Behind the door (Prologue to a new life)

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The second part of my journey

Light. Nothing but a golden warm light. I find myself smiling for no reason. Just because I feel embraced by light. Feeling how my soul opens, how all my defensive walls are falling…feeling complete. Love can heal…

Arms. Loving arms and a smile I’ll never forget. How long has it past since I last saw this smile? It feels like it was only one minute…She’s caressing my hair and I feel like a child again. A free happy child. I let my tears fall freely…there’s no shame on crying. Why are my tears shining? Is it from the aura surrounding her face? Is it from my own light?

Sweetness. All around me. A sweet smell of my favorites cornettos and the taste of honey in my mouth. And I feel so filled with joy. No hunger, no fear, no cold, no pain…A sweet sound. Her voice. I hear it even if we’re not talking. I hear it in my mind. She’s telling me how loved I always was. And in my mind I say thank you God. For welcoming me home…

She’s holding my hands and she tells me how brave I was…my beloved and long missed Nonnina…The sensation of floating and a small white church. All white. And angels smiling at us. Real angels…oh, how could I have ever doubt? You were only human…and I recognize this voice.

When he left, I thought he took my faith in the grave with him…but he was always with me…Padre Antonio and Sister Maria…I should have known…it was not the end…physical death is never the end. A shadow of sadness knowing that I denied the love of God…till the last moment. But the light feels my guilt and heals it once again. You are forgiven…anger and guilt don’t belong here…

A gentle touch. I never met her before but I know her name. And I know her story. Victoria. She’s smiling at me…the blue rosary…I remember everything…Her voice is like music and she’s thanking me. How can an angel thank me? They needed a sign…they needed your blue rosary to find a reason…to keep believing. That’s what she’s saying to me and I’m overwhelmed…A small gesture I made for them…From now on I’ll know…kindness can save a life…

Floating again and the white changes in rainbows. Flowers, amazing flowers, beautiful colors like I never saw before. They’re playing with me. Little beautiful souls…I remember them from the hospital…I held their tiny hands during all those painful treatments…I thought they lost the fight…how could I have been so blind? They were winning all the time…because paradise belongs to children.

-We’re losing her! She’s not responding! You can’t give up now, fight for your life! 

I hear them but they’re so far away. What do they want from me…I’m feeling so well, so happy, so peaceful…Why should I fight?

-Please open your eyes and say something…anything…say you hate me, say I’m the worst mother of all, just wanna hear your voice once again…

But I am speaking, my voice never sounded so sweet and beautiful. Here…all the voices are like the sweetest melodies…And hate…how could I ever hate when I was touched by light and embraced by angels. Can’t you see…I’m finally home…

-Forgive me…I was never the father you needed me to be. See…I always put my ego first…my damn pride…but I wanna tell you something: you are the person I admire the most in the entire world. You’re honest and brave and good…like I’ll never be. But if you come back…if you give me a chance…

Come back…is not my option anymore…I’m not the one deciding…I’m just here…healing my soul and being loved…I don’t know where to go and what “back” means…I feel deep compassion for him…and love…but is not my decision anymore…

-Sunshine…I blame myself for what happen…they say is my fault, I’m accused of harming you…I’m accused of things I would never do to you. You’re the only one who knows what happen…please save me one more time…I made a pact, you know? Just to see you smiling once again…then devil can have my soul…please wake up…

The angels are quiet. Poor soul…how I wish…if he could feel how forgiving, how loving, how merciful is our God…I wish I could…but light is telling me about free will…it wasn’t my fault…and I feel so free…

-I’m giving you the blessing, child. May God forgive your soul and take you to a place where’s only love. You are released now from any fault…go freely and find your peace…Amen.

The light is slowly fading away, but I’m not afraid. I feel like falling and I feel pain…but I’m still smiling. It was His decision…My life will never be the same. Now I know how it feels to be home…Now I’ll have the graceful Light and the forever Love to carry them into our human world. And my soul who felt the touch of Heaven…will only shine brighter. I’ll have a purpose. A new life.

-She opened her eyes! My God, Carissa…we thought you’re dying. Can you move your fingers…that’s a good sign…Can you talk?

Panic. I’m suffocating. My head hurts so much…my whole body hurts. I can’t breath. I don’t understand them. I don’t recognize them. Where is Nonnina? I don’t like this place…smells like blood and medicines…

-She’s trying to talk! Don’t force yourself, Carissa…What? What are you saying…

-Who…who is Carissa?

 

A special thank you for all my followers…I wouldn’t be still writing if it weren’t for you, beautiful, amazing, talented friends. Your support, your messages and the generosity of sharing your own stories made it possible. Second part of my journey is all about love, joy and real values…and is dedicated to you.  

 

Please love me or I’ll be gone…

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“3 days before the wedding, early in the morning, in the church

-I can’t understand why do you need to talk to my fiancee in private! She already signed the damn paper! Here, it’s written clearly that she’s marrying me willingly! Right sweetie? (she nodded) It’s getting frustrating and absurd! And I’m late from an important business meeting! So…let me take her home and you can talk to her all you want after the wedding!

The old priest smiled. She was looking down, but she could feel his eyes studying her expression, reading her heart and soul. With a calm voice, the priest spoke in a very firm tone.

-Matteo, that’s your name, right? I saw that she signed…she did it in front of me. Still, I didn’t heard her voice. I wanna talk to her so I’d be convinced that this marriage is truly what she wants. Alright? Other wise, there will be no wedding at all! Now, do you have any hidden reason for not letting her talking to me in private? No, right? I thought so. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure that your fiancee gets home safely.

