The Strength to Live and Hope to Love Another
The Strength to Live and Hope to Love Another
I was living in Rome, Italy, living in a rented room paid for by my parents to give me the possibility to find a job and do something good. I could hardly find anything during those nine months. One day of distributing leaflets door to door got me fifty euros; a month of castings to perform at a theatre show for three days, with a compensation of one hundred eighty euros; and finally, two weeks as a waiter, eight hours of hard labor and a pay of thirty euros a day in a tiny restaurant in Trastevere. But all I could see in my future was her.
In order to stay with her I lost money, time, and opportunities to follow my dreams and make someone out of myself, instead I found a ‘normal’ job, for which I cared absolutely nothing at all and that would never give me what I really wanted the most. But above all, it would never make me feel comfortable and fulfilled.
On one hand I knew the risks I was taking. She was with someone else, even though he was not able to give her half of what I could give her, giving her the right value as a human being and as a woman. She was coming and going, and she was unfaithful to him. As far as I am concerned I never felt guilty at all toward this guy, who was not worth half of me as a man, because of all that he was inflicting on her, every day, according to what she told me. And the thing I desired more than anything else in my life was to love and to feel loved, and I was prepared to do anything to live all this in complete transparency and sincerity.
She was happy with me, she always told me. What I felt for her was stronger than all the doubts and fears of losing her that kept assailing me every day and night. She cared about me and I cared about her. “I felt divine with you today, like a queen!”… I knew it was true, because it was exactly how I wanted her to feel: Like a queen.
We had a lot of fun and we spent some wonderful days that I will never be able to forget. Later on I had to leave to go back home for the Easter holidays. We spent a very intense week together, seeing each other every day right up to the day I left. The last evening she accompanied me to the Termini train station, walking me to the train that was going to take me to Fiumicino to then take the ferry to Olbia. She hugged me really tight, she cried. I promised her that despite all the problems I knew I was going to face at home, that I would return to her after Easter. A scene just like out of the movie Casablanca. I climbed on the train and left the station behind me.
We kept speaking on the phone every day, sending text messages, and on facebook. At the end of the holidays, with the complete approval of my mother, I kept my promise and returned to her in Rome. I returned to her. I wanted her, I was there for her, and she was no longer there.
I went through nothing but boring and endless days. Every now and then we would meet. But she was different, changed, and I suffered for that. I was upset for that. I kept telling myself that everything could go back to the way things were before. One day I found a job as a waiter for that little restaurant in Trastevere. Even if the pay was low, I liked working there, and I did it mainly to be close to her. However, one day she told me that she did not like the conditions that I lived in and that it would be wiser of me to go back to my parents’ home. She did not understand anything. I was working hard and I was very tired, finding the strength and the enthusiasm to continue my job only by thinking about her, even though she barely sought me out anymore.
One day something happened that made me really reflect on what I was experiencing. Just like every day, I went to my usual work place, and on the way to the restaurant I caught a glimpse of a cute little light blue domesticated parakeet. It lived free in a small box of matches, the box was party opened. I had always wished to have one, to keep me company. I approached the ledge to admire this friendly winged creature when, all of a sudden, and without me asking for it, the bird put in my hand a little piece of paper, that it had picked out from a container that had dozens and dozens of more identical pieces of paper.
My piece of paper had a text about ten lines long, one sentence caught my attention the most, the one which made me at the same time reflect but also feel bad, was this: “You will go home and you will have nothing to lose”. I did not know what to think, I did not want to believe what I had just read. I really did not want that. There was only one thing that was certain for me, and all I knew was that I really did not want to go back home, for the simple reason that I did not want to face having to live the very same situation that pushed me to leave there in the first place.
As I walked on, I reflected on the great and enigmatic mysteries of life, and what life can give us, whether we like it or not, and when we least expect it. I headed to my usual work place, thinking again on that phrase, that cursed phrase. I entered the restaurant, the owners told me, with in no uncertain words that I could no longer work for them. I had lost my job. I immediately tried not to link what had just happened to the parakeet message, because I knew that if I did that I would become even more sensitive to what the message was implying.
It was a beautiful sunny day, the sky was blue and cloud free, I had the entire afternoon free. So I decided to walk and take a nice long hike. I crossed the Trastevere area and I reached the Tevere River. Every now and then I would stop as if to seek the wildest answers on the possibility that a pre-established destiny existed for people. One question, but a thousand answers. I picked the longest route to walk back home, so I could take more time to reflect, and so it was that reached the junction of Saint Angelo Castle.
On my left was the road that headed toward Saint Peter’s Square, and to the metropolitan train stop “Ottaviano”. On my right was the road in the direction of Victor Emmanuel Corso, Place of Popolo to then end up at the metropolitan train station “Flaminia”. I really like walking so I decided to continue on in the direction of Victor Emmanuel Corso, even though it was the longer way, just because I wanted to, I wanted to reflect and get it all out of me.
