The first day of school

by Claudia Ravaldi

The first day of school has arrived for us too.

When I say we, I am talking about the me that continues to advance in a detached and imaginary timeline, the one for which you are not dead and continue to grow, and in two days you would start the first grade.
In my imaginary world I see you grown up, you have lost your first tooth and your hair continues to be black. As well as your eyes.
2012 kids start primary school this year, you should have too. And instead… and again the SEs and MAs that clutter your head.
I know well that I have accepted reality, that I have sounded it out, analyzed it and crossed it in every narrow corner.
I know very well that I am “fine”.
But the truth is that so much pain never heals and that this fantasy of mine allows me to still maintain a bond with you.
Just as anniversaries on this first day of school bring back tears and eyes hurt, the heart actually finds a kind of sweet pain.
As if living you like this could somehow allow me to caress you again.
What is this feeling called?
Mine are days since he entered the house.
My friends who have children in 2012 are cute… and they think of me anyway, of the fact and the feeling that it can give me to see photos of their children with backpacks and aprons.
I am happy to see them instead, because it is as if my son lived in each of them.
We lived through the pregnancy together and this year Alberto will cross the threshold of the school with them.
My imaginary me is finishing putting the name on every pencil and every marker. He collected the books and packed the backpack.
My real me, on the other hand, squeezes Damiano tightly, who keeps asking me if she is cold because my eyes are red and I sniff my nose.
I tell him yes.
“Mom, you have to cover yourself then.”
I cover myself with that veil of sadness that at times becomes transparent, at others it becomes dark.
But in which I still find comfort.
If I close my eyes I also hear your laugh that makes me smile because basically it’s okay.
Silvia Maschio is mother and author of Day after Day , special mention in the literary competition Le Parole dell’Amore 2015

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