Creativity Magazine

Sneak Peak p. 293

By Heddigoodrich
Sneak peak p. 293It was like being in the midst of a lucid dream. The Quartieri Spagnoli looked different, not at all as I remembered it when I’d left little over a week ago. Via De Deo itself was unnaturally narrow and dark, especially with what seemed like unusual quantities of sheets and tablecloths hanging from the balconies and obscuring the last fragments of sky. The buildings were vertiginously tall; I had to avert my gaze to keep from stumbling. But even the cobblestones looked odd: blacker and more worn than I’d ever noticed them to be, and covered in a fine layer of dust, almost undisturbed, like since I’d been gone no one had trod them and no rain had fallen. It was abnormally quiet, as if during my absence all those who were able to had escaped.
Era come vagare nel bel mezzo di un sogno lucido. I Quartieri Spagnoli erano diversi, per niente come me li ricordavo di quando ero partita poco più di una settimana prima. Via De Deo stessa mi risultava straordinariamente stretta e buia, soprattutto con una quantità insolita di lenzuola e tovaglie appese ai balconi che celavano le ultime schegge di cielo. I palazzi erano così vertiginosi che dovetti distogliere lo sguardo per evitare di inciampiare. Ma anche i basoli mi parevano strani: non avevo mai notato quanto fossero anneriti e consumati, ricoperti ora di uno strato sottile di polvere quasi indisturbato, come se nella mia assenza non fossero stati calpestati da piedi né sfiorati dalla pioggia. C’era una strana calma, come se tutti quelli che potevano fossero fuggiti.
“Where is everyone?” I said to Bruno as we stepped over the threshold into the courtyard.
“Dove stanno tutti quanti?” chiesi a Bruno mentre varcavamo la soglia del cortile.
“You know what it’s like around Ferragosto. Half the city is still away. Either that or they’ll all inside right now stuffing their faces.”
“Sai com’è qui a ferragosto. Mezza Napoli sta ancora fuori. Oppure stanno tutti a casa ad abbuffarsi.”
Indeed, it was lunchtime. As we walked up the six flights, I could smell it through the open doors and balconies. We walked up through different layers of aromas – fried squid, smoked provolone, tomato sauce – and with each flight we rose through layers of sounds too – running water, a child crying, the Bold and the Beautiful, in Italian simply Beautiful. Still everything felt subdued, muffled, almost far away. In that stifling heat of that empty hour I felt like I was wrapped in a big wad of cotton. None of what I was perceiving felt real. Or maybe everything else was real but it was me who wasn’t real. It was a physical sensation, an almost organic alienation.
Infatti, era l’ora di pranzo. Mentre facevamo a piedi i sette piani, lo si percepiva dagli odori che provenivano dalle porte spalancate e dai balconi. Salendo, passavamo attraverso diversi strati di odori – calamaro fritto, provola affumicata, sugo di pomodoro – e con ogni piano superavamo anche uno strato di rumori – l’acqua che scorreva, un bambino che piangeva, la telenovela Beautiful. Però il tutto mi risultava smorzato, ovattato, perfino distante. In quell’afa soffocante in quell’ora vuota della giornata, mi sentivo avvolta in un batuffolo di cotone. Niente di ciò che percepivo sembrava vero. O forse tutto il circostante era vero ma io invece non lo ero. Era una sensazione fisica, un’alienazione quasi organica.
“I can feel it already in my eyes,” echoed Bruno’s voice as we stepped into our apartment and he set his bag down softly on the tiles.
“Già lo sento negli occhi,” echeggiò la voce di Bruno come entrammo nel nostro appartamento, lui poggiando delicatamente la borsa sulle mattonelle.
“Feel what?”
“Cosa?”
“The smog. My eyes are stinging already.” “Lo smog. Già mi bruciano gli occhi.”

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