First Real

primaveraAnother gloomy day, cold and not for temperature: February! In the middle of the shortest month, the mind of Eduardo was playing with the memories. It must has been long beating of time, irregular, dictated by the patter of rain falling: Tic, tac, tuc, tic, rustling leaves, wind cuts, earth receives. Water! It was only water. Source of life and valuable asset. Although almost finished, this winter made him tired and thoughtfully.

Eduardo looked on long overhangs now bored by the brazen beauty of the sea and earth. How many languages were contained among those noisy echoes of silence, rocks and immoral seagulls. He walked in the morning, early, when the island was deserted, or in the evening, when the island was still deserted. His step was made of water: tic, tac, tic tuc, stone sounds, the ground tramples. What tiredness! How many steps! So much island. Alone at night, alone in the morning. Yet the step of Eduardo showed irrepressible curiosity, everybody said: «When he walks, only on foot! He seems mad!». It was customary believe in Ischia that who walking on foot was crazy.
On February 29 - one day a year that has two years of paid leave- Eduardo walked. He was at Ischia Ponte, suspended with the gaze between the Aragonese Castle and the sea: he was obsessed with the castle, almost hated it. He understood perfectly well that his step was trying that sign, that wave in the land that awakened and it was. Wedged between a fixed bench, at Coco (the bar), where the bellies of most famous oldsters of the island, lazed in the summer heat, and wet salted stones from winter floods of the Aragonese square, he saw a freesia. He did not see it actually, he sniffed it but not voluntarily. The freesia looking for him to meet that his straight nose, dark and severe, nestled between recesses cheekbones, wrinkled expression of Neapolitan aspect. He stopped and let penetrate by that intoxicating scent that - he knew - wanted every year.
That perfume woke. It was true because he could touch it, vibrating the personal archive of his memories. A long shelf library of memories and apparently organized. This Eduardo thought every year in the season change: «when the seasons change I feel disoriented and do not understand why are precisely the odors get in the balance between life and the memory of years ago. It is as if I were not present. Those perfumes take me away from present time and my mind asks avid the presence of things and events, people and places absent».  
On February 29 it was at night and not in May. At 23:58 the smell was stronger than the beauty of the flower. He realized that it was time to wake up. Eduardo did not know if he was waking up every year or the island, that strong nature and mistress which did nothing but host it. That night, however, Eduardo, the island and the small plant of freesia were not alone. The gulls and the sea had enjoyed, with the wind, an unexpected break. What a silence! Even the tick tock, the tuc and tic of his steps was not as strong, echoing. The watchful eye shots then the sensory reins and warned him to an unusual but familiar presence. There was a man sitting on the bench, with strange legs: one long and the other short, with ‘fifties’ pants very well defined;     a sharp coat in the forms and a Borsalino which was shadow on his face, taking advantage of the orange light typical of the square. Eduardo did not know him, but he recognized the familiar pose.
«Good evening!» - said the gentleman. Eduardo wanted to avoid it, although almost curious to know who he was. He greeted with kindness and indifference, like an elderly, experienced, full of experience man.
«I see and I watch your step for a long time - said the man - and yet I do not understand still how you face the thought of life. You know, I’m very curious although older and I’d like to know why you always remember about the time you bought the Ennio Morricone cd when lived on dry land». Eduardo replied immediately: «Excuse me, but who are you? Have we met before? ».
The man came back to speak, as he knew perfectly the pace of discussions between strangers who do not want to say too much, but saying goodbye he take away a bit of people’s lives, such as collectors: «He liked that record because it contained that piece entitled My name is nobody. He remembered that island he had left, that one of Hollywood films, of La Dolce Vita, when nature was mistress, when Ischia was unaware of its own beauty».
Eduardo was shocked and almost stunned by that observation. He didn’t listen to what was being said by the time (and even that record), intent on digging, now and always, in the archive of memories to find out who was this stranger.
«Needless to rummage through pages of memories! - restated the unknown - Those do not make sense, if are feelings! If you are plagued by present time is only because you searche for too much in the past. Doing so you have no prospects for the future and these are not fictitious projections, but bodies made of flesh and bones waiting for a sign from you to come true. You have three grandchildren and three children and feel to have not time, but lost in the steps of walks, because you feel useless. You actually are not here».
Eduardo could not speak because there was too much truth in those words; he could not understand and wonder blocked him.
«I know well the seasons - continued the unknown - are a wonderful invention of nature, but the man was able to create an even more beautiful and strong one, very
tyrannical. I know this island for a long time and yet I live it only during winter. Look at this square, look at the sea! They are wonderful. Do you know how many people were on this island before you? Lots and each of them has enjoyed these beauties. Yet many who live here, bewitched by such great peace of mind, just call me because they feel lonely and abandoned by the possibility of connection to the world outside the island. This island, like many others on this planet, gives a strange feeling. It encloses the seasons in the Teutonic order. Do you know how spring starts? It awakens through the memories of the past and just these islanders memories, sprout new ones. All the flowers that you see are the memories of all the islanders and, at times, it happens that some stranger will send some here to bloom through the wind of oblivion. Spring is the first real life vibration that engages the senses. I really like it and when a memory is awakened by a perfume as delegate to the sea, as food for the fish to reproduce, I leave it to float. Here everything blooms, even the sea. Ischia leaves no room for the past. The past is like my back, my hands like present time, the future like my gaze».
Eduardo is annoyed and turning his eyes upward briefly to prepare his response sentence, said: «Look, I have no time to lose!», but the man had already disappeared. «How is that possible? » - exclaimed Eduardo. My heart started beating wildly, but briefly. Then he looked at his watch and saw: 23 : 58. «It’s incredible, that long-winded man have talked for at least ten minutes. »
He was afraid, he believed that spring was coming too quickly and was playing the jokes too real for its age. He reassured himself, thinking that spring starts on March 21 and in-between seasons no longer exist.
The Aragonese square slowly resumed talking to the wind and a seagull landed on the long pier of Ischia Ponte, on a rusted bollard. It looked as if scanning, seemed to want to ask him with whom he had spoken. Eduardo wanted to, in fact, know and realizing that perhaps spring had nothing to do with that meeting, he sighed and calmed. He looked again at his watch were 6 : 39. He was not surprised at all. If he had confessed at that time to have no time, everything was correct. Meanwhile the sun tinged gull in red, its eyes on the yellow beak, the pier, the sky and the horizon full of high water, typical of Ischia. Then he looked on the Campagnano hill and realized that the plants and flowers already tinged the trails. He watched the cliff that accompanied the direct bridge to the castle and saw a myriad of freesias that covered the rocks: yellow, white all perfumed. Unbelievable. Spring is like that, it always seems to arrive suddenly. Then he resumed walking after having unfastened the clock, donated it to a dumpster: tic, tac, tuc, tic.

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Info on Ischia island

  • Surface: 46 Kmq
  • Hight: 789 mt
  • Lat.: 40° 44',82 N
  • Long.: 13° 56',58 E
  • Periplus: 18 miglia
  • Coasts: 51.2 Km
  • Cities: 6
  • Inhabitants: 58.029

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