He kissed her briefly on the cheek and left the church angry, slamming the door behind him. She took a deep breath. Not knowing what she’s supposed to say or do.

-Well, he really has a bad temper…Are you alright, Carissa?

-Y…yes…I just don’t know why do you wanted to talk to me. I signed the paper…

She was looking at the paper she just signed like she were contemplating her death sentence. Suddenly, without any warning, the old priest took the piece of paper from the table and tore it into many little pieces. She almost chocked.

-Wh…why? For God’s sake…

-Exactly. For God’s sake.

The silence became unbearable and she felt like crying.

-What will I do now?

The priest looked straight into her eyes.

-It’s a long time…and I thought, well, I hoped I wouldn’t see that again. Arranged marriages…what a sad sight for my old eyes…When I was your age, I had a parrot in a bird cage. He was hurt and we were trying to fix his wing…he died of sadness. You have that look in your eyes. Is it for money? Is it because you’re pregnant? No? That’s a good thing. Then why are you marrying him? Speak now, child. Speak freely because you may not have another chance!

She started to cry with a desperation she never knew before. Like all the pain she was carrying inside would be cleaned by tears.

-I’m not…I don’t have any other place to go. I have no one…and no place to go…They saved me…he did…

-He trapped you.

The words were said so simple that made her shiver inside. Trapped…abused…afraid…words she never even dared to pronounce.

She covered her face.

-Help me…

The words were whispered, but the old priest heard them. She obsessively repeated the words, like her life would have depended on them.

-Please help me…oh God, help me!

She was pleading with God, with the world, with herself…she couldn’t be reasonable anymore because it felt like now or never.

The priest smiled at her.

-By the power invested in me by this church, I offer you sanctuary. You are welcomed, as a child of God, to find refuge within our shelters. I also refuse to officiate your wedding. God loves you, Carissa, He loves you enough to save your life and your soul. You’re awaited in our monastery where you’ll have all you need to put your life back on track. Now let me give you my blessing. Go in peace, child and do the right thing!

She left the church feeling so free, so enlightened, like flying. And she knew exactly what is the right thing to do.

3 hours later, in Matteo’s apartment

Matteo was pale, livid, the look in his eyes was wild and scary. But she didn’t avoided his eyes this time.

-Please take back the ring and all the jewelries…I’ll pack my things right away…

-What’s this craziness? Carissa! Are you out of your f..cking mind? To leave three days before our wedding? Look, sweetie…don’t be stupid. I’ll pick you from a park’s bench tonight and then you’ll be all humble and grateful…let’s skip this part, will you?You’re not going anywhere!

She was dangerously calm.

-I am leaving, Matteo. For good, this time. It wont be any wedding and I wont be your doll anymore. That’s what you need, a pretty doll to show around, to make you feel powerful. Such a man! Such a true man! But tell me…did you ever felt like you have me? When you raped me. Was I really yours? Don’t fool yourself. I was never yours and I’ll never be! And there ain’t nothing you can do about it! Because you know what? All this time, deep inside my mind and deep within my heart I was making love to someone else. Do you hear me? Do you? Marry me…yeah…and you’ll feel like having left overs for the rest of your pathetic life!

He grabbed he face and she felt teary from the pain. All of the sudden, he let her go and she almost fell.

-One hour, Carissa. You have one hour to disappear. I don’t wanna see you in front of my eyes, never.

He left.

half hour later…

-Mom, please! I need your help…please don’t hang up! I will start a new life and I wont ever bother you again. But please, come here, help me with my things or just stay with me…mom, I’m afraid…

-You’re afraid? You stupid, spoiled, ignorant little girl! Do you realize that you’re ruining an event that costed…God, your whole life doesn’t worth that much…Well, I hope your future husband will deal with you properly…even if I feel sorry for him…may you burn in hell, Carissa for doing this to me!

She felt like crying again but she remembered the words of the old priest. She whispered for herself.

“Sanctuary. God, I need sanctuary. Please love me, or I’ll be gone! Guide me and offer me a home, please God, cause you’re mighty merciful and fair!”

She heard something and she rushed to the door. The image in front of her eyes made her froze. She wanted to say something but she couldn’t speak anymore. Hearing the beatings of her own heart. Knowing it may be the last thing she’ll ever hear.

-I can’t let you do this…I’m sorry, Carissa, I just can’t.”

END OF THE FIRST PART 

You were strong and I was not…

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Dave: Pride has nothing to do with inner strength…two different notions.

Me: Proud people seem so strong…at least they’re perceived as being strong.

Dave: So tell me…staying in an abusive relationship just to keep your “public image” is it a sign of inner strength?

Me: Not at all…

Dave: I’m glad you agree on that…

“The drops of rain were cold and she hurried into the church. Months without seeing Daniele and the unsettling feeling that something is wrong…She knew she’s taking a risk and she knew she can’t handle another insult from him, but she was hoping…maybe here, in the church where he served as a ministrant, maybe here he will be her friend one more time. For the last time.

-Dani…Hello…

He seemed absorbed in his prayers. The long white outfit made him look like an angel but the look in his eyes when he faced her had nothing to do with divine love.

-I am praying, Carissa. Remember? Praying? So, I would ask you politely to come back another time.

Another time…she looked down, knowing it wont be another time. She swallowed her pride, her fear, her sadness of being rejected again, knowing it may be her last chance.

