Monthly Archives: October 2012

satellites_an encounter told by memory #3: 2004

2004_1

we haven’t heard from M in two days. the last time I saw him was at the train station where he took a train for Bologna. he asked me for money, but I only had twenty euros so I couldn’t give him any. I knew he needed them to get dope once he got to Bologna. his mother has been talking on the phone with my sister who kept her informed on what he was up to. a few months ago his parents sent him to this rehabilitation center near Varese. it’s an hidden place on the mountains where they use the same method they used with vietnam reduces when they had to be reintegrated into society. it’s a long process, where they rebuilt your mental schemes and give you as many rules as possible to make everyday life bearable without addictions. but M didn’t make it and decided to leave. they put him in this room, with a chair in the middle, where he was supposed to think about it for a few hours before making a final decision. but he’d already made up his mind, so he took a train for milan and showed up at my place. he only had his backpack, with a jumper and an electric razor inside. he tried to shave his head in the train’s toilet and looked like a scabby dog. after a week at my place, mostly spent getting drunk and laying on the couch waiting for me, he decided to leave. you work all day and I’ve got nothing to do, he said. now he’s vanished, though,  and his mother keeps calling in to check if he made any contact with us. I’m starting to think of the worst:  that he ODed in some filthy toilet or in some remote corner of the train station where nobody can find him. all I can do is walk up and down my living room, unable to relax, nevertheless find peace, hoping, maybe, deep down, for something tragic to happen, that would set the right tone on this all story and finally put it to rest. until the phone rings: it’s him. the mother-fucker acts as if we talked five minutes ago, of course, and hasn’t even the slightest idea of how worried we were.  he says that he loves me and I’m his good friend, which means he’s full of heroin to the bone. he says that once he got to bologna he visited his old flatmates to borrow money he then used to buy dope. he says that once the money were gone he met this american man who was so kind to him and bought him food and let him stay in his hotel room. he says that he feels good and he’s happy and that that’s the life he wants to lead. that when you have dope that’s all you have to think about. I immediately hang up on him, slamming the receiver so hard that it must have sounded as a fuck you on the other side. and it was. my mind goes straight to M fucking the guy in the hotel room. I think about the guy’s face in his intimate parts and I curse them both. I think about how unpleasant and ugly this american man must be and how M could end up like this: kept on heroin by some old rich bastard. I think about a year ago, in Naples, when we kissed on that landing and how it seemed the beginning of something. I think of how I hate my life right now. I think that having an addiction is much more dignified than working in a crappy office and that at least M was able to make a decision for his own life and dedicated it to heroin. I pick up the receiver again and dial N’s number. M is still in Bologna, I say. I know where you can pick him up.

2004_2

I call N and ask him to pass me M on the phone. he’s taking him back to the rehabilitation centre. hearing his tone when he’s not high breaks my heart a little. I’m going back there, he says, it’s for the best. I swallow to avoid bursting into tears. I visualize the highway, full of sun, like California, and him, on the backseat,  looking out the window. I see his long hair and his unironed t-shirt and his metal rings and leather bracelets and the muscles of his lean arms. I imagine the landscape, unfolding out the window, and always regenerating into something new. I know how difficult is for M to stay sober. I know that he would gladly smash his head against that window and inject into that uncatchable landscape the right quantity of blood. just enough to feel the pain. just enough to make its vision bearable. I crave M as much as he craves heroin, yes. and that’s making me want to crave heroin, yes. but the only thing I’m trying to get hooked on it’s actually him. ‘I can’t call you or write to you from there’, he says. ‘I know, I know’.

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satellites_ an encounter told by memory #2: 2003

I came to Naples to meet M and we’re walking through Piazza del Gesù. M says that I look fine and he likes ‘the way I carry myself’. he hasn’t touched heroin for a few months and gained some weight. we decide to go to his place, which is in upper Corso Vittorio. once in his room, we sit on the bed and in a few second he’s already tighten the belt around his arm. after he’s done, he puts it around my arm, shoves the needle in and pushes the plunger, observing the reactions on my face with curiosity, in a slightly sadistic way. then we just lay there, in our private limbos, for a few minutes, until we look for each other’s hand. I haven’t seen M in a while. after an hour, we are finally in the condition to stand and decide to leave the house. we walk until Mergellina, on the seafront, and seat on the rocks. we talk for ages. the sky is grey behind him and so is the sea. it’s january. the wind blows strong around us and M’s hairs move frenetically like crazy whips. we are seating on two different rocks and I suddenly wish we were closer. even though we’re not hungry at all, we decide to go to this place not so far where they say the make the best pizza in Naples. it’s a simple place, with long tables, that looks more like a canteen than an actual restaurant. there’s no private tables and this guy seats right beside us. he must be in his lunch break and he’s wearing a tie. he obviously wants to start a conversation and asks where we’re from, what we do. he soon realizes how stoned we are and feels entitled to lecture me saying that this is my life and I have to be careful. then he quickly wipes his mouth and leaves. as he’s watching him walk out the door, M wonders why people are so into giving cheap life lessons. it’s because it makes them feel better about themselves, I say.

