by Alessia Pajola

Following the instructions, I applied the product with my fingertips in the hopes to hide the Yangtze River flowing under my right eye.
Makeup makes miracles, it’s true, and I couldn’t risk to be identified straight away.
Trying not to fall off, I put on the missing boot, a made in Italy of course, and hurried to my appointment remembering to softly close the door on my way out.
After driving around the roundabout twice to be sure to take the right exit, I arrived ten minutes early to the parking lot of my destination.
My eyes firmly on the ground, my pace quick but unsteady, I stopped dead on my track when two big rabbits appeared before my eyes: one black, the other white. Seeing them in that place, concrete stretching out to the grey harsh-looking factories surrounding us, was weird.
I knew everything about them, I had devoted plenty of time to filing the various races according to the specific geographic areas, I was familiar with their habits and living environment. I could safely say, with no hesitation, that they had been my idea.
Following the signals, I entered the waiting room in the exact moment when the receptionist’s curly head popped out of the wide arch and called my name. She let me follow her for a few steps, then waved to an impersonal door. I thanked her and walked in.
The room was filled with a heavy desk made of wood, one of those desks with flower decorations carved in, and from behind it a minute woman with blonde hair and a reassuring smile, after we exchanged courtesies, asked me:
“So, please, tell me what’s wrong.”
“It’s my heart” I firmly answered.
“Then, I’m afraid you’re in the wrong place, the cardiologist is on the second floor.”
“No, it’s more like a feeling, you see! Like when you peek through the window blinds, I’m peeking through my ribs instead and what I see is a huge brick. The heart is trapped inside, but it’s also covered by a layer of grease 2 inch thick, which makes it heavy and weary. Sometimes. At other times, all of a sudden I feel it squeezing, shrinking until it becomes a wrinkled date. And to think that everyone says I’m heartless!”
“Everyone? I’m sorry, but who?”
“Everyone, everyone! …Every living creature! They think I’m a callous shell, ready to take the blows on the outside, with a cold clanking knot on the inside. Damned stereotypes!
“Come on, take a big breath and start from the beginning. I will try not to interrupt you.”
“Thank you! That’s one thing I hate: to be interrupted while I’m talking. But I know I’m on the safe side with you.”
I glanced at the paper on which she was taking notes and found it was already full of her writing, a bit exaggerated if you ask me, considering the few words we had exchanged so far.
“It’s not easy to be me, you know! From dawn to dusk, my head is restlessly spinning in one direction with all those thoughts clouding it. I’m not your regular case, I know. I don’t even need to smoke! When I’m just about to give in and light up a cigarette, I realise that I don’t need it, because I’m already smoking. I breath in the smokestack’s bursts, the puffs of the car pipes and the gentle blows of the tobacco addicts.
I’m getting poisoned, I’m panting and have trouble breathing. So I get angry, I should stay calm, but I get fired up and the iced part of me begins to melt. I say, no, this is not good, I try to regain control with the yoga inhale and exhale exercises. It always works. And when I’m tuned down, I think that maybe a warm bath would help. And I plunge in hostile waters, I feel the disapproving stares of my marine occupants who cannot forgive me for letting all this happen”.
Trying to explain is useless. I can’t… I don’t know what I did wrong.
How can you mistake a pure stretch of water for a dumpster of the pre-recycling era?
So I get mad again, I explode in lava, I’m soaked in rage, which I squeeze out with rogue waves and I finally collapse, trembling.
I cannot control my anxiety shakes. I shake them too, causing permanent damage. Their heads, usually bent to follow the progress trail, suddenly look up, the eyes wide open and filled with fear.
I never wished for this to happen, but I tell myself that they can finally understand how sick I am. I am wrong, it’s no use.
My cry for help was put on the waiting line; the light outside was particularly suited for a photo of the ruins of this sick ground.