vengo con loro ma prima, per altre tre volte, da giovane, con un gruppo di amici, sono stato in questo posto. Mi si permetta, anche se potrebbe suonare blasfemo, di far riferimento alla mitologia. Ad Omero in particolare. Al canto delle sirene che irretiscono Ulisse. E' come se ci fosse un richiamo. Del consumismo sfrenato che circonda l'area sacra. Molti osservano di non aver visto nulla di particolare.

Tanti sorridono ricordando le innumerevoli e variegate manifestazioni della fede popolare. Troppe persone sono ritornate da Lourdes a mani vuote. Era sufficiente leggere, prima di partire, il Vangelo di Matteo. E' questo quello che succede a Lourdes.

A Lourdes quelli che sono ciechi nella fede: Quelli che zoppicano nella fede: Quelli che hanno una fede macchiata, piagata: Quelli che sono sordi al richiamo della fede: Quelli che sono morti nella loro fede: A tutti quelli che ascoltano: Caricare, senza disturbare alcuno, il mio tasso di nicotina nel sangue. Stavo appunto tirando a pieni polmoni che ti vedo arrivare costui. Avrei compreso in seguito l'importanza che quest'ultima rivestiva per lui. Posso fare una domanda? Il tono nasale e stentato mi fece subito capire che si trattava di un francese.

Il vestito scuro, accompagnato da una camicia grigia, ed in particolare la piccola croce sul risvolto della giacca mi fecero pensare che fosse un sacerdote. Stavo per raccogliere nella mente una splendida risposta nella sua lingua che tra parentesi, amo tanto, quando lui mi precedette nuovamente. Non mi meravigliai per la sua perspicacia dato che indossavo un camice bianco e un fonendoscopio mi usciva di tasca. Avrei sempre potuto rifiutarmi in seguito, una volta conosciute le problematiche. Chiesi di che cosa si trattasse per potermi organizzare con eventuali sussidi terapeutici.

Un prete, un malato, gli psichiatri. Stavo per dire che del paragrafo sulle ossessioni avevo studiato solo il titolo quando lui riprese: Quella sera, a cena, non stavo nella pelle. Non mi seppi trattenere e parlai con due miei colleghi di quello che mi era successo. Anche loro convennero sull'importanza di quell'esperienza. Nessuno di noi aveva mai assistito ad un esorcismo, se di questo forse si trattava. Si, malati psichiatrici ne avevamo visti anche noi ma nessuno che avesse manifestato qualche tipo di possessione.

Avrei ringraziato in seguito per la loro presenza. Il giorno dopo, oggi, ci siamo trovati tutti e tre puntuali all'appuntamento. Il prete, padre xxxy ci aspettava assieme ad una suora. Nell'attesa che venga il malato, che ora sappiamo essere una malata, il padre ci spiega tutto quello che dobbiamo fare, quello che possiamo e quello che non dobbiamo fare. Mettetevi poi ai lati del malato. Non correrete alcun pericolo se vi atterrete a questi consigli.

E questa sarebbe l'indemoniata? Vengo distolto dalla sua presentazione. So che siete preoccupati ma Io non ho mai fatto male a nessuno. E ci vorrebbe che questo simpatico criceto, possa farmi male! Hai dormito troppo poco. Il sacerdote si avvicina e saluta la ragazza. Strano, osservo, il prete non le ha dato la mano. La ragazza mi squadra e poi mi strizza l'occhio. Si china verso di me e sussurra: Sai, sono tre mesi che mi vede, due volte alla settimana. Qui non ci siamo!

Mi sa che sto sbagliando tutto. Quando parla di Babilonia. Dopo, sono stata benissimo. Ma di cosa sta parlando? Quasi quasi me ne vado. Ad un cenno del padre lo seguiamo nella sacrestia.

Menu di navigazione

La ragazza viene mandata avanti, nella chiesa e il prete si rivolge a me. Dopo entriamo anche noi nella chiesa. E' una chiesa a navata unica. Con il soffitto in legno sorretto da architravi. Due file di panche sono separate da uno spazio, lungo fino in fondo. Le panche sono di legno, leggere e facilmente spostabili.