-The wedding will be a week from now…Dani, I need you there with me. For me…

-No thanks. Wish you a nice life. And congratulations for making all the right choices. Padre Antonio can rest in peace now! You sold yourself at a higher price than any of us would ever imagined…

Another insult. A part of her wanted to leave right then, another part imagined slapping him hard over his face, making him regret…But she knew that any of these is pointless. He wont change. “You cannot beat anger with more anger. Only with calm and gentleness. You cannot beat hate with more hate. Only with love and tenderness.” Padre Antonio’s voice was still very alive and clear in her mind.

She got closer to him and gently touched his shoulder. So close…he could feel her warmth and the smell of perfume combined with the freshness of the rain. He turned to her and she touched his face. His pale, tormented face.

-So many precious moments, Dani…you gave me so many precious moments…You used to say that I saved you, but the truth is that I would have been lost without you. From my first scratched knee that you took care of with so much gentleness…till the moment when I cried in your arms for losing my first love…From my plans to escape…you knew I have no chance but you couldn’t discourage me, knowing that I need to cling to something…Till the day when we ran away together to save the sick babies from the gypsies camp…From the most humiliating day in school, when my father slapped me in public…till our failed attempt to learn self defense…

His eyes seemed lost somewhere in outer space, avoiding her gaze. The sparkling light of tears and he seemed human…once again.

-What’s the point, Cari? Why are you bringing up all these memories?

-You used to call me Sunshine…is hard now when no one does it anymore. You’re right, there’s no point…but I wanted this for myself. I wont see you again, maybe never. But I wanna remember you like that…my best friend, the one who’s always by my side, in all my craziness, in all my foolish mistakes. Not because he’s crazy or fool…no way…he’s wise and strong and smart and good…but because he cares too much to leave me alone. So, thank you, Dani…

-You have nothing to thank me for.

-I do…Thank you for letting me say these words. I’ll leave now…Bye.

She turned around with tears in her eyes, wanting to run away from her own life, from her own reality. He grabbed her by her shoulders and she screamed from the shock. She stopped her scream, holding her so tight, so close. Kissing her…but in his kiss was something so powerful, so forceful, so desperate, like a fight for survival. She tried to push him away, to stop him but he held her arms so brutally, till the point when she cried of pain. When he finally stopped, she couldn’t stand on her own feet. She leaned to one of the benches in the church and looked up to him like a hurt lost child. The statues of saints, the paintings with angels, Jesus on the cross…they all looked at her, pointing, judging, while he covered his face and kneeled down in front of her, holding her body like a drowned man searching for an escape…

-Don’t marry him, Sunshine, I’m begging you…You and me…I would sell my soul to make you happy, I would give my life, my everything to offer you the life you deserve. I don’t have his money, but I’ll work day and night…I know you always saw in me a big brother…I know that, but I can change it…I can make you love me…Yes, that’s the answer, the only thing to do, my Sunshine! To take you away from him and make you love me…

She listened to him terrified. Words without meaning, senseless talk. He stood up and pulled her hair exposing her neck. Then started to kiss her like a possessed man, her hands going down her shoulders, trying to undress her. She started to cry desperate.

-Don’t do that to me, Dani, please, not you…It’s a church…God is watching us, you can’t…is hurting me…don’t hurt me, Dani…not you…

He suddenly stopped, realizing what he was about to do. She arranged her dress and her hair, running out scared and frightened like never before. The last image she saw was him, looking decomposed, on the church’s floor, crying and repeatedly saying I’m sorry.”

Dave: You asked yourself why…You’re still crying yourself to sleep asking yourself why. But the truth was that friendship or love, regardless how precious they are, can’t heal psychosis. Neither prayers. You’re trembling…please take my jacket…

Me: I’m not cold, I’m…

Dave: You’re afraid…Years away, miles away and you’re still afraid. 

Me: Is it my fault? I do that to people? Turn them into something bad, evil?

Dave: Now that’s the scared little girl talking again…She was deeply hurt, so she thinks that, somehow, she caused that…You know we can make her feel safe again. 

Me: How?

Dave: We’ll start by wiping away these tears…And then, we’ll stop the trembling. You’ll learn to open your heart and I’ll be here. With opened arms.

 

A band of angels…watching over me

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Dave: There’s a special light in your eyes tonight…a mysterious sadness in your smile…are you alright?

Me: I’m alright, I just had that dream again and felt their embrace. All of the dear people I lost, gone too soon…

Dave: Imagine them in Heaven, smiling at you, watching over you. Maybe faith will help this time…

Me: Faith always helps. Sometimes is the only lighthouse I can find…

“Matteo gave her the white fluffy towel and helped her dry her hair.

-You smell like rain and wild flowers…Baby, don’t you think it was silly of you to stand in the rain? You could catch a cold…

-I wont.

She was smiling sweetly with drops of rain in her eyelashes. Running down her face like tears. He cupped her face and kissed her.

-Rain taste sweet on your lips. So, silly girl…what’s with you and the rain? I remember how you dragged me to dance with you in the rain. That kiss after…was the best kiss in my life…

She giggled, cuddling in his arms.

-When I was a child…I was 5 or 6 and my mother found me out in the rain, reaching my arms to the skies. She asked me why am I doing this…

-I can imagine the desperation on Leanne’s face…you probably ruined another expensive dress brought from Paris, from the latest collection…

-You imagined right! She was furious! But you know what have I told her?

-Tell me, sweetie.

