The fourth novel that Maurizio de Giovanni dedicates to the character of Sara Morozzi is released on Tuesday 30 March for Rizzoli. In this text for the Corriere, the writer born in Naples in 1958 tells of an (imaginary …) encounter with the female figure at the center of Sara’s eyes (pp. 336, e 19).
I’m prepared, but I don’t see it.
I have to look around carefully, yet the environment is not particularly large and there are many people.
He has this special talent, to disappear from sight, to blend perfectly with the environment in order to make himself invisible: I know, something I have described many times, yet now that I have to look for it, I fall for it myself. Incredible.
Eventually I find it, a small table between two large windows through which it enters in gushes a midday light that is absolutely inconsistent with the environment. I appreciate the choice: not in the corners, where you look for who you want to hide, not in the center, where the eyes of those entering the room are forced to go; rather against the light, so as to be able to distinguish every detail perfectly, while those who look on that side are annoyingly dazzled and cannot see who is there.
I get closer, and even more disturbing. The face turned towards an average height more or less a meter from the ground where there is nothing, as if to pursue some kind of thought. The sweater between light green and beige, wall color, the collected hair is gray: but I immediately realize that the perfect mimesis in the posture. Slightly curved shoulders, firm arms, hands in lap, legs crossed at the ankle. A true disappearance artist.
I stop standing near the coffee table, waiting for him to turn around. After a long moment of embarrassment I say:
Good morning, ma’am. I can?.
Raise your chin slightly, with a quarter of a smile:
Isn’t it a bit strange to call yourself her? We have a degree of … pretty close kinship, don’t you think? Sit down, you’ve decided we need to talk and we’ll talk. I can’t refuse, on the other hand.
I take my seat, reflecting on what he said:
I don’t like the idea of imposing it… it matters something, not me. I don’t move the characters like pawns on a chessboard, I try to give them full autonomy.
Go back to fixing a point in the void:
Sure sure. You all say so, and maybe you even believe it. But don’t you think that once the pieces have been arranged, the environment and the characteristics determined, the relationships imposed, the room for maneuver, which you call autonomy, is a somewhat vague concept?
I get excited, I care about my writing ethic:
But what do you mean, do you think the life of us real people is different? Everyone does what circumstances, character, genetics allow him to do. What is likely to be told, at least in this type of story.
Again he throws me a sidelong glance:
Here, in fact. This kind of stories. Where is it written that someone like me, for example, must be in a predetermined story? Why don’t you tell my love? My story with Massimiliano, the Sundays at the seaside, the motorbike trips when we talked about the tight bodies, the sudden laughter in inventing the situations of the others looking at how they moved ?.
I take the plunge to try to change the subject:
This ability that you have, this, what should I call it? Talent? How do you live it, in short? Because it’s kind of a superpower, isn’t it?
Shut up for a while. He has that annoying smile on his face, as if he must necessarily answer the questions of a moron.
No, you are not a moron. And I don’t think so, don’t worry.
I think I turn pale:
But how … I never thought that !.
Without looking at me he says softly:
You keep moving your right foot, as if you can’t wait to leave. The chin is a little out, confrontational and ready for self-affirmation, the arms folded to defend you, the eyebrows furrowed, the tone of voice as deep as possible. You have to ask simple questions, and you fear that I think you are superficial. But I don’t think so, also because otherwise I would be a rather unfortunate character to have a stupid author.
I open my mouth and close it, untie my arms, try to straighten my forehead and stop my foot, but after ten seconds I’m in the same position as before.
He chuckles and says:
You see? Can’t avoid. Everyone tries, always, but the unique body language. He does not lie. Never.
And how, knowing how to understand it so well? How does it feel?.
Instead of answering the question he does:
This, the cafeteria of a large hospital, an emotionally surprising place. One would expect a port of pain, a lot of suffering and melancholy. Instead, far from it.
I look around, surprised. As lunchtime approaches, a few people come and look at the rotisserie window to make their choice. I ask her why and above all what does it have to do with what I asked her, and she replies:
The relief, and the expectation. To your left, that little group of four. They all smile, speak little, look at each other. She, the young woman, very pale but relieved, must have just been discharged, the man of the same age her husband, the bag at her feet what they take away from the hospital, pajamas, dressing gown, slippers, books. She must have been inside a lot. The happy mother, tired and marked but optimistic, certain that her daughter is healed. The father, on the other hand, pretends to be happy, but destroyed. Either he knows something that others don’t know, or he just feels that illusory healing.
I can’t help but turn to look, and my ignorant eyes see four anonymous people whispering while drinking coffee.
And how do you know, all these things ?.
Oh, I know a lot more too. I know, for example, that the husband has another, distracted, smiles only with his mouth and stares at the mobile phone display every two minutes, even though the girl talks mainly to him, looking for his eyes continuously. a matter of small movements, of wrinkles, of the position of the hands and lips, of postures, of gestures. Those two doctors, at the counter, are engaged. For example.
I turn around, two in shirts giggling over a pizza.
But they are two men, and they are just chatting !.
She chuckles, and she looks like a little girl who just made a prank:
But don’t tell me, prisoner of prejudice too. They are engaged, and in secret. They brush, look at the knees, and see how the old man smiles at the younger. The major, also married, has the ring. Too bad, when you don’t have the courage to live your life. They are really in love, I assure you.
Suddenly I feel great sadness.
It can’t be easy to have your eyes, Sara.
This time he looks me openly in the face, and I see them. They are big and deep, between blue and green, beautiful and painful. I understand clearly why he never shows them. It would not be invisible, and above all it would not be forgettable.
Not easy, no. It is not even easy to carry on the past that I have, and the awareness that destiny is written backwards.
I don’t understand, and it shows. He continues, hissing:
You know the butterfly effect, writer? When is it said that a flapping of wings here corresponds to a hurricane on the other side of the world? a poetic image, but if instead of space you refer to time, it becomes true.
What do you mean?.
Staring back into space:
A little boy fails the art academy, and thirty years later six million people die from murder. Case? Bad luck? Would it have happened anyway, or not? Destiny written backwards means this: that no one can know the long-term effects of what we do. We are the consequence of what happened, and also the cause of what will happen.
He reaches out on the table, and shakes mine. firm and cold, very strong. I try to pull away, but I can’t. Eyes in mine, whispers:
I have to save my nephew, writer. With or without your help.
After a moment it disappeared. I shiver, and I go away too. Suddenly I feel like I’m suffocating.
March 28, 2021 (change March 28, 2021 | 20:13)