“They go on with their lives here. I might have realized it just now”.
This is what Michele told me. With his eyes looking down, to the left, as he was feeling guilty of something. Then he looked back at me. The green was surrendered; the traces of gold were wet.
My friend from the seaside moved to the Netherlands almost two years ago: he left, then he came back, then he left again. He is young and in his veins there is still the blood of his grandfather, a sailor. Two realities that might have made him love an icon like the anchor but yet, they will not allow him to drop it in any harbor for long.
Michele is right. When you’re gone, you might think that you’re the only one moving on. What you leave behind, you expect it will wait for you, untouched, in the shape that your eyes still remember, as at the moment you turned your sight on your shoulders, for the last goodbye. It’s an ancient sin, looking back. It can turn you into a pillar of salt. Something, inside you, stays ossified: it’s the image of what you expect to find when you’ll be back.
Then you come back, for real. Maybe just for a few days. Your father looks crooked, your mother sits down too often. The daughter of your friend in high school calls you uncle and she knows your name. The last time you’ve seen her, she wasn’t able to talk yet.
You move on, they move on, the paths are simply not the same.
Amsterdam, for many reasons, is a town where you don’t stop. It can be a bubble of grace, where you live the ‘right here right now’, because you might think that “Home” is still waiting for you.
We are all prodigal children.
However “Home” is not ‘right here and right now’, “Home” moves on.
Then you start to realize that about your anchors, you shall start to drop them somewhere, in some harbor.
Maybe not here, not now.
Considering that nothing around you stays still, maybe it’s your turn to stop.
The colors of the Adriatic sea in Michele’s eyes and his surrender, that afternoon in December, reminded me of the short Greek trees described by Erri de Luca:
“Few trees grow there, short for the wind that bends them. Lashed to the ground, their roots are twisted around the stones. If uprooted, they show to the wind the defeat of their grip”.
Quote: “Storia di Irene” by Erri de Luca, Feltrinelli 2013
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