He took her in his arms, warming her arms and planting small kisses on her shoulders.

-I told her that the sky was crying and I was hugging the sky! Because no one should cry alone! And right as I spoke, the rain stopped and we saw the rainbow. And I said: see? The sky stopped crying and now it’s smiling at me. I was grounded for a week…

-She should be grounded…for every teardrop she made you cry.

-I forgave her…How could I not forgive her? She’s my mother, the only mother I’ll ever have…and I lost so many people. If I’ll lose her too…at least I don’t wanna remember the anger and hate between us…

She became sad and he tried to change the subject. He handed her a white envelope.

-Our honeymoon…a month from now and we’ll be traveling to the most beautiful Greek island…The resort is heavenly…there’s a small white church right next to our resort…You’ll have the mountains embracing the sea, you’ll have music all night long and white sands…

-Matteo…oh, Matteo…

-You like it? I went to the best agencies and nothing seemed good enough for my princess…

She put her head on his chest, he kissed her hair and told her how much he loves her.

-You’re good to me…Matteo…let’s go there…let’s skip the wedding. We don’t need to get married to have all this. It’s you and me…we don’t need the wedding…

-You’re starting again…Have you been to the doctor? Did he gave you a treatment?

She looked down, feeling humiliated and ashamed. No reason to feel this way…she tried to reassure herself.

-Yes. I went to the psychiatrist. He said I don’t have depression so he wouldn’t give me anti-depressives…And that medicine didn’t found a cure for broken hearts…

-Then he’s a terrible bad psychiatrist! Stupid and ignorant! Everyone can see that you’re suffering from depression! Your ideas about our wedding, your premonitions that you’re gonna die before the wedding, your nightmares, your fear of intimacy! You know what? We’ll find another doctor who’ll give you the pills…

-The magic pills…right, Matteo?

The irony in her voice was obvious. He tried to remain calm, but there was a sharp light in his eyes, cutting trough her soul.

-Anything it takes, Carissa. Anything at all…to make you normal again. No more premonitions, no more angels, spirits, no more! I want a normal wife! Someone I wouldn’t be embarrassed to introduce to my business partners.

Her bottom lip was trembling, like a child ready to cry. He saw it and melted his tone.

-I’m sorry, baby…I got carried away…I’m sorry for what I said. Let’s not fight over this, ok? You’ll see that, once we’ll have a child, you’ll forget all these stupidities…You will, alright?

-Yes, I will.

-And we’ll find another doctor who’ll take your case in serious.

-My case?

-Well, sweetie…is not quite normal and usual to dance in the rain, pretending to hear a band of angels singing.

She couldn’t look in his eyes so she just looked away.

-I wasn’t hallucinating, Matteo. I was…I am…in love. People when they’re in love do crazy things and I…I’m no different…

His face brightened so suddenly…

-Awwww honey…that’s the sweetest thing…Now I feel bad for what I said to you…I over reacted but that’s only because I want you so much…Sweetie, I love you too…that’s why I want you to be my wife, to be mine…

-Matteo…I dn’t feel ready, that’s all. I still feel like a child…don’t know if I could have my own children.

He started to laugh, gently touching her face.

-You’re just like a child, that’s true. I keep forgetting how young you are…21…yeah, I remember feeling like a child myself at 21. But you have me, sweet girl! You don’t need to bother with complicate decisions, I’ll decide for you. I wanna be more than your husband…

-More? How could you be more? What…could you be more?

-Your guide, your leader, your master…

-But I…I don’t need a master! For God’s sake! Matteo…all I need is someone who’d love me and make me feel protected. My husband should be my lover, my best friend, my hero…That’s what I need!

He smiled a very cold and strange smile.

-You don’t know what you need…”

Dave: People always offered you things they thought you need…

Me: They did…starting with my parents…no one bothered to ask me. 

Dave: What do you need, Carissa? What do you need now?

Me: To dance in the rain, hearing the band of angels singing for me…

Dave: Let’s go…it’s raining…it’s always raining when we meet…but it’s the first time when I hear the music too…

 

Hold me close, don’t ever let me go…

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Dave: Come on, Cari…how could a virtual relationship change your life?

Me: It became an addiction…he became an addiction…

Dave: He? A man you never saw? Someone from the other side of the world? Someone who never touched you, never held you, never wiped away your tears…

Me: Yes…someone I don’t even know if it’s real or not…yet, he saved my life.

“She took a closer look on what seemed to be a dream. I’m dreaming…No…it’s real. This dress it’s real. The tiara I’m wearing is real. This is my wedding dress. This is…prison…yes, it’s prison…A golden gate. God…it’s suffocating me, the corset is suffocating me…

-Are you alright, dear? You look a little pale…Oh, Cari, if you knew how beautiful you are! All my struggle to keep you on a healthy diet was worth it! You have a perfect figure! Don’t you think, Luisa? Isn’t she looking like a princess?

-Of course she is! My future daughter-in-law is a princess! Six months from now…maybe less…and she and Matteo will be starting their life together…Carissa, I’m so happy that you decided to forgive your mother and to invite her here…Carissa, honey…Cari!

The image in the mirror started to deform…I’m suffocating…this isn’t real…my mother is here, she and Luisa are friends now…I’ll never find my way out…never…

-Mom…Luisa…I’m feeling sick…the dress…is too tight…

Black. All black. Falling down. No air, no breathing. Someone’s arms…Is you my love…But how could it be? You were only a dream to me…when have you became real?

