there is no pain in this land that we want to face
nor filth that we want to see
truth no longer exists. avoided like the plague.
but not the stink. it doesn’t go away.
a beloved friend of mine arrived late and breathless at our appointment and greeted me kissed me smiled at me and hastily talked about many things. then she stopped and said: you know, something has happened to me. something unimportant. but it took me half an hour to get off the car. I couldn’t stop crying and I didn’t want to come here distraught. we haven’t seen each other for so long. I wanted everything to be perfect… on the pavement out of the parking. yes the one at the back here. there was a dove on the ground and another one by its side. driven by curiosity, I got nearer to look at them. I thought that one of them was only lying down. asleep. but there was a trickle of blood coming out of its beak. it was dead, you know. and I wanted to pick it up and put it somewhere. take it away from the middle of the street where anybody could trample on it. but I didn’t do it. I was ashamed. I thought of what people may say. what they may think seeing me pick up a dead dove and put it somewhere at rest. and I cried for shame because I care more about what people say than about what I feel. I couldn’t do what I wanted to do. to pick the dove up and put it where nobody could offend it. I pretended I didn’t see it and went ahead. but all alone, I cried...
I have been thinking about her words for many days. about all the times I passed by somebody in need and pretended I didn’t see them. to avoid complications. to avoid judgement. for fear of getting dirty. of being wrong. arriving late. and many despicable reasons. but, unlike my friend, I wasn’t ashamed. I didn’t suffer. I simply ignored myself as well. indifference is so deep-seated, as the habit of concealing silencing any emotion which is out of the ordinary. which is out of what should be to safeguard my miserable tranquillity. that I have become a beast. me too. so, yes. then I cried. I cried too. for myself. for what I have become. and like me nobody stops to help a tramp sitting on the pavement, with two streams of thickened blood flowing on both sides of his nose. like me everybody passes by all those old ladies that have been living for years on the pavement that looks like an island in the middle of the street in front of the Roma Termini railway station. and like me many people would like to photograph them. and some of them with more guts. I am sure. they do it. and post the pictures on instagram. or facebook. and get a lot of likes. so. thinking about indifference. mine and not only mine. I remembered this beautiful book after which the magazine issue of this month is named. that when I read it, it made me cry until I burst out sobbing, inconsolable. but to which I am grateful for any line I have read. and that Nosaka wrote. how is it possible I wondered. how is it possible. I remember it well. it is so possible instead that maybe one day I could be the one who avoids Seita because he smells and is dirty. without even wondering whether I can help him. because like anybody else I already have many problems. too many. but the real reason why this issue has been published. and this text I wrote to introduce it. is because I have been spending too many hours on facebook, reading posts on children at war. and abandoned dogs. and listening to people talk about hopeless cases. they all seem so sorry. outraged. moved. shocked. furious. with their comments about the picture. with sentences that I’m sorry to say are all alike. as if the dimension of pain existed only through a screen. that separates us from the reality we are talking about. but when this reality gets as near as to touch us. if only we wanted to reach out. then I as everybody else. most elegantly and innocently. no I haven’t noticed it. we go ahead to be on time for our appointments. while my friend secretly cries because she doesn’t want to seem crazy. or fanatic. and the many Seita die but with a lot of likes. a toast then. to our indifference. and our hypocrisy.