Suddenly last Summer
The Men's edit
It was a very bizarre summer, since the very beginning. Partly this was due to the weather: dark moments full of rain – that felt like Ireland – followed by days of sun that resembled the Caribbean.
Yet what really made that summer strange, was that encounter. Meeting Frances was strange. Strange was the effect of that unexpected intrusion that messed up our little, ordinary, reassuring world.
Looks as if Water and Earth have been quarrelling in an infinite battle that ended just when it was struck by a falling asteroid.
But the battle carries on every day; sometimes is won by the Sea and sometimes by the Land.
That day, we did not care. We would sit on the rocks like cormorants waiting for a prey, we would dive in the water disorderly and we would loudly scream in spite of the wind and the furious waters.
And we would constantly listen to music and smoke. Always us, always the same and always united. Over the years, some others would come from outside, the guys from “da vilatges”, from the villages, as we would call them. But us, the ones born and raised in town, we remained the real guys from AL GHETTO: the invincible, the diehards Al Ghetto Boyz.
Me: Llleo also known as Leopardo Liquido, Bino, Nenno, Jay, Giaff, Lorenzino, Tatino Tatone, Just Oliva, the Count, Michael, Dario and Pala. All from the same batch yet each one lost in his own business. That summer proved to be different for everyone. The new entries were coming from many places: some from “the capital”, Cagliari, some from Norway, some from Milano but in the end they would all acclimatize as locals.
We pretended to be highly uninterested and tried not to stare at her with a questioning look that meant: where is she coming from? Or even: how did this diva dare to arrive so snobbishly and occupy our territory?
Who was she? What did she want? What was she doing?
Beautiful. Oh yes, she was beautiful. No, even better: she was perfect, spectacular, like a goddess arising from the waters.
Huge blue eyes, long eyelashes, bright red lips, white and rosy skin, blond and wavy hair falling over the shoulders, slim but shapely body, thin and wiry feet, long and tapered legs: she was an spectacular appearance that aroused awe.
Who was she? Where was she from? Was she real?
The first who made a step forward was Bino. Strengthened by his hawkish moustache, he approached and started talking to her. One by one, slowly and hesitantly, we joined the two, encircling Frances like a precious stone. Frances was splendid. She was used to so much attention and she enjoyed provoking us. From that day on, a competition took place: who would stand out the most, who would wear the most colourful costume, the most inlaid tank top or the most composite, evident, recognizable, interesting shirt for Frances's eyes.
One day, just to attract her attention, I also brought Babette, my mother's dog.
Frances was unpredictable. Sometimes she would not deign us with one look. And so we would stare at her from the top of a rock, like hungry flocks, trying to catch her gaze. But nothing, there was no way she would look at us, despite being the only human beings in that place.
Other times she would be delighted to hear our stories and she would laugh, talk, ask our names, remember them and repeat them with that unique and unforgettable tone of voice: the only tone of voice capable of arousing desire and inadequacy at the same time.
Since then nothing was the same as before at Al Cantar. Frances never returned after that summer. But we had already changed.