“Nothing to do, as you may see she doesn’t speak, raise her head or move. She’s been sat there like this since 8 o’clock this morning”.
“She’s not in the missing people list, nobody looking like her has ever been reported to us”.
“A female colleague of us has frisked the girl, yet she holds nothing but her rucksack. If she’s got some money, she keeps it in her knickers”.
“Can you leave the two of us alone with the girl, please?”. The three policemen go slowly out of the room, unwillingly. The social worker and the educator take their eyes off the door only after it has been completely shut down. They concentrate on breathing at the girl’s same rhythm, they search for a subtle link between them… maybe they’re all the same age.
“My name is Miriam, she’s Lucia, we’re two social workers of the Municipality”. Miriam omits her true profession for short, it would be useless to explain such details to a girl who of course declared to be called “Maria Rossi1” and who completed the most complicated and difficult crossword in the shabby Settimana Enigmistica2 found in her rucksack.
“You can talk to us freely and fearlessly, in the end what they care about is your real age, if you’re actually over eighteen they will let you go, you just have to state it. But if something has happened to you and we can help in any way, don’t be scared. You know we are bounded up with professional secret and what you tell us, remains among these four walls”. The easier part of the speech, the formal one, is done.
Lucia raises up one eyebrow while she stares at the silence of the girl. Blonde, pretty.
“Were you going to Mandello because you know someone around there?”.
“Yes? You meant you do?”. Lucia gives voice to the hope of being able to penetrate in the visible cracks of that wall in front of her by properly interpreting the girl’s head movement, but no other reaction can confirm. “Where did you sleep last nights? Do you have a place to lay your head tonight?”.
Miriam thinks that too many questions only cork the narrow funnel of communication of this uncanny girl more and more. So, she explores the aching topics about “teenager fled away from home”, even if this person carries any scent of adolescence at all. So different is the smell of days and nights with no bed or roof or bath that surrounds her indeed, notwithstanding the obvious cleanliness and softness of her hair.
“Your mom and dad will be worried, if it’s true that you’ve been around for a long time, as the policemen told us”.
Lucia believes that Miriam’s strategy is correct, but assumes that the topic is wrong, as the girl’s head sinks down even more and hair covers her face completely. She shrewdly pushes the provoke button.
“Getting to the point, we must consider you as deaf and dumb or something like that. If you look up at me we can communicate by gestures. Even a finger up to fuck me off is okay, whatever you like”.
Miriam and Lucia give a knowing look to each other. They get themselves in a moment as usual and decide to be silent. Fight fire with fire, Lucia thinks; why can’t I reach you?, Miriam torments herself; and together wait for seconds, minutes.
Through the sun’s golden reflections among her hair, the girl’s black eyes look up and her chin rises slightly, seeking for Lucia’s hazel eyes first, then Miriam’s brown ones. Both hold their breath: maybe now those lips would separate, producing sounds that will explain what she was doing this morning all alone and by foot on the highway, where she was going to, what she was escaping from, why she was… “So what? Has she told something?”, shouts out one of the policemen while slamming the door open. “No”, he answers to himself, feeling the meaning of the two pissed off glances that are piercing him and of the one that is now contemplating her sneakers.
“We must take her fingerprints, as she doesn’t want to say anything”, informs the colleague who came in just a few seconds later and who probably saw the door crashing at a centimetre away his nose. Not adding a single word, he gets near the girl and tries to touch her right arm to make her stand up, but the arm doesn’t allow him to reach it and the rest of the body jumps up from the chair, carrying its owner out of the room.
Miriam practically insults the policeman who entered harassing the peace of that moment.
Through the window the sunlight shines, spotlighting the dust which is now whirling around after the girl’s sudden movement. In this whirl Lucia loses her look and the sense of this morning.
You storm through my heart
To sever, to puncture
The memories that burn
Let sweep through the arteries
In sharp stabs of pain
Your talonlike fingers to kill me again
And again and again
Lyrics flow quickly from the headphones to the girl’s ears; they give evidence to a hidden truth, which doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. Burning, on the contrary, inside her veins torn by those more talonlike than humanlike fingers, able to dig deep down the profound intimacy of his daughter to extract pervert pleasure, able to freeze her down and to reduce her to silence, to this silence.
Non-understandable, non-erasable truth.
Grant me a life I can live
Take me away
Take me away…
“Maria Rossi” doesn’t know whom she may yell this prayer to, but she repeats it even after turning the music player off, while she goes on unstoppably walking towards someone who could really take her away.
Copyright Eleonora Pizzi September 2009
1 “Maria” and “Rossi” are the most widespread female name and surname in Italy.
2 A very popular enigmatography magazine in Italy
Song quoted from “Lethe” by Dark Tranquillity from the album “The Gallery”, 1995, published by Osmose Production