I thought all the time about her and about those words on the piece of paper. And about all those coincidences that criss-cross each other in the journey of our lives. I stopped at a square. I don’t remember the name, but I do remember very well that at the center of this square was a brass statue, and all around there were benches and it was paved with pebbles. I approached the statue and I prayed. I talked to the statue as if I was invoking the help from Spirit that the statue represented. I asked the statue for some advice and then I sat down in one of the benches around it. After ten minutes of praying I decided to continue on with my walk. I was keeping a slow pace. There were so many thoughts in my head, I started to become tense. My body clearly suffered from it and I felt a strong pain in my stomach, and it was getting worse. I thought about how I often come down with colitis whenever I experience moments of intense stress. The pain was growing stronger and more overwhelming. I decided to stop and to wait for the bus at a bus stop in Victor Emmanuel Corso.
I needed to rest, the bus arrived soon after that, and in a few minutes I was on the bus home. The pain did not seem to diminish and I became so afraid of coming down with something really real right in front of all other passengers, that I got off the bus a couple of stops later. My thought was of course always focused on her, I could not tell myself to give it up, I could not accept how things evolved between us. At some point, as if pushed by a spiritual energy, I found in the very same square that she had shown me on the first day I met her.
This was the square by Largo Argentina. I sought out the bench where we had once sat, a young lady with long dark hair was sitting on it now. And so I waited in front of her, leaning on the wall that surrounds and protects the archaeological excavations site from the Roman era. The remains are in one enormous excavation and it’s fenced all around the perimeter by a glass wall, for the safety of the tourists who visit the site.
I noticed dozens of cats roaming around the entire area of the roman excavations. A sweet little girl with golden hair was captivated by the scene, she got closer and together with me she started counting as many cats as we could spot. “Do you like cats?” “Yes. Look, there is a cat hidden under the rocks” she replied, indicating the cat with her little finger. After a few more comments she ran back to her parents and continued to play.
The phone rings, it’s my sisters, she calls me to find out if there are news on my side, and to see how I am, so I reply with the usual clichés “Hi how are you, what are you doing”, nothing more. And while I was speaking on the phone with her, I stepped back a few yards, walking slowly down until I reached a free bench and I lay down on the bench. Without wasting too much time, I tried to explain my situation to her, even if I did not really feel like talking too much and I would have preferred to be alone. As soon as I ended my conversation with her, I returned to the same spot as earlier, leaning on the wall and sitting on the lower step. In front of me was my special bench, still occupied.
Even though my mind was busy with a thousand thoughts, I noticed that the same little girl whom I had counted the cats with before, sprinted right before me, in a very quick and brief moment she ran and somehow managed to hoist herself up the protective wall, she lifted herself up, sitting on top of the handrail on top of the wall. Thanks to my immediate intervention I was able to stop her from jumping and falling to the bottom of the excavation site. I grabbed her just in time, and I held her in my arms.
The woman who had been sitting in my bench barely had time to put her foot on the ground before she realized what was about to happen, and the grave danger that the little girl averted by miracle. I had saved her life. Her parents ran towards us and thanked us for what I had done. They made sure the little girl also thanked me “Clara, say thank you to this young man. He is an angel who just saved your life”.
Just like a series of flashes in my mind, I began to see in chronological order the events that took place that day, starting from the moment I left the house. I thought about the parakeet that caught my attention, to the restaurant owners who fired me. Then the decision, when I reached the junction at Saint Angel Caster, to go toward Vittorio Emanuele instead of Saint Peter, which would have been the shorter way. The little break in front of the brass statue and sudden sickness that took over me while on the bus. The two bus stops. And finally the bench that I really wanted to be free, which instead was occupied by that young lady in Largo Argentina.
If my bench had been free to begin with, I would have simply sat down in it and I never would have been able to do what I was actually able to do, and I never would have been able to save Clara. Nobody could have done it. Only me.
Arriving from Trastevere to Largo Argentina, I voluntarily decided to stay a little longer in the square, specifically to remember the first day I met her, but I never could have imagined that all that would have ultimately led me to saving Clara’s life. If I had never met her, I would never have stopped in that square and Clara today would not be with her loved ones.
I believed that all experiences we life depend on ourselves and on the people that we meet in our journey. While I write these pages, I think and I tell you about that long day in June. For all the pain I had felt due to a betrayed love, today I am aware of the value of every single choice, and for how things developed during the course of that day and in the following months, I am glad I met her. Not for her, not for love, but for the sweet girl with the long golden hair. For Clara.
For this reason I now tell all of you who are reading this, who, like me, have fallen into a vortex of desperation and solitude, who, like me, have arrived to the bottom and have seen the walls caving in around them, you are not desperate, because life in its immensity will always give us another opportunity to free ourselves from the pain that was inflicted, to find an exit and to be happy, obtaining what we desire the most, having as our birth right, the strength to life and the hope to love again, with the option to dream, because it’s only through dreams that we can find ourselves and together with God, share them and believe that they can become true. Therefore, take your time too, because sooner or later all the answers to your questions will arrive.
A hug from me
The Strength to Live and Hope to Love Another was the testimonial of Antonio
The Strength to Live and Hope to Love Another
www.leparoledegliangeli.com/en The words of the Angels