One ring

I answer my cell phone. Or not. I’m confused. I hope to hear a voice, that voice. But it could be someone else. And they would be big problems, which I don’t know how to solve

Driiiin, Driiiiin. The phone rings. It is a number that I do not know. I get paralyzed, my sweat freezes. I’m waiting for you to call me Ibra, he went to get the drugs for two hours now. I’m sick, my bones hurt, I don’t have the strength to get up. This is not his number. Maybe he’s calling me from one of his friends? What a drag. I’ll wait for it to stop ringing, then try calling it back on his. I hope you answer me.

Driiiin Driiiiin. The phone rings. It is a private number. I can’t wait any longer, I need to go out and get myself, I’ve been waiting for too long now. I can’t answer, I don’t know how. They have been looking for me for days. I drag myself to the door, look through the peephole. There is nobody on the landing. I go to the kitchen window, lean out, look down. Is there anyone. I take my diary from the bedside table, open it, I don’t remember how many people I have to return money to. I have an endless list, too many people are looking for me. But I only have 50 euros, and I have to keep it for myself, I have to go on these days until I go to load.

Driiiiin driiiin driiiiin. I can’t hear this noise anymore, now Im going to break this phone. I remove the card, throw it on the ground in the dirt. I rummage in my pockets, thank goodness I have the last bag. I turn down the lights, close the shutters, so I don’t notice it. I take everything I need, I lie down on the bed … later I will think about how to do it. So much one more day. That will ever happen to me.

Driiii Driiiin. The phone rings. I wake up with a start. Maybe it’s my father calling me? I look at the screen, no calls received. Who knows why I thought it was him, maybe I was dreaming of him. He has had my number for years now, I hope he has called me for years, at least to find out how I am. The last time I saw my father was a few months ago. In all, I must have seen it three times. To think that the first time I met him I was fourteen! But it’s not my fault, he’s the one who has never shown up before. He knows I’m doing drugs now, I told him, but he doesn’t seem to care. Maybe because he gets high too, but with cocaine. He probably doesn’t think it’s a problem. When I saw it, it was full of tics and spasms, and over the top as always: of course, with everything he uses! He told me a lot of stories about his drug business, about money, about dealing. I listened to his stories as if they were made up stories, I didn’t believe a single word that came out of his mouth. I saw that he was not well and, when he was, his presence bothered me. Lately I didn’t give any more weight to his health or to his stories: our meeting was fake, I just needed the money. And he knew that to keep me good he had to give them to me. It was an exchange in the end. The rest didn’t matter.

Driiiin Driiiin. The phone rings. And my mother. She tells me that she just went to see the results in school and that they didn’t pass me to the 5th grade. I already knew that. He asks where I am, I can sense agitation in his voice. He tells me that I have to take the first bus and go straight home because we have to talk: after lunch we go to the principal, so I have to move. Then she starts screaming that she’s tired, that she can’t handle my mess alone anymore. What the fuck does she think she knows? He can’t even imagine how I’ve lived all these years in school! Now I’m grown up, and I go out with the forty-year-olds who protect me. So I don’t care. In class I have all people of my age, superficial, that’s why I don’t find myself with them; those others, however, are my father .. what I never had. Everyone knows me, everyone also knows his history, and when I’m with the older ones, the others turn away, they don’t allow themselves to make fun of me! I’m fine with that. It is no longer like in elementary school: there I was alone, helpless, I had just moved and did not know anyone. I was the “stranger of the valley” and, also considering my origins, they made me weigh it every minute. At first I couldn’t even ride on the bus, because every minute someone was yelling at me “NEGRO!”. Or they would follow me to school waiting for the right opportunity, usually when the teachers did not see, to humiliate and offend me. Now, however, the story has changed. Before I was always angry and I let off steam in class, taking notes all the time. Now I am with the older ones and prefer to hang around smoking and drinking with them, not thinking about what awaits me at home.

Driiiin Driiiiin. The phone rings. It is San Patrignano, they tell me that in two days I will enter the community. I get up from the sofa and, staggering, join my mother in the kitchen. I tell her the news, remaining impassive: I can’t feel any emotion inside me. I wanted to tell her something more, hug her, apologize, cry with her, but nothing. Instead she hugs me, whispering “You’ll see that you’ll be fine, Nicola”. I’m confused. One part of me knows that I am doing the right thing, the other is just tired of living: despite this, I just need to take drugs. But I want to try, I have no choice left. My mother may not know that I have been back home for two weeks only because I am up to my neck in debt. That I am entering the Community because I am tired, tired of not sleeping at night anymore for fear that people will come looking for me. I’m tired of not being able to answer the phone anymore for fear of the people I have to pay back to. You do not imagine the relief I felt when I crossed the threshold of the house: it is as if I had been relieved of a thousand weights. I have done nothing but sleep these days, it hadn’t happened for years. I was finally safe. I experienced the same feeling of peace when I entered Sanpa. No one would come knocking on my door for four long years: I would finally be calm. And focused only on me. San Patrignano has given me back the will to live. I was twenty-one when I entered, I had no hopes or certainties. I’m almost twenty-five now, and tomorrow will be the big day.

Driiiii Driiiin. The phone rings. And my mother. “Hi mom, I’m on the train. I’ll be at the station in an hour, wait for me at home, don’t move “.

Taken from “Sanpanews – Voci per crescere” N ° 34 July 2019
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