in the evening, N and S arrive with their car and we drive through the city, aimless, stopping in a few bars for drinks. M and I are in the backseat and he carefully positions his hand on my leg. then he kisses my cheek repeatedly and moves to my ear, sucking it, and continues down my neck. I really don’t know how to react to all this so I decide not to. I’m a little worried about the others may think but they don’t seem to notice. before we call it a night, we get more dope and park the car down M’s apartment building to shoot up. once we’re done, M asks me to take him upstairs, because he can’t really walk, and he also wants to talk to me about something. as we get out of the car, N mumbles a couple of words like ‘don’t be long’,  but he’s about to pass out and I can tell he actually doesn’t give a shit. we enter the gate, walk the first flight of stairs and stop in the landing. M turns around and looks at me with shiny, imploring eyes. ‘do you like it when I kiss you?’, he says. ‘yes’. ‘would you like to kiss me right now?’ he hasn’t finished the sentence and our faces are already getting close. then our lips join and our tongues too and it’s perfect, as if it was always meant to be this way, and rather than kissing we’re trying to devour each other’s face. with my hands I feel his shoulder blades, his spine and his ass under his jeans. my blood pressure concentrates on my face and I can see it going red and I can feel this heath running through my whole body. I can’t believe this is happening. I never imagined something so overwhelming. I take a big breathe with my nose and let myself go. the corners of my eyes are wet. it’s like a big revelation. the image of the two of us standing up her and holding each other up is so epic. I wish I could take it forever with me. I wish it didn’t have to end.

satellites_ an encounter told by memory #1: 1999

it’s july and it’s hot as hell outside. M and I spend the afternoons in his room with the light filtering through the blinds. we positioned two mattresses and a rug on the floor. on the rug there’s a huge ashtray, a box always full of grass, roll papers and all our getting-stoned equipment. M has a long pile of CD’s with the whole discography of Aerosmith and Nirvana and Red Hot’s Californication. we don’t leave the house unless we run short of our grass supplies, in which case we have to face the sun and it’s like fighting on the frontline. M only has his underwear and we basically just talk and chill and he often takes short naps.  I personally can’t fall asleep during daytime so when that happens I just hang out by myself, keep changing CD’s ’cause I want to listen to different tracks and think about when this summer will end and how comforting this situation is for me and how it was before getting here and how I pushed back all the shadows. I also watch him sleep. something innocent takes over when he’s passed out. something you’re not able to see otherwise. he relaxes into this long and deep breaths that make him look like a child. and I get lost following the line of his skinny legs and his face pushed against the pillow with his fat lips and his long eye-lashes. in the rare occasions we feel like going out, we go to this park in the valley. there’s a crystal clear water stream that comes down right from the mountain and runs through it.  you can rent this small pedal boats and go till the end of the park where there’s this old rusty bridge we usually stop under, sometimes even for hours.  the trees are so tall and their crowns create shadows and the surface of the water reflects everything as perfectly as a mirror. it’s beautiful. it’s a place for us.

I left home a few months ago. there was this big fight and I ran outside as fast as I could and my father came after me on a bike with this big butcher knife in his hand. I got into this field of tall grass where I knew he couldn’t reach me, turned around and raised my arms crossed in the air as to say ‘I will have you arrested this time’. He went mad. I knew that was to worst thing I could do to him and that’s why I did it. after that, going back home equaled suicide. my mother, as usual, remained silent, not knowing what to say or what to do, hiding behind her broken heart and her ever-present depression.  I actually don’t even know where she was when it happened. she must’ve been seating on her  bedside staring at the wall or in the terrace on the back looking at the neighbors garden, hoping for something to distract herI always tell M that I envy him because his parents seem so open and smart and sensitive and seem to want the best for him. but M never comments on his family. it’s like running on this open road for miles and suddenly bump into a big wall. silence.

sometimes V hangs out with us, she’s from Naples. sometimes M and her start making out when we’re in his room. usually, I just continue doing whatever I’m doing and glance over at them once in a while. they don’t seem to realize I’m there in those moments. I feel left out, but it’s not so bad. days are very long. in the evening we cook something and drink ourselves senseless in the garden. sometimes we stay there till the morning. when we wake up the sky is clear and the grass is damp. we get up without saying a word, collect our empty bottles and drag ourselves inside.

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