OL'MUO

VOGUE (Italy) - - CULTURE - By Mar­cel­lo Fois Born in Nuo­ro in 1960, Mar­cel­lo Fois li­ves in Bo­lo­gna. His l ate­st books in­clu­de Del d ir­si ad­dio ( Ei­nau­di) and the re­cen­tly pu­bli­shed Ren­zo, Lu­cia e io ( Add Edi­to­re). He i s ar­ti­stic di­rec­tor of Sardinia’s Island of Sto­ries li­te­ra­ry f

L’uo­mo, the man, ope­ned his eyes. Loo­king at the da­wn of ti­me, he whi­spe­red the Word that had spa­w­ned him. He tried to stand on his feet but with lit­tle suc­cess. He was stop­ped by a fee­ling of po­wer­les­sness, whi­ch he would learn to call pain. So he lay the­re loo­king at all the inex­pres­si­ble ex­pan­se that loo­med over him, fri­sking the ori­gin of the ma­lai­se that smar­ted ju­st be­low his che­st. He smi­led be­fo­re all that spa­ce. He smi­led at the pri­mor­dial fe­ver that stir­red him. So­me­thing at his si­de be­gan to ema­na­te warm­th - a ma­gni­fi­cen­tly un­k­no­wn form that sud­den­ly ma­de him feel less alo­ne. He felt dif­fe­rent, grip­ped by an un­k­no­wn di­scom­fort. In ti­me, he would co­me to un­der­stand that di­scom­fort is al­ways cau­sed by the need to adapt to no­vel­ty and chan­ge. His so­li­tu­de, for exam­ple, whi­ch he wa­sn’t even able to con­cei­ve un­til the mo­ment he felt him­self di­vi­ded in two. He would co­me to un­der­stand that his so­li­tu­de the­re­fo­re con­si­sted in per­cei­ving things and phe­no­me­na that he was una­ble to na­me. This is be­cau­se - he would pain­ful­ly learn - it is on­ly by na­ming things that they be­co­me sub­stan­tial, or even exi­st. If he had pos­ses­sed the word sky or hea­ven, for exam­ple, eve­ry­thing would ha­ve been bet­ter now, in his stran­ge tor­por. It would ha­ve gi­ven mea­ning to that lan­guid ama­ze­ment that en­ve­lo­ped him. It would ha­ve gi­ven an ab­so­lu­te va­lue to that no­thing­ness that cap­ti­va­ted his ga­ze. And may­be that inex­pli­ca­ble won­der brea­thing at his si­de would ha­ve ac­qui­red an ex­pli­cit mea­ning.The Word that spa­w­ned him had de­si­gned him as an in­tui­ti­ve or­ga­ni­sm that had to ta­ke pos­ses­sion of his in­tui­tions as he goes, and as­sem­ble them in­to so­me­thing that ma­kes full sen­se. And whi­le he lay im­mer­sed in the no­thing­ness of the­se thoughts, it was clear that light and dar­k­ness, wa­ter and ear­th, chaos and or­der, emp­ty and full had been se­pa­ra­ted fo­re­ver. It was clear that the mo­ment had ar­ri­ved. The ima­ge next to him sat up as if ani­ma­ted by an in­vi­si­ble brea­th. Then it loo­ked at him, and if he had had the word smi­le, he would ha­ve rea­li­sed that as well as loo­king him, the ima­ge was al­so smi­ling at him.

In that in­stant, the man rea­li­sed he exi­sted and had a na­me . “Adam,” he stut­te­red tou­ching his che­st.

“I know,” said the ima­ge. “I know.”

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