My name is Andrea and I’m a mechanic. I have always had a passion for engines and powerful machines; I’ve always loved the rush of adrenaline I used to get when I pushed myself to the limit, and I’m not just talking about when I was behind the wheel
I was pretty young when I started to use. I stopped going to school when I was thirteen because I only had time to think about work and play. Then one day I couldn’t take it anymore. I thought I had it all: a good job, a family and a fantastic kid. But at the same time I had nothing. I lived to get high and I managed to totally alienate myself in my work. It was all a game to me and soon started to forget about everyone but myself. Then reality started to rear its ugly head. I couldn’t go on like this. I was harming myself and those few people that had remained in my life that still loved me. So I made the most important decision I had ever made in my life: to enter San Patrignano.
I’ve been here for almost two years now and I’m slowly putting back the pieces. My situation isn’t easy. It involves social workers, character reviews and controlled visits but I’m grateful all the same. I get to see the most beautiful person in the world: my son. I saw him for the first time a few months ago and I was totally overwhelmed with emotion. He screamed when he saw me and came running towards me and I had to hold back the tears when he hugged me.
That moment was so powerful. All I could to was hold him, be strong for him, just like a good dad. I’ve never been good with words; I’m just a mechanic. It’s not easy to stay present for a five year old when you are far away from home. Writing letters just doesn’t cut it. A child needs to feel your presence, your emotions, but I was too far away to transmit them. But I needed to express myself, to express all that I was feeling inside, to convey what I was feeling to my son. So I started to draw.
As you can see, I’m not much of an artist. I tried to commit everything I had ever learned as a mechanic, all the knowledge I had on engines and pistons, to try and create the shapes of those cartoons. I wanted to bring some warmth and colour to those white sheets. You probably won’t believe me but it took me over four hours to draw! Time well spent though. In my child’s eyes I am a cartoonist, which is amazing. Sometimes it takes so little to do something nice for those people who you really love.