-Matteo! You can’t see her in the wedding dress! It’s bad luck!

-I can and I will! Carissa, amore mio, what happen? For God’s sake, someone help me, she’s suffocating! Breath, my love! Open your eyes…what’s wrong?

-Who…who…Matteo?

-Were you expecting someone else? Of course it’s me…What’s wrong?

She put her arms around his neck, crying.

-Take me home, please…I can’t do this anymore…

Her mother tried to protest, but he ignored everybody. Luisa helped her undress and he laid her on the back seat of his car. The road was long and heavy and she kept crying silently. He opened the door and carried her to the bed. Then laid her down so gentle, looking in her eyes.

-Carissa…if you don’t like the dress, just say so…We will buy another one, money doesn’t matter…

-I adore the dress…Matteo…can we postpone the wedding? I’m having these nightmares…a bad feeling…like I’m gonna die…

-Look…we talked about that before. You’re just tired, right? Stressed, worried, preoccupied…you’re not gonna die…unless you’re cheating me. But that’s out of the question…isn’t it?

-Yes, of course!

-I meant it as a joke, don’t jump like that! OK, if you feel better, I’m going back to work! You want the laptop here on the bed? By the way, what are you doing all day and night, working on something? Hope you’re not chatting…

-No…just…stuffs for school…Go to work, I’m fine! Come here first…a kiss…thank you for being so nice, Matteo…

She opened the laptop, her hands still trembling. Going on line was the wildest adventure of her life. Being on line with him was the most passionate feeling she ever had…

-Hiiii my love!

-Baby, I missed you! How are you?

-Not good…I went to try the wedding dress and I got sick…another panic attack. But I’m fine now that you’re here. Just wanna lay in your arms for a while…

-Awww…come here baby…you got me worried…do you have anyone to talk to in real life? Parents? Friends?

-No…I don’t…you’re the only one…I love you so much…you’re my reason to live…

-Baby, you’re so sweet…Cari…if you don’t love him, don’t marry him. That simple…no one can force you. I’m not saying to break up with him, you know I have a girlfriend…we can’t have anything in real…but I love you. It’s crazy, I know!

-No, it’s not…You came into my life when I was desperate…losing all…and I wouldn’t survive without you…if all we’ll ever have it’s a virtual relationship…then I’ll be happy this way…

-Ohhhh Cari…how I’m melting when you say this…baby, I just don’t wanna see you ruining your life. Is he treating you right? 

-Yes…except for…you know…the intimacy…we still have problems…I can’t…and it’s so painful every time…how could it be? It’s like a torture…I know he’s trying but I just want it to end…

-Poor baby…I want you to do something for me…lay down and close your eyes…imagine it’s me…I’m holding you close…you can feel the touch of my hands on your bare shoulders…going down…mmm…I adore these goose bumps…you’re safe…nothing and no one’s gonna hurt you…no pain at all…

-Promise? No pain at all…

-I love you…

-Don’t ever let me go…just hold me close, I don’t wanna go back to real life…”

Me: Virtual world became my reality, Dave. Every time I closed my laptop I felt like a part of me is still there, making love to him…

Dave: That’s how you survived…all the months preparing a wedding…a wedding that you felt and expected like your funeral…

Me: It almost was…

Don’t you know that all my heroes died…?

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Dave: Yes, I felt the same as he’s feeling…a need, beyond any reason, to put my arms around you and to create the shelter you needed so much…

Me: But you never did…you kept telling me about limits and barriers…

Dave: Would it had been different for you? To know how I hated him for every tear drop on your face? To know how I made plans in my mind, for the day when you’ll finally be free…could this had change anything at all for you?

Me: I don’t know, Dave. You never gave me the chance to find out…

“The wall in front of her was white and the water had no taste. No color and no taste…

-You need to let it out…babe, is not healthy to keep it all inside…

-Tell me once again.

-Why? Why are you tormenting yourself like this? There’s nothing you can do anymore…They didn’t stood a chance! The frontal collision and the speed…they avoided a child who shouldn’t have been there in the first place…

-Heroes…Did Padre Antonio suffered? Or Sister Maria? Did they had any pain at all? Did they? Tell me, Matteo! Why don’t you let me see them? For the last time? Why are you being so cruel? Just because God left them, should I left them too?

She was shaking and the last sentence was almost whispered. Tears…but her eyes were dried and hurting so much…a lack of air and she struggled. Against him, against life, against God. He tried to caress her hair and she pulled away…how could he comfort her when her heart was an open bleeding heart…

He didn’t cared about the struggle. A pointless resistance…so he laid her down on the white bed, holding her tight till her struggle ended. She was now just sobbing…and he kissed her eyes, her cheeks, her hair…She was lost somewhere in her own world and he remembered…

-You need to take this pill…It will make you sleepy and all this sadness will be easier to bare…

-No pill…please Matteo, don’t make me take that pill…

There was something so desperate in her voice, a pleading so sincere and heartbreaking that it melted his heart.

-But why, my love? Sweetie, it will help you…

-It’s bitter…the pill…I don’t like bitter…

He almost smiled. Feeling her so vulnerable in his arms, he decided to forget all about the pill and just hold her. She cuddled on his chest.

-I know you don’t like bitter, baby…look, if you promise me that you’ll be a good girl and wont do anything stupid…we can forget about the pill. Promise? (she nodded yes) But you need to eat something and prepare…tomorrow are the funerals…I’m so sorry, Carissa…I know how important they were for you.

