What comes after
Will there be an after? In the past it would always have been taken for granted there would be an after. Or is it the After with a capital A which I should write about? The After that establishes a connection with our destiny, with death, “with the emptiest of images”, as some philosophers have described it, with that afterlife that is here, today? I’ll try sending you a previously unpublished Miniature of Campiano (Miniatura campianese): I have written others, after those already published, and this one seems to be the most appropriate because being on the edge, between the sky and the darkness, is already an invocation to the dark deity of the future.
One night I dreamt that one of my brother’s little twin friends would die. Scared and traumatized by this vision of blood I confessed it to my mother: she shouted at me, and told me to keep these things to myself, they should not be confessed to anyone. She did not explain why, that was it. The day after everybody found out about the death of the little twin. I felt guilty for not having done anything at all. I could have saved him, I do not know how, but if only I had confessed it to others, I thought, it might not have happened. At the funeral I looked at my mother to find some comfort in that terrible pain. My mother pretended not to know anything, she did not talk to me, she did not apologize, she never talked about it again. Some time later, when I dreamt about the death of another person, I again tried talking about it with my mother: “you are not well” she told me, “that’s the end of the matter”. I suffered a lot due to this indifference of my mother, I thought she wanted to keep me at a distance because she believed I was guilty for the death of these people. I did not want to sleep anymore. I did not want those dreams to visit me, I was sure that it was me who was the cause of these events. I believed this for a very long time, because I continued to dream of the dead, and not tell anyone about it. One day, completely overwhelmed, I confessed everything to my primary school teacher. I was taken to a doctor in Bologna. At that time, going from the countryside to see a doctor in Bologna, meant the matter was really a serious one. I do not know what the specialist said, I do not even remember his face or his specialisation. My parents never talked to me about this and I never confided in them. For several months I had to put up with some painful injections before going to sleep. Once I heard my mother say to my younger sister that she should be patient with me, that I was a nervous child, and she was luckier because she was good. These words, heard by chance as I was about to enter the kitchen, gave me further proof that my nights were nothing to do with anyone but me, that I would give my dreams another body, another name. It took some time to understand, and who knows if I ever understood or even if I understand now, those moments of clarity that have gradually evolved in becoming an adult. The presence of ranks of ghostlike figures, their way of appearing, the effigies that emerged and still disturb my sleep, have been a torment of reality, a struggle of the spirit, hieroglyphs of the night. It still continues today, despite the fight to keep it away from the centre, at the bottom of the well.