The english corner

Sleep, Dream and other Serendipities

di Beatrice Fabbri

fammriI have always liked to take naps during the day. I feel extremely sleepy but I am also present-focused.
In-between state of mind, here and elsewhere at the same time, between fiction and reality.
Taking naps gave her relief, joy and enhanced her human skills to understand people.
While  sleeping, she faced weird stituations, met ackward people talked to them and found how at ease she was.
Then the akawening was sudden.
A little sound roused her… wrote Virginia.
She wondered if she understood what happened to her while dreaming.
She remembered just a giant smiling at her and holding a white lily in his hands. She smiled.
The rainbow over the hills reminded her   all of the vision of unity in which her life was banded  together by a metaphysical experience.
A double and significant life made of serendipities.      


Margarita’s cushion

di Beatrice Fabbri

fabbriIf I stop thinking about him, I will never reach the other. What? I have never found peculiarly interesting any other than him. I have vivid memories of his phrases, attitudes and attires and it could sound weird to admit this years after..Well I still dream of him once in a while. How this could be possible?

However this may be, simple nostalgia or need to penetrate the deep shadows of my expectations, I feel the reason of my, no doubt, sentimental medium for living my life.

The best image of this absence is scatter cushions on my bed. I soon, enough reflect, that I myself come by this awareness almost only by repeating aloud doses of passionate Bulgakov’s, Master and Margarita.

Follow me, reader! Who told you that there is no true, faithful, eternal love in this world! May the liar’s vile tongue be cut out! Follow me, my reader, and me alone, and I will show you such a love!”

Nothing happens at random. My journey is taking me somewhere and someone unknown is waiting for me. I surrender to the gaping mood, indulging in the contemplation of inaccessible objects of desire.

Cushion shapes make me happy in a way I cannot imagine. I never took the time to take a breath and find how appealing they could be to me.

Shall I go to bed or wake me up and wait for a new insight? How is it possible to forget and remember so vividly? I suspect there is too much overthinking and the real meaning will be left out.

Neverthless, it’s a lovely spring day and I am ready to recover from this sudden nostalgia ready to understand what the Master meant to say that day:

“Just like a murderer jumps of nowhere in an ally, love jumped out in front of us and struck us both at once”

The Cypress door

di Beatrice Fabbri

doorThe cypress wood has a distinct, somewhat sour odor while being worked, rated as being durable to very durable in regards to decay resistance. The years and the elements haven’t been kind to the exterior of this 94-year-old, thick, cypress door -  said the carpenter. Flakes of varnish still clung to the wood in spots, while the rest of the surface was rough and dried out from the effects of water and sun. Well, it could take a long to restore it - he added – but it was worth it.

She was determinate to save the door – she knew the value of the antique and mostly, she wanted to start refreshing her home. This was a shabby two-rooms apartment she had been living for almost nine years on her own. Here, she enjoyed her indipendence, healed from breakups, found inspiration back into her life. Recently she was feeling like being stuck in a bog, with little time for her self only.

Renovating her house was one of the goal for the new year. It could have been an expensive journey but she had saved money for a long time. Nothing happened at random. It could have been an exhaustive journey since decluttering her home room by room, was not that simple. It could have been a challenging inner journey to finally recover and may be acquire a new sense of herself.

Getting started with entry door became a kind of mantra. Doors are "ways in" or "ways out" of (or to) something. Doors both separate and connect, demark and open - they denote passage and movement-  she thought. By the end, doors have always meant a lot to her.

After a long search, she hired a carpenter, one with skills in restoration, Josh Reddish to bring the door back to life. He seemed a man of few words, sharp, hard worker with poetic carpentry skills.

Sooner than she expected, five full days of work, the mindful Josh showed her how the door was back again into a new life. Stripped the old paint, sanded the door as needed, plugged the peepholes, repaired the damaged and rotten wood, repainted the door and finally added the door hardware.

He caressed the door with all his fingers and smiled. The transition was hard but it has been an incredibly rewarding experience, he said. Getting lost and loving the flow-state that occurred in her life came with a gift for her: a new exterior entry door.


A charming auntie

di Beatrice Fabbri

fabbriLate afternoon. The living room was filled with little light and books on the shelves mirrored some funny shadows on the wall. Lizzie closed the door. She had been working all day, reading, taking notes, retrieving new sources for her article on Jane Austen. Such long time ago, different habits, different manners, so little public sphere for women and yet such an intriguing era fulfilled with a lot of prejudices and scandals, illicit affairs, boring marriages, indomitable young ladies and wise and revolutionary aunties.

Right, that’s the key word: auntie, she thought.

Lizzie has always loved Jane Austen’s novels, the wit of her characters apparently so old-fashioned and yet so fresh. Anne, Emma, Elizabeth, Marianne, Elinor, Fanny had so much to offer to the common reader beyond labels and stereotypes.

"Reread all Jane Austen's books", wrote Lizzie on her notebook.

How amazing is Jane Austen to have sketched so many different characters in short of time and why her life as a woman appears so plain, quiet?

She went back thinking that women's independence has always been one a great issue through the centuries and no matter the conquest of basic rights in contemporary times, women were required to fit sooner or later the role of wife, mother, household in order to be accepted by the collective. Jane Austen did not fit any of these and yet she depicted young ladies looking for a successful marital life. Was this a paradox?

Lizzie herself was reaching the age where the idea of getting engaged and married was no more central to her life. She was charming and smart, may be, also too free spirited to make the choice, to say the word: forever. Her sensitivity has grown higher and higher recently and this was also an issue to make a choice.

