I am sitting at my desk trying to concentrate but it is damn difficult.
These Italians talk.
They talk all the time. For a listener like me this is quite a challenge.
We are spending 10 working hours together, as long as a shift lasts. It gets even nastier when they get together in groups, emigrating from their desks, moving through the office.
What should I do? Should I ask them to close their mouths ones and for all? Not my way. Should I get angry and hate myself for being there? No, not my way either.
I listen and put the pieces together so that when we interact I am able to give them a gift.
And also, I am having the chance to understand the state of life in that moment, for young Italians abroad. By understanding the other side of the coin, the things which one does not say, I can dive deeper into the italian space and thus, into that which makes us human beings as a whole.I only need one channel.
Last saturday was intense. A lot of listening and confusion again but this time I managed to arrive to the root, if not, get very close.
The theme of this particular protagonist is marriage. He never misses the chance to mention it when he sees a girl (photo of).
“This one is nice but not to be married to.”
” Just for gighi-gighi-bum-bum, for 2 nights! ” – adds the Italian returned -from- vacation + burial- of-dead- mother. Gighi-gighi-bum-bum is his theme. He also has the ability to see it everywhere. He is almost 40 years old.
“I will go to this girl and ask her: hey, do you want to marry me?”
“I was about to get married but I didn’t, her parents were too insistent”
And on and on..
So, last saturday. His parents separated last saturday.
He called home (yes, while in duh office) and got the news from his sister. For a moment I felt his real presence. For a moment he did not talk nonsense. Not running away, looking for girls to marry or to f****. Right there I could feel his sadness, I could see what he really wants. I could understand the conflict going on in his mind and heart.
He wants real connection. A real woman who understands him and does not run away when he get’s lost or is weak.
He wants an emotional, intelligent and also f***able woman, to use the shortcut.
He can not find it because he is still caught by his past experiences, still running on the old fuel, still going out and looking for cheap, disposable experiences.The delusion gathers in his heart, he comes to work and lets it all out. In the weekend he starts all over again.
Marriage is tricky, complicated and also a blessing.
As I little girl I decided that I will not get married.
I was questioning myself, who does this to himself? Why?
I was suffering deeply each time my parents were fighting. My world was crashing. I felt lost, alone and afraid, I felt unimportant and unseen. I felt dead. I wanted death to myself.
It was not always a fight. We had good moments too, we worked together and build our house and the garden. My father was obliged to leave us and go to look for work in Portugal, than in Russia. I do not remember anything in particular from those 3 years when he did not come home while in Portugal. I remember being afraid all the time, having this hunger which is not related to food, the need to help my mother and sister so that we could survive. Falling deeper each day.
Now, it seems that my parents finally, after over 30 years together, accepted each other. And I believe, they are learning to love each other again. But I could never forget the cutting into flesh feeling of the previous years. Now they live normally, they want to have the usual relationship parents and children have, which is understandable, but I am still looking for a solution, how to live at all.
This week my sister celebrated 2 years of marriage.
I remember the ceremony of her union.
My father returned from Russia. My father was weak and had no teeth. His clothes seemed so large on him. He seemed to be somewhere else. His body walking next to the body of my mother seemed out of place, strange. My mother was trying to be happy even if, I know, they both regretted that they could not afford a different, bigger party or more help to the newly weds. She was talking, my father was distracted.
In his pocket he kept an avocado for me. From Russia, he brought it from Russia.
I asked for permission from work in order to attend. I could go only for a couple of hours.
It was surreal because in our house we did not discuss relationships or what happens when a man and a woman get together. And (big news) I did not have any contact with this world because in my mind these things did not exist, were banned! not to be done! wrong! No teenage love stories for me, no first love, no first kiss.
When my sister told me that she will get married I did not know how to react. I said, OK, fine. As if she was telling me: I am going to the market. It was a low period in our life as a family and I barely knew her future husband. We met a few times only. She did everything by herself. As if the thing that was happening: falling in love, knowing this person and living with it was not supposed to be discussed or seen, just accepted.
This was her trying to keep her world in one piece, trying to close the gap created by the non communication in the past.
I returned to the office that day and wrote a poem.
This was me trying to map my position in the world, in life, in the universe.
Now, I believe that marriage is more a commitment to yourself than it is a promise to the other person or an expectation from the other person.
It means that one decides today the direction of his life. The direction but not how it will unfold. Anything is acceptable and expectable. It means that you give yourself physically only to that person (not because you are shortsighted, but because you are so curious and alive that you can discover always new things though the same channel). It means that you take care of yourself in order to be strong and present for the partner, it means that you talk about any damn thing, it means no silenced doubts which in time become secrets. It means humanity. It means that you work on yourself and your partner can see your development, plus your socks, underwear and other hardware stuff. It means that you create together. Which is fun.
If the agreement fails it means that somewhere you lost the connection with yourself or that your believes were violated. Nothing wrong, you just need to get back on track.
My Italian colleague kept to himself after some more clarifying calls to his father, this brother, his sister and a couple of friends with whom he shared the news. He was looking at me. I told him-“maybe it’s just a fight”, even if I know, that a fight is not just a fight for a child. I will keep listening to this child as long as I will be here. Maybe it will help.
Yesterday he was all excited about another night out and the possibilities that it holds.