Plot – Are we safe once we go over out mental boundaries? For some people, facing every day, the job, life, it’s kind of easy. It’s just routine. For other ones, it’s a challenge against life – always – and if a small detail goes on the wrong direction, it feels like we’re not safe at all…
[Translation by Lucia Zaccherini]
I comb my hair until my fingers slide free over the ends. I try to hold the broken ones in the comb, but if any escaped, it would stop on the towel over my shoulders or the one under my feet.
I swipe a veil of powder over my skin moisturized by vitamin C cream and finish with mascara. I pick up the lipstick called “scorched earth” that the store clerk convinced me to buy. I love the effect on my lips, but I have a feeling I’m flashing a signal and getting people’s attention. Some may wonder why I have enhanced my figure so much, and more importantly for whom. I take a square of toilet paper and wipe off the excess lipstick until my lips take on almost natural color.
I adjust my shirt collar and put on my pearl earrings. I fix my hair one last time, toss it over my shoulders, and prepare to place each accessory in its place.
As I pour the freshly brewed tea into my cup, the aroma crosses my nostrils and I feel my face relax. It is as if particles hatch inside my nose and I am transported to an island far from home: just me and some books to read. I sip my tea and with one finger I adjust the placemat so that it is aligned with the edge of the table. I don’t eat anything, I allowed myself some bread the night before.
At seven-thirty I am ready to leave: shoes, coat, scarf, bag, keys. I cross the threshold and shiver when I feel the cold of the stairs, but suddenly I remember I left the planner on the table. I can’t leave without it. I had checked it the night before to go over today’s appointments, but I hadn’t put it back in my bag; a phone call had distracted me.
I go back into the house, take off my shoes, reach across the table for my planner and in doing so I knock the cup onto the placemat, which in turn is no longer aligned with the edge of the table. A residue of tea has stained it and it spreads unchecked across the white surface. In its smallness, it has ruined a reassuring image for me.
I stow the planner in my bag and stare at what I visualize as a crack in my everyday life. What if, as soon as I leave the house, I do something that can’t be undone? I find it disarming how a spilled cup has changed my mood and although the sponge absorbs the stain, the placemat is once again aligned with the edge of the table and my way of analyzing any dissimilarities, still it doesn’t make me feel calm.
Standing at the front door, I let out a deep sigh and walk toward the bus stop. When I see my reflection, I look at my lips and moisten them to fade the color of my lipstick, which still looks strong. I look around, seeking distractions, all the while thinking that in less than eight hours, I will be home. I know it’s not perfection, but it’s the only condition I can bear.