“To most girls and boys happens the same thing: with the passing of years the skin of their body gets thicker so that the world won’t easily injure them. Layers and layers of skin increasingly protect their elbows, their knees, the soles of their feet, the palms of their hands.”
Ricardo Chávez Castañeda, Il quaderno degli incubi
The November issue was born from this passage. Reading this paragraph, all of a sudden a series of memories and meetings and words crowded into my mind, got mixed up and took shape. It happens every time we read something true and well written. The result was a tangle of hairs hoarded in the belly of a cat that ILLUSTRATI is determined to pull out, show and watch together, in its diverse interpretations.
… and so. she hadn’t even realized it. so slow had been the process. until one day she looked in the mirror and found herself staring at the reflection of an armour.
her skin hadn’t been capable of thickening. and lacking that natural defence she had put on a piece of scrap metal that even prevented her from smiling. and virtually from moving. isolated from the rest. isolated from herself.
a breastplate to protect her heart. and the feelings it kept hidden inside. with a very long front flap to cover her genitals. camail and helm to preserve her memories. her deepest thoughts. to hide her smiles. or tears. gauntlets. to protect her hands from all the thorns, nails or human beings she could unintentionally have brushed. pauldron and arm protections so heavy they hampered any movement and unintentional touch. weird. embarrassing.
hot sunrays suffocated her. the winter chill stopped her blood circulation.
she inhaled her very soul, which exhaled from her mouth. thoughts and words resounded inside the helm.
slowly she undressed. piece by piece. and found that little creature in tears, helpless. whose arms were not enough to
tired, she lay down naked on the bed. and looked at the moon through the window bars.
This issue is dedicated to Luca, a primary school classmate of mine. He suffered from meningitis when he was two, which left him brain-damaged. I saw him grow up and he saw me do the same. Of him I remember he used to have TUC for a snack, those with the yellow packaging; that his brother had burnt his arm when he was a child and that from time to time he had to go into hospital to make skin-grafts; that his mother used to organize great birthday parties in their garage where she invited us to soft, delicious salami sandwiches; that his gums were very long and that people said they grew up endlessly and from time to time they had to cut them off to prevent them from covering his teeth.
Each time I happen to pass by that small village where I spent half of my life, I run into him at the bus stop. Now he has grown up, he has become very tall but his face, his expression, his haircut and his dark glasses frame have stayed just the same. Each time we look at each other and each time we recognize one other. But he is always in a great hurry, he is very concentrated. He has to go to work. Like me.