Ieri ho finito la prima stesura del mio romanzo in corso d’opera. Ci saranno altre stesure, rifiniture, tagli, aggiunte. Ma la prima stesura, lo scheletro, è tutta nel mio quaderno, scritta fitta fitta.
Ed è da ieri che non faccio altro che pensare a un racconto che ho scritto nel 2008, in inglese, dal titolo Please, can you be proud of me?, mai completato, cioè mai rifinito del tutto. A un certo punto qualcosa successe per cui lo lasciai così come era. La protagonista di questo racconto ha molto a che fare con la protagonista del mio romanzo in corso d’opera.
Ecco quel racconto.
PLEASE, CAN YOU BE PROUD OF ME?
– She never liked me, anyway. Can you hand me the new bottle of shampoo, love, you forgot to throw away the empty one. The shower, what a great invention!
– Paul, can you do it for me?
– What? I can’t hear you!
– Paul, please.
– You must go on, love, go on, just do it for yourself. Now, would you please hand me the new bottle of shampoo? – Thank you, love. Shower shower shower! – Paul? – What? Did you say something? Please shout or I will not hear you! – Paul, would you marry me?
– You know what, love? I think your are doing a very decent thing with your mother. Very decent. Love, do you think next time you can buy a neutral shampoo?
Mum, I’ll be married soon. I’d like you to be present. I think they will leave you come. I’m your daughter, am not I? And your are my mother, after all. Sure, I understand, you could not possibly be my bird-bride but at least you will be there. They must let you come. I’ll talk to them, you just don’t worry. I’ll talk to them, doctors and nurses. After all, this what you have always wanted from me, to get married and be a respectable woman and it’s never too late to be a respectful woman. Are you happy, Mum? Are you happy that you’re daughter will be married shortly? Oh, no, Mum, I’ve already told you that I can’t have children anymore. I’ve past the age for that, but it’s ok, he loves me anyway. I whish you could meet him, at least before the wedding, but he has been so busy lately that he just couldn’t make it, don’t be upset about it, nothing is wrong and he always asks me How was you mother today. Why do they dress you like this? You have never liked the pink colour, I told them so many times. Beside, it does not suit you. Let me give you my coat, it’s far too hot for me. See? It’s much nicer, light brown, like the colour of the sand. Do you remember that summer in the South of France? That lovely house right on the beach and I remember you so well looking out the window and you told me that the sea was for you the infinite and I couldn’t stop running to the window and next to you looking for the infinite myself. I guess you were still happy back then. You Susan and I, and you made us play with your clothes and make-up, all together. Susan looked much nicer than I did, she was like you. Mum, I know that you still blame me for what happened to Susan and you still blame yourself, but it’s not my fault, Mum and it’s not yours. What could I do, Mum? I whish the doctors were wrong, I whish you would answer me, at least once in my hole life. But no, you can’t hear me, you can’t speak to me; they discharge you on this wheelchair and leave you sunbathing “like a flower”. No, Mum, don’t be upset, I think Nurse Laura was paying you a compliment. Like a flower, it’s a nice thing to say. She could not help it, Mum, it’s not m fault. It’s no our fault. Beside, sometimes I wonder why no one ever thought she wasn’t well. I mean someone outside the family, someone who was emotionally detached. How, Mum, I whish you could tell me, now that all is over, how you made our family disappear amongst million of people. Like when Susan and I where kids and she butted my face and head against the dishwasher machine so many times and so hard that I was recovered at the hospital for 24 days. She had run away and you went looking for her. I was in God’s hand, it’s what you said and left me there at the hospital. You had to chose, I guess, but I wish you had chosen differently.
I like birds, their singing. Let me close your eyes, Mum, so you can concentrate and listen to this lovely singing. It’s not wonderful? You can listen to them and imagine the nicest things. You can dream. I often do it, especially those Sundays morning when Paul’s away in one of his business trip and I have the entire bed for myself. I spread my arms and widen my legs and with my eyes closed I pay attention to the music of the nature.
Why did no one ever notice that she was born too sad for this world, or maybe I’m wrong, it was the world that was too sad for her. Maybe you were the only one who could understand her and maybe that’s way you always protected her so much, against all evidence.
I had to go away, Mum, can you understand me? I had to. I wasn’t made for our family. Do you remember when she used to teasing me that I wasn’t you’re real daughter, that I had been adopted? The thing is that at some point I started to believe that what she said was true, and I went to the Council and asked to everyone working there to tell me the name of my real mother and where her house was. No one said anything to me, of course, so I came back home thinking that my real parents had lost me and you found me one the street and took me with you. Silly, isn’t? I whish you would speak with me, Mum, just once. Not a single word since she died. You shouted her name when you found her cold in bed and you shouted it again and again. And you looked at me and said her name and nothing else but silence, and I understood straight away that we all were vanished. Twenty years are a long time, Mum, but I’m still here. Speak my name, please. Mum. I’m here.
Do you still blame me? What for, Mum? I had to go away form you both. No, Mum, no one forced me, but I saw chances of a different life. And I made it, Mum, look at me. I’m a happy woman who will be married soon, next spring at the latest. We haven’t decided the exact date yet, but it will happen. Are you proud of me? No, Mum, it’s not like the other times. I’m sure he loves me and that he’s the right man for me. Do you think I’m too old for that as well? Like when I finally had my BA and you said a BA at thirty-seven!.. and I heard your laugh over the phone. I’d whished you were there the day of the ceremony of graduation. But Paul was there, I have already told you, and I think it was nice of him to come and clap hands for me even tough we had just start dating. It was a nice ceremony. No, Mum, be quite, I’m not saying anything against you, of course you couldn’t come. Of course, her first anniversary and all that. Be quite, please.
Listen, Mum, listen to me. We should both be happy because I’m going to be married. Please, can you be proud of me, just once? It’s never too late to be happy, Mum, never too late. I guess we must be patient, still and wait.
I think I had better run, Mum. Better run.
He kissed her on the front head and sat at the table. – How is she? – Well… you know… – Yeah… He took her hand in his and kissed it. – Just don’t think about it, honey, not too much.
He made her sign to sit on his lap. He kissed her on the cheek, down to the neck. His face was so close to hers that she could barely distinguish the trait of his face. And she felt relieved and whished that moment would last forever.