A Gift from Heaven

What makes you think I can live in a room from which you have removed – admittedly with considerable tact – one of the four walls? I agree, the view has really improved (not that you can see the Arno and the Ponte Vecchio in the distance) but is the (let’s call it) “radical renovation” sufficient for us to return, in better spirits, to the first act of the play? And the four-syllable word on the wine label and the meat in plum sauce and the candles that (supposedly) repel mosquitos, what exactly do they mean? And the young waiter with the thick accent, out of which Russian novel did he leap? And the fact that Adorno, as you tell me knowingly, dined in Los Angeles with Greta Garbo in 1944 and his dog Ali Baba (what a name!) pissed on her book, how does that alter the facts? Can you hear the rustling of the leaves and the voices of the children going down our street on their skateboards? Do you realize that the message they are bringing belongs to a future you never imagined? Close your eyes for a while. It is often better to look reality in the face without trying to calculate the number of minutes until the sun sets. Besides, at this moment the question is not the specific sunset but the gift we have been given. “Lost years,” did you say? Don’t be melodramatic. Is there any paradise that at the end of the dream is not lost? Translated by Peter Mackridge

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