She looked in his eyes and the gentleness she missed so much was there. In his tears…

-Thank you, my love…

He kissed her lips, they weren’t cold and white anymore and he could feel her heart pounding so strong…her hands were cupping her face, caressing her cheeks, her lips, and she closed her eyes.

-You know, Carissa…when I see you like this, so helpless and so sweet, just like a child…I feel I could spend my whole life holding you, making you feel safe. I feel I could lock you in a safe place, a high tower…where the world outside couldn’t reach you…and you would be mine, only mine…Baby, I know it’s not the best moment, but I kept waiting and waiting…

-You want to…(she looked terrified at him, taking the pillow in her arms)

-I want you to accept a gift…is more than a gift, is something I want you to have and to wear…as a symbol of our bond…

The jewelry box opened and the beauty of the diamonds leaved her speechless. He smiled, seeing her reaction.

-I’m glad you like them…let me help you with the earrings and the necklace…wow, you’re so beautiful…and now…(he kneel in front of her) the most important thing: Will you take this ring and accept to be mine till death do as part?

-Diamonds…these are real ones…Matteo…I…

-Just say yes, baby. They’re real and precious, but not nearly as precious as you are to me. Just say yes…

-Yes…

She saw the ring on her finger, she saw him happy, she heard him talking about their life together, the wedding…and she realized that she didn’t even cried for her losses…

-Honey…Carissa…please stop…what’s wrong? We were so happy and you suddenly burst into tears…sweetie, you’ll be my wife…don’t you wanna call someone to give them the happy news?

She could feel the cold touch of diamonds on her neck and the pain became touchable and unbearable.

-Matteo…I need to cry…please forgive me…I miss Padre Antonio…I’m so sorry…I just need to cry…forgive me…

-Heyyy…have I said that you’re not allowed to cry? Of course you miss them…but that’s life…we need to make the best of what we have. Do you want me to bring someone here, to stay with you?

-No…just you…it’s all I need…don’t you know that all my heroes died? Don’t you know that I have no one left to run to? No one left to talk to…and no one to save me from my own hell? Don’t you know that all of them left…? See…I’m already better…thank you for being here for me…it means the world to me…”

Dave: I’m sorry for failing you not only as your therapist but as your friend too.

Me: No, Dave, don’t say that. You’re still the best therapist I ever know, only that…not for me…And you’re still the best friend I could possibly have…cause you’re the only one… 

Even if it throws you to the fire…

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Dave: When love has a price, when is negotiable, then is not real. Once you’re barging, once you’re negotiating, the “I love you” looses his power.

Me: You talk about love like you would be talking about magic. And we both know that, behind the magic, it’s a real work…to keep the flame burning, to avoid the routine, to re-invent yourself along with the partner. Isn’t it shallow to talk about love like it would be a a magic dust…?

Dave: Isn’t it sad to talk about love like it would be a nine to five job?

“-Praise Lord in His mighty power! Get down on your knees and ask for forgiveness! I see you, don’t try to hide your eyes…the burning fire of your sin is there! In you!

She felt her cheeks in fire, and looked behind her hoping that there’s someone else…no one…no doubt about it, the street preacher was talking to her. The most humiliating ending of a day that brought her only heartache. Matteo, took her hand, hurrying to cross the street. People were starring at them and she stumbled…someone laughed.

-Where are you hurrying? Why are you running away? What are you afraid of? Of God? No…you’re afraid of your fate…you sealed your fate when you sold your soul! Can you feel it? Struggling in the hands of demons? Suffocating in the arms of the evil! Oh, don’t you know? You think you’re alive but you’re a death soul walking in an empty shell!

Matteo took his cell and call the Police. Then he helped her to get in the cab. She saw her face in the small mirror in front of her…unrecognizable to her own eyes. They reached to the apartment and she had the strange sensation of living someone else’s life.

-What’s wrong, Carissa? That lunatic has really gotten to you…well, Police’s business from now on…Now tell me everything! About your first day in College, the classes you’re gonna take, everything!

-It was ok…nice people and the classes seem interesting…

-Gosh, you could kill me with your enthusiasm…

She wanted to express more joy, but her eyes filled with tears. She said “I’m sorry” and rushed to the bathroom. The water flowing along with her tears. It took her a while, but she tried to erase the traces of sadness.

He took her in his arms and they laid together on the couch.

-It’s alright…all the excitement, emotions running wild…I can imagine how hard it must be.

-I’m so so…rry…sorry…

-What for, Carissa? That guy on the street…it’s not your fault. These people shouldn’t be free…to harass whoever they like…Look, I have an idea! Why don’t you make yourself pretty and we go to celebrate this day…you know the restaurant that got opened last week? I heard they have live music there…Stop crying, you’re ruining your make up…

-I don’t wanna go to College! I don’t…

She said the words almost with fear, but he ignored her.

-Matteo…I don’t wanna go to College. I wanna find a job and have my own money. I wanna be able to pay the rent…and to buy clothes and food…

-Are we getting rebel again, aren’t we? Carissa, what happens every time you try to be on your own? You can’t take care of yourself and end up hurt…You will go to College, the tuition are being payed, and that nonsense about finding a job…really…

She felt very and deeply discouraged.

-You don’t think I can have a job…

-Well, Carissa…you don’t really know to do…anything at all. You only know how to play with children, or to pray to God, or to make funny faces when I get mad…You’re sweet and nice but you never worked…

-I could learn…Yes, Matteo, I could! Don’t say I couldn’t! I could! I want a job…If I’d have a job, I’d feel useful…and I’d be happier…and more…

-More…what?