Ci avviciniamo e il sacerdote ci indica i posti. Io mi siedo alla destra della ragazza. I miei due colleghi, uno a sinistra e uno dietro. Il prete si sposta di lato, a quasi due metri ed inizia la vestizione. Mentre ci guardiamo l'un l'altro, la suora sta armeggiando alle finestre. Ad una ad una le chiude e le spranga. Poi va alla porta da cui siamo entrati e la chiude a doppia mandata. Torno a guardare i colleghi e leggo nei loro occhi la stessa voglia di fuga. Di traverso, vedo la ragazza sorridere mentre si segna. Poi la voce lenta di padre xxxy ci raggiunge.

Il suo latino fa compiere alla mia mente un balzo di trent'anni ed io entro nel coro dei frati. Rispondiamo sperando che il Signore non consideri gli errori di latino. Segue, sempre in latino la preghiera del Padre Nostro e una decina di Avemarie. La ragazza, che osservo, prega sottovoce e ad un tratto appoggia la sua mano destra sulla mia gamba. Non solo appoggia ma prende quasi, con forza. Sta facendo altrettanto con la gamba del mio collega. Noi ci guardiamo in silenzio. Finite le preghiere iniziali il sacerdote prende il cestello dell'acqua santa con l'intenzione di aspergerci.

Le gocce arrivano sui corpi e le mani della ragazza cominciano ad artigliare le cosce. Spontaneamente, prendiamo con le mani le sue braccia. Il collega parla il linguaggio dei muti, articolando la mascella. Poi il padre apre la Bibbia, sul fondo e comincia a leggere. Veniva dal profondo della gola. A questo punto i gemiti della ragazza si traformarono in un pianto dirotto. Un pianto che non avevo mai udito. Straziante come se avesse subito una perdita irreparabile. Nella mia vita ho pianto molte volte ed ho udito, anche a seguito della mia professione, molte persone piangere.

Le usciva dalla gola un ruggito tremendo, profondo e allo stesso tempo acuto. Lo alternava a tratti con bestemmie rabbiose all'indirizzo della Madre di Dio. Con movimenti alternati in avanti e in dietro cercava di liberarsi dalle nostre prese. Ci spinse tutti e tre improvvisamente e quello dietro rimase incastrato tra le due panche. Per fortuna la persona amica ci venne subito in aiuto altrimenti avremmo dovuto lasciarla. E questo era assolutamente da evitare secondo quanto ci aveva detto il prete.

Come in un ballo assurdo giravamo per la chiesa, sempre trattenendola. Il suo unico scopo, per quanto mi parve di capire, era quello di raggiungere il sacerdote. Non volevo pensare a quello che avrebbe potuto fare se lo avesse preso. A tratti, oserei dire per grazia di Dio, perdeva improvvisamente le forze e allora la lasciavamo scivolare a terra. Tutta rannicchiata, cominciava allora a tossire. Una tosse canina, insopportabile all'udito. Poi seguiva il vomito. Durante questo periodo, in due occasioni, mentre la ragazza era particolarmente debilitata, il sacerdote facendosi aiutare da noi, la ungeva con l'olio santo.

In questi momenti lei diventava come una furia. Dopo, quando la ragazza e la persona amica se ne erano andate io parlai con padre xxxy. Le guarigioni del corpo sono bellissime ma le guarigioni dell'anima non sono definibili tanto sono belle agli occhi di Dio. Sapessi quante vengono a cercarmi. Ogni settimana ne vedo quasi una decina. Si ritrasse come se l'avessi colpito. Quando la vidi per la prima volta le dissi che non potevo fidarmi della sua parola.

Che dovevo, come un medico, vedere con i miei occhi. Andai allora al tabernacolo, indossai la stola e simulati i riti tornai con un'ostia non consacrata, solo un piccolo pezzo di pane. Poi la guardai e lei era stupita. La ragazza era decisamente preoccupata ed allora le chiesi se voleva riprovare. Non posso prendere l'Eucaristia due volte lo stesso giorno. Compresi subito che conosceva le regole e allora incalzai dicendo: Presi tra le mani l'ostia consacrata e avvicinatomi feci per metterla nella sua bocca.

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