Stories

Freezing repairing stones

In my inner walls, I could not see any further. But in the Franciscan monastery, I see light on things, all amplified. The light, which pallidly illuminates the cold rooms, flooding everything in the vicinity of the windows, is also of course, the sense of reaching positivity; after years spent in suffer and discomfort of mind, finding myself swallowed by lightning-fast passing time, feeling imperceptible warnings from others, while I was living badly, I was more than certain that my perception now has changed with an organized way of thinking. Today it is the same day of when I entered the monastery four years ago. I arrived on foot, after days of torment, only with the weight of water, it saved me but it weighed, especially because I was fasting. This fast was wanted because I refused superfluous things that I actually needed, not that I did not like to eat, but I did it in protest to all my misfortune, I preferred not to waste time and keep walking. I was leaving from a life of abandonments and disappointments, as well as the awareness of all the difficulties; present in society and in sociability. Although back then I was lucky, in a way; I had a room in a house of Chinese immigrants, assiduous workers; their absence made their children cry, along with the noise of public transportation that passed, it filled the otherwise emptiness, like the inner one in me. However bursts of deranged peaks of noises in my head, disturbed me, as the words of rap songs I repeatedly said, not to mention some occasional voices in my head. Sure of being spied from tiny holes in the ceiling and creating in my mind love affairs that others wanted with me, when in fact those, hardly managed to see me around; I saw in Milan familiar faces of people impossible to be there. I was afraid to go out, it scared me to show myself in public, to face people, simply with a look. I only went out at night, with a job as an assistant guard, when in the office I took care of the paperwork, archiving all in a database; the guard I was working with was also a drug dealer. I had been using Marijuana and Mdma only; already for years. During the day, all high, I listened to my music in my room, it was Minimal Tek, to which I overlapped many pieces of varied music. That varied music, reminded me of when my family listened to it; they had disinherited and abandoned me. They did this, to protect the family, I, in fact gave a heart attack that killed my far cousin’s father, this happened when I was about to commit suicide, almost throwing myself from a ravine. As I started having debts with the drug dealer, who was the only person I saw, and with whom I consumed drugs that I bought at very high prices; I had to ask for the liquidation. I paid a full semester for my room; on my return, I found my suitcase and the lock of the door changed. So I walked for days along the Francigena way towards the monastery. I decided to do so, because of my asexuality and because I remembered, when I received the sacred oil of Confirmation; the Bishop told me of his intuition, saying that he perceived a strong spirituality in me. Day after day, psalms, vespers and vigils after days spent on my knees gazing in the emptiness towards sacred paintings, like turbulent waters I calmed down. Initially, I opened my mouth only to sing the Gregorian songs, I prayed only in my mind, I did not speak to anyone; as I crossed my glance to the other friars, I received some hits of mind failure. The decompensation made me repeatedly swallow saliva without stopping, sweating in my hands, having to hold on to the icy stones of the walls. It afflicted me with an insatiable itching, which came up my spine, having to free myself of the poor wool that heated me; moreover, I moved my head indelibly to one side, showing a scar, like a gash on the shaved right side of my head; this made me sink into paranoia, because it showed the other novice friars, my past as a drug addict. In fact, I was often beaten up in the streets of the cold Milan, not only when I was robbed and left on the ground with cerebral hemorrhage, but sometimes, given my impulsiveness in my impassivity, when feeling injustice I had anger tantrums. So schoolmates picked on me, they pretended to be my friends walking with me, when in fact they told pushers, that I was the one who stole drugs that the extremely dangerous and furious dealers hid in the snow, during the cold winters. Finding myself lost in some unknown area of Milan, where my exploitative fake friends abandoned me, they also told girls that I had false teeth, as it is so, because of incidents of mockery, so the girls repudiated me; all this happened, partly due to my very envied family origins and my partial asexuality. Of the novice friars, I envied their studies that led them to graduation, while I did not even finish middle school, I was constantly changed from school because I couldn’t handle groups that often ignored me, those I hanged around with, were those of drug addicts; hence, I was always expelled. I had a constant sense of immense loneliness. Ten years now marked the last time I saw my family; the last time I saw them was during an argument, which ended with my mother and my brothers running away from me and my father giving me a punch where I miss part of my skull because of accidents I had; then he seemed reassuring, he spoke to me, embracing me, asking himself how he apologizes to my mother for that day nine months before I was born, then he told me about the damage that drugs do, using a calm tone, and gave me some money. As I returned, the porter told me to leave, if I did not want serious trouble. From that day onwards, I stayed for a decade in Chinatown in the room that I managed to keep thanks to the drug dealer, partly thankful for the fortune he had earned on me. My family moved, in a place completely unknown to me. Before becoming completely sociopathic; sometimes, I saw in the streets, some friends of my brothers, as they saw me, they ignored me, even when I spoke to them. On the coldest night of the year, however, I am happy. The prior monk has reconciled me with my family. He distinguished the face of my mother with mine, when by chance, last month she was hiking in the Francigena, she stopped for the night in the monastery, and painted the interior of the Monastery. The prior monk took her business card and bought the painting; despite the funds of the monastery were finished and we lived in the cold, because the Vatican had excommunicated all because of the incessant objection that the prior friar had, when some visitors saw my sick state and wanted me to be interned. The friar prior with much commitment, along mine, had gradually changed my condition of depression, further aggravated by sedatives. As I was reconciled to my family, after having shown that I’m able to stay clean and live properly, every day in the desecrated monastery that has become a farm, and travelers lodging, I wonder: if only I had known before, of how much damage there is in drugs and how blessing is to have a nice company.

Benedict