She meant to say “more free” but realized it’s a bad idea. She had no right answer so she put her arms around him, kissing him on the cheek.

-More silly? Say yes, Matteo…pretty please…yes…yessy yes…

He started to laugh.

-What’s that “yessy yes” thing?

-Something I just made up…to make you laugh. I like when you laugh…the difference between us isn’t that big then…I don’t feel that small and stupid when you laugh…

He stopped her with a kiss.

-Just when I thought you cannot be more silly…you prove me wrong. Alright…you won again! What do you wanna work?

-Don’t know…I only know how to play…Matteo! I wanna work with children!

He smiled at her.

-You wanna play with children and get payed for that…alright, silly kid…I’ll see what I can do for you. A kindergarten, I suppose…

She jumped with joy.

-What’s my reward for supporting all your crazy ideas? Yes, don’t look at me like that! I don’t deserve nothing in return? You know how much I want you…I’ve been patient and tender, trying to give you time…but we’re together and still, it feels like we’re just friends…

-You mean…

-I want us to be a real couple. To sleep together, to have sex, like normal couples do…

She said nothing. Somehow she knew that this moment was about to come, but her anxiety made her deny.

-Matteo…you…love me?

-Of course I love you.

-Then…yes…if you love me…but not now! You promised me live music!

He laughed, taking her in his arms.

-Of course not now. I’m not pressuring you, as long as I know we’ll do it. See how you get anything you want from me? And Carissa…one more thing: College is not negotiable! You’re going even if I have to drag you from bed in your pajamas…cause, honey…I want you to have a future…my wife has to be educated and styled.

-Your wife?! Matteo…

-Well, what have you thought we’re doing here? Playing? I always wanted you…and when I want something…”

Though we are far apart, I’m by your side!

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Dave: Big party tomorrow…are you nervous? 

Me: A little…I want all of our friends to have a great New Year’s Eve, with us…

Dave: I feel sadness in your voice. You miss Daniele? 

Me: I miss him terribly…sometimes, in my dreams, he’s still with us and we’re talking all our silly talks, then I awake and realize that the only place where I can talk to him is in my dreams…

“She hugged him like it were for the last time…

-Why are you standing there? Come inside! I missed you so much, Dani!

-So many changes in your life, Cari…look at you, all dressed up, high heels, your hair looks different…I almost couldn’t recognize you…where’s the sweet girl in her blue jeans and her pony tail, playing and laughing with the children from the orphanage? They miss you…but I guess you don’t have time anymore…

She felt the guilt trough every fiber of her body and couldn’t stand his gaze. Looking down, tormented. He sensed the effect of his words and felt encouraged to continue.

-Anyway, I don’t wanna put a foot in this apartment. If you wanna see me or talk to me, you can come to the church or we can go out and have an ice cream together. But maybe you’re not eating ice cream anymore, unless is from a high class restaurant…

She took his hand. It was cold and she wondered how could he judge her so harsh.

-You’re being very cold with me, Dani…is hard for me too…to recognize you as my best friend when you’re so harsh…

The sound of her voice melted his anger for a moment. He cupped her face.

-Is just hard for me to see you selling yourself this way. And for what? An expensive apartment, nice dresses, a glimpse into the “high society” who’s anything but high…How can you? Really…prostitution has it’s levels, you don’t need to lower yourself that much…

 His words cut like a knife and for a moment she felt lost. Big tears, salty water from her eyes reached on his fingers.

-I’m sorry, Sunshine…

Hearing him calling her by her old nickname was overwhelming. Her heart felt like breaking in pieces.

-Dani, is not for the money…I’m not with Matteo for his money…I’m not a prostitute…

-I know, I know Sunshine…I was mean to you but that’s only because I hate what your life had become. It’s like you gave up…you’re exactly in the situation where he wanted you to be. Completely helpless and dependent on him…And this time he’ll make sure you wont get out alive…

-It’s not like that! He’s nice to me, he wants to repair…to take things slowly…you know I was the one begging him to take me back…Maybe I love him…and I surely love the way they accepted me as a part of the family…

-Then…what’s the point…if you’re happy, be happy! I’m wasting my time…Maybe we’ll see each other again, you got my number…cause here I cannot step in. Bye Carissa…too bad that you’re always waking up much too late…

He left and she could still feel his touch on her face. The pain of his words were still burning her soul. She heard a voice and her first instinct was to fall into Luisa’s arms and cry her eyes out…

-Cari, figlia…honey, why aren’t you inside? Is a little cold here…Oh, you’re crying…Now come here and tell me everything! Is it Matteo’s fault? His bad temper! This son of mine will hear from me! Let me call him right now!

-No, Luisa, he’s wonderful to me! Don’t call him…please…I’m just…a little sad cause Daniele stopped by and told me some things…

-Oh, really? What things? But first, let’s go inside, I bought you something and I wanna see if it fits…alright, let’s sit here…what did your friend said?

-He thinks I’m a…a woman who do things for money…a…

-Oh My God! That’s so rude! No wonder you’re so upset! Let me give you a hug…how dare he accuse you of such things! Phew…a future priest so rude…

She closed her eyes feeling safe in Luisa’s arms. Missing her mother, missing her home, everything…

-Luisa?

-Yes dear?

-You don’t think that way…right?

