ways home

at the very end of midnight i was in my room, waiting for a sleep that never comes. at the very beginning of the morning – not one minute past the darkest hour – i heard a knock on my door. faint it was, lacking of hope. i opened the door, and it was no raven. a drunk figure appeared, dressed in day-to-day clothes: old friend of mine, of long-time-no-see. i invited her in, pointed to the chair: please, please seat. want some tea?

no, no she said. thank you. i came here to talk to you. do you have the time? she proceeded. of course i had the time. i was all ears. i produced then two cups from my old yellow kitchen and re-heated coffee: the best i could offer in months since my last job. anyway, she went on talking. i knew what she was going to say: something about him. it only could be about him. could not be about us, since we were friends, but not that very good of friends. we knew each other, we went to each other’s birthday celebrations… but i only REALLY knew her brother. her brother, whose figure now fainted slightly in my head. i haven’t seen him since i’ve moved out of the luxurious condo i had rented on the east side, between the publisher’s house and the greasy italian cantina.

anyway. she turned to me, sobbing, and, as i had predicted, said that Luca went missing. have you seen him? has he showed up at your door? no no, he hasn’t. he hasn’t showed up at my door for many months now, not ever since everything happened, i don’t even know if he has my new address. he probably didn’t have it. i don’t remember giving it to him, i don’t remember any of our before-mutual-friends and now-my-friends talking/walking by his side. in the matter of fact, i haven’t seen him walking on the streets nor painting his canvas by the fountains and cafés of the square. i can’t remember the last time i saw him. yet.. no! now i remember! crossing his way on John’s bar, one night, his somber figure by the pool tables, scotch and ice in hand. oh my god, i’m sorry, this coffee tastes terrible. i’m sorry. don’t sip it. anyway, i remember him… now i see! so clear! as it were yesterday. dirty grey coat, that one he bought at the thrift store, at the canadian salvation army. canada was so cold. we didn’t freeze to death because of our coats and our booze. somber, very somber he was. cigarette on the corner of his lips, eyelids so dark. he seemed deranged, i gotta confess, if not sad. but he tended to be that way. sad. maybe it was the drinks. alcohol and him did not mix well: he had that moments of hilarious laughs and that contagious happiness, followed by the worst trip down i have ever seen in a human being.

yes, yes. he was so sad – she interrupted me. sometimes i would go to his room and see him, by the side of the bed, on the floor, lights always off, lps playing softly in the background. nick cave, nick cave and the bad seeds. david bowie. eyes closed, dry tears. sometimes he would be asleep after crying, tears still tarnishing his pale pale cheeks. what could i do? i had no guts to talk to him, i just let him go. he had to go. i had to let him go. and now I have to go, i’m sorry. i am sorry for taking your time. if you cross his way somewhere, if the phone rings and it’s him, help him. he needs your help. please, PLEASE, tell him to go home. home is waiting for him. please tell him that there are ways to come home.

off the door she went. on the paper, a few weeks later, he was found dead. the phone never rang after all.

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