Her expectations were so high as well as her standards, so better not to make any wrong choice and please herself first.

The cozy room filled with books’ shelves, the old armchair and the shabby blanket on her legs reminded her that nothing was lost if one took care of one self’s needs. Awareness is all as well as imagination. I’am an auntie, and that’s enough!

A sublime afternoon

di Beatrice Fabbri

FabbriThe little terrace was fully decorated: a little table, a wooden chair, the perfume of blossoming jasmine in the corner were more than a sign that spring was there to awaken her from winter’s lethargy. Vera was not sureof anything anymore, but one thing was clear to her: she wouldn’t have settled for anything less she had deserved from now on. She was still in bed yawning and caressing her cat, making faces while looking at the window open and refreshing the air. Her queen size bed was comfy and full of books of any kind. Sleeping with books? Why not? She had the sensation that after closing a book books plots, characters would have shaped her dreams and nightmares. Was this true? Who knows, but then, their silent presence was a healing presence. Reading has always meant living more than one life at a time. At least for her. Books and real life: so weird.

It took some time to get out of bed, brushing her teeth, feeding the cat with a bowl of milk, making breakfast and most of all drinking her large cup of coffee. Why?

She opened her black notebook and wrote some lines:

Thursday, May 14: awake and thrilled to bits! Thursday, day sacred to Jupiter. So what?

Then, she closed the notebook and served herself some more coffee. She, then, realized she was having her breakfast at 2:00 p.m. It was like plunging into the calm sea of her thoughts, caressing softly the skin of her feelings without hurrying, taking the time to put each piece into the puzzle. If only that was possible.

The thrill of what happened the day before was there with her with all its lights and shadows.

She reopened the notebook and wrote:

Am I under the influence of my desires? If so, I’m lost, they are driving me to the unknown. Am I subdued ?

She shut the notebook and brushed all the questions aside. After tidying up the kitchen, she laid down on the couch and closed her eyes. Curtain opened:

Wednesday, May 13. Ultimately a calque of dies Mercurii "day of Mercury".

Hello Vera, today I will delight you with Fate, trust me and walk downtown as scheduled for that literary promenade. I won’t play any tricks on you, but if I ever do, again, don’t be scared, nothing bad could happen to you. I will make you wonder and wander and this is enough. Mercurius introduced himself making faces, winged and ready to smooth, caress, awaken her from nonsense, what else?

Late noon. The city was under a warm sun, the sky was blue and without clouds and Vera was ready for a new adventure. She always reminded herself of beautiful lines from an Audre Lorde’s poem: “Some women wait for something to change and nothing does change so they change themselves”. These words have always sounded like a mantra to her when struggling about making plans. She put on a white silky shirt and a pair of blue skinny jeans, some drops of her gardenia scent and comfortable shoes. Being dressed up than too casual was taking care of herself.

Half an hour later, she arrived to the meeting point. There were already some people acquainted with literary tours and Vera felt at ease with all. She, then recognized him in the middle of the crowd and turned her face in the opposite direction. Just one glimpse. She knew she was able to overcome her shyness. The crowd helped her to focus on. It would have been a funny late noon wandering downtown the city, whispered Mercurius in her little ear.

The literary walk started softly and step by step, Vera was intrigued by what the guide, a journalist badly dressed had to tell about adventurous foreign women living in the city, political plots and little historical facts related to nineteenth century. While all were walking, some of us got lost and we reunited later to the entire crew. We took the time to rest a little while on the church steps. A woman started to talk to me about something hilarious dealing with snobbish English women in town and I laughed. He, suddenly, came out of the crowd, came to me to say hello. Nice to see you again, he told me. I smiled and that was all. The tour ended in a noisy street not too far from one of the most beautiful churches in town. The guide spent the last few minutes talking about the epistolary work by a young journalist in search of fame, in love with a married woman who was also a fantastic socialite. He didn’t give many details about her but left all to the audience’s imagination. Everyone wanted to read the book and asked for the title. What was good was the aperitivo after...Vera was hungry but not as much as she expected, she was thirsty. She talked to the woman next to her and became acquainted with her. She found she was funny and smart behind her shabby façade. Just before leaving for the aperitivo, she turned her head, while he was saying goodbye to everyone. It was in that moment he called her and asked to come closer. Why? She thought, but then she came closer, not too much. Then, he leaned up and kissed her softly on the cheek. She kissed him on a cheek too. She felt suddenly his beard tickling her skin. She caressed briefly his face and smiled. Then she stepped back. The scene suddenly started running slow and then fast.

See, Vera, this was a delicate kiss for a fair maiden from a gallant knight, whispered Mercurius in her ear. She started laughing loud. There were casualties and this was one of this: being kissed on the cheek by someone I didn’t know well. Did he want to show me his affection? Or what ? why me? She was not in the mood to make any hypothesis. So said, she joined the crew and walked to the bar.

He had disappeared while riding his bike. May be, he watched her walking away, may be not. Nothing stays the same. A circle within a circle, the shape of an instant. The geometry of space and time and the simple and yet incomprehensible rule of physics. Finding the instant center and move within. Each occasional strange event would have taken a gift, a sign on purpose.

The aperitivo time was spent in good conversation, tasty appetizers and a full glass of sparkling prosecco. When her time came, she walked back home. She would have done one more extra nice thing for herself: casting a spell on Mercurius.

Her heart was a secret garden and Mercurius didn’t know this, no matter how sublime could have been the entire afternoon.


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