-What? Of course not! Now listen to me child! The past doesn’t matter to me. You did things, my son did things…no one is perfect. I see him happy, I see that you two are getting along just fine…what else could I want as a mother? With a little luck, you’ll be my daughter-in-law some day. If you behave properly, if you’re nice and honest with us, especially with Matteo…you know us, we do’t like scandals and we care about our reputation…You make my son happy and let us spoil you just like we would do if you were our own daughter! What do you say?

-Thank you, Luisa…I needed to hear…

-Oh…and forget about that boy. He’s just jealous because you finally have a place of your own…and he’s bitter cause you’re finally happy! Don’t let him poison your mind! You have your boyfriend to care about and you have us, your family. Listen to us and be the daughter I want you to be and you’ll be just fine…”

Dave: The first alarming sign in any relationship…

Me: Is when the outside contacts are limited or even eliminated from your life. I learned it the hard way. Maybe that’s why having friends…a support group…means the world to me. I’ll never be able to thank them enough…to all the people who, with their words and good thoughts, made this possible…

Dave: This?

Me: This feeling of being safe and loved…

I’m crazy for trying…and crazy for crying…

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Dave: It’s time to let the storm rage on…Are you ready?

Me: No, I’m not…

So…the wildest year of my life is about to be over. And I still feel like it was yesterday…our first kiss, first time we made love, our first fight…All the regrets for the things I shouldn’t have said and all the torment for the things I shouldn’t have done…but nothing can bring me back the lost innocence nor the lost trust.

-What are you thinking about?

-Nothing…nothing important. It’s starting to snow, shouldn’t we close the windows?

-They’re closed. I closed them, while you were busy doing…nothing.

No…I wasn’t doing nothing. There’s a storm inside me and I’m doing everything I can to keep you safe, Ryan…To keep us safe. A love that no one believed in. My love for you. I’m afraid of that day when I wont believe in it anymore.

-Do you realize how you’re wasting time doing unimportant things while you’re late with our dinner.

-I know, but…I really wanted to clean the windows and paint them in happy colors. I feel like crying when I see how dirty they are…

-Then cry. I mean…if you feel like crying, just cry. Don’t just say it…

I did. Oh, how I cried…I cried an ocean of tears and when I thought that my tears were dried forever, a giant wave tossed my heart in a place I can’t reach anymore. I’m not strong, I’m not a fighter but I can learn, I can be better…will it matter?

-Now you’re crying…look, I’m sorry, I don’t know what I said or did to you, but I apologize for making you cry. Come here, let me hold you…

-You don’t love me…you never did!

-Yes, I love you, I married you, didn’t I? You’re so silly sometimes, I’m just joking with you and you’re taking it so personal…

He’s turning on the radio and it’s that song…”it’s my party and I cry if I want to…”. Life can be pretty ironic…and yes, you would cry too…I miss his arms around me…He knows. My mind is saying no while my heart opens once again. Silly heart…no, stupid heart! Why can’t I just show some pride and dignity for once in my life?

-It’s alright…no more tears, ok? Now tell me what’s wrong, why are you so upset?

-Cause you’re so cold…and everything I do is wrong, you’re always criticizing me. And I miss home…

-You are home, Carissa, at least that’s how you should feel. I’m not cold with you, that’s the way I am…I told you from day one that I’m not good in showing emotions. I also had a rough day at work and the traffic is a nightmare, so I come home and the windows are opened, you’re cleaning and painting and…God knows what else where you doing! All I want after a hard day is to have a nice dinner with my wife…and you start to cry and make a crisis out of nothing!

At first it was the desperation of a broken dream. Then it was the hope of a new beginning. At some point I was so tired and busy that I fell asleep as soon as I put my head on the pillow. Sadly, that was the happiest time…and the only therapy that really worked. When the hard work was over, I turned to church. The priest said “every morning, open the windows of your heart and let the Light of God heal you and guide you.” The windows were wide opened…

-When do you want me to invite them?

-Whenever you want, they’re always welcomed, just ask them to let me know, so I can prepare the living room and, maybe, bake some cookies for the kids. Any day is ok with me…whenever you want…

-Is not when I want, is when You want! Because you do all the cooking and I don’t want you to complain later that you’re tired. If I would have wanted to make the decision myself I would have invited them tonight. But I wanted you to decide how’s the best for you. So, whenever You want…

We’re playing with words and we’re playing with fire at the same time. Someone will get burned. I’m good with words, that’s what people are telling me. Nice words, healing words, enlightening maybe. Still, I’m helpless when it comes to use them as weapons. It’s like I forget all my metaphors, all the analogies, all my style…That’s a funny thought. We’re confronting, we’re fighting trough words meant to comfort…

-Ryan, can we stop this for a moment?

-What? You don’t want me to invite them?

-Of course I want, they’re my friends too. This tension between us, the sarcasm in your voice…we need to talk about our relationship, because I feel I’m the only one trying…

-That’s crazy. I don’t know what you’re talking about, really. We’re fine, you’re in a bad mood today, that’s all. And if you keep creating drama out of nothing, I better go back to work.

I know we can fix this. But I can’t do it alone. Even if I got the whole world by my side. Even if I have all the support a human being can dream to have. Even if I’m loved. I’ll never take for granted all I was given in this life. People had showed me that love, good and faith are worth fighting for. Who am I to say that it’s not enough? I wont say these words.

I need time. We need time. And wisdom. And love. And all mighty powers by our side. But most of all, we need to learn to listen, to truly listen the rhythm of the other’s heart…

Carissa