Un petit morceau de…L’equilibrio imperfetto

Saudade in Madrid

The lament of the ancestral fado awoke her causing her a bad mood. Long before, it had filled her with longing and anger. The husky voice, sexy and rough, scraping from  the singer’s soul, forwarded  the feeling of saudade. What it meant then saudade, perhaps nobody could explain. An untranslatable word, leaving the impression that this was something unavoidable. Fate? Yet on other days the music had made her dream and wander to distant lands, back in time, at the dawn of those songs of love.
“Inés! Turn off the turntable! ”
The girl had been helping with the housework for an hour already, uncomfortably shuffling around the house while she slept upstairs. Sleeping may-be was not the right word. That night she had  fallen asleep very late, almost at the first light of the morning, and now she could not pull herself out of bed.
How many times had she bidden Inès not to touch the records, notwithstanding she continued to do as she pleased. They were the collection of Max, who preferred them to cassettes, CDs, electronic music. A passion that he grew at the flea markets, around the world, or on the Internet. His old-fashioned note, through which he sympathized with the suffering of abandonment, the transport of love, the erosion of jealousy.
They were Max and she did not want to remember. Too painful. The vinyl records were still there, stacked on the console, close to the second-hand turntable of the time he, a troubled teenager, had been a DJ at his friends’ parties.
She did not even dare to throw them away, though. Afraid, that was the word, afraid to erase it all with a simple gesture.
From beyond the slate roofs, as well as from the attics, echoes of other music arrived. They came first confused, then increasingly sharp. She was moved again by the notes of gypsy tears, slow and prolonged, flamenco evokes as painful separation as hers. When she had learned to appreciate flamenco she could not suspect that she would have suffered the pangs of love herself. It resembled  artists’ fiction or melodramas of the years gone. She was a modern woman, then her story would have lasted forever. Illusions!
At first she had found the dance ridiculous and outdated, a mania for old-fashioned Max, one of his many contradictions, or just a contradiction of his country. But now she was beginning to understand that one had to have that culture in the blood to identify with the pain mimed by the dancers. One had to have suffered as much as those two  pretended lovers when, whirling and stamping their feet in the ticking of intoxicating dance, sought each other with the  alluring and sensual lithe, or rejected the other with fury, offended by jealousy. As it was happening to her now.
Once, Inés had asked to borrow the records, since no one listened to them any more, but she had  replied that Max would come and take them. Another excuse to keep them as a witnessing of Max in her life.
“Who knows what he looks like now!” she wondered, shaking her head. Max liked to change his identity, he did it, indeed,  almost to appeal to luck or to find the drive to start again every time he closed a phase of his existence. Was he brown or blond-haired now or was he wearing a goat-like oxygenated beard as you could see many young guys on the catwalks and the streets of the capital city? Was he still wearing the black worn leather jacket or had he, instead,  opted for the look of a young manager, framed in a pinstriped suit and a  bright  tie, the only remnant of the artist’s extravagance?
Inside her, however, Max was still  a sly boy, a camera pointed on the world. And the world, in turn, was for him the mine from which he could draw stories and plots for his screenplays. Max, a writer of short films that was making his way into the  cinema world with the stubbornness that helped him in every enterprise, but  had also complicated their life together.
Not that she was less stubborn. Their career. They imagined it brilliant and it was already for both, but not enough. Higher and higher, with the idea fixed in their minds corroding and drying them in their selfishness and poisoning their love.
“Damned bids! *” – Scarlett blurted out. She too! With her stubbornness and obsession for the job, she had just deserved it. It was the first time since they had split up, or rather, Max had left her, she could admit it. Her friend Angelo was right and, making up with his ex-girlfriend, had shown he had understood the ways of love and living together often require renouncing. At least enough not to capitulate completely facing each other.
What was ironic was that Angelo had just learned from her!

Lucia Sallustio



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