by Alessandra Lodrini

Somebody is knocking at the door. It is our neighbour. I make her step back until she reaches her door. She is looking for Leo. She wants to ask him whether he can go into her house to read the water meter. She can’t do it. “No Carla. This is not a priority. Leo is working. He takes the bus every day. This is not worth the risk”. She quietly stares at me. Squinting a bit, in an effort to understand this unknown language. She is worried and says she has never been late submitting a meter reading in her whole life. She doesn’t know what would happen. We look at each other from two distant planets. I am not good at hiding anger. I tell her that she may receive a bill with an estimated rather than real reading. I don’t think she understands. The door shuts. I try to imagine myself at her age. I can’t.
I think about large flats, villas with private gardens or pools. I think about how isolation and mental health change according to space. I think that “they’re better off”. But maybe they aren’t. I think about the inner, intangible spaces, cultivated over the years, nourished by passions, by truth. I think about all those who can no longer have sex with prostitutes, maybe many of them also own a private garden. I think about those who cannot meet their lovers, about secret lives. Every one locked up in their own cell.
I look at my white hair. My regrowth becomes more obvious everyday. I want to see how far I can go, after all, this is a prison too. But I’ve got my hair dye ready, I know it won’t last for long.
I cultivate my inner space, in my sixty square meter flat, to stay afloat. Night is the best time. It is always at night that I have inspirational thoughts. Even now, it’s night.