Stories from Ostiense

ostiense 11“Re”-turn, “Re”-cognize, “Re”-view, “Re”-embrace, “Re”-member.

Going back to Ostiense, I have butterflies in my stomach. I look for my friends in desperation.
These past months I left Rome behind with its great beauty (the kind around the train stations, that is). To console me, some have used reassuring expressions like “never mind, you’ll find the poor, the least among us, the homeless, wherever you go.”But I don’t love the poor or the least. I love Samir, Fulvio, Gian Paolo, Gabriele, Jazmin… Ladies and gentlemen, this is called friendship.

Claudio treats me with the tenderness of a whisper, although he has a past that is more rough, harsh and violent than anyone. When I was an ocean away, I realized that friendship had changed him, but above all it had changed me.

I talk, I listen, I sit down, and I feel truly at home. This sense of “re”-entry and “re”-turn is a bit of a taste of what they call heaven… “re”-acquired after it had been lost.
I “re”-listen to their stories and absurdities. Inside myself these past months, I found some pressing questions about the sense of life paths, the paradox of decisions, disrupted plans, and trepidation about my own mission. I tend to get lost in these pretentions, but I see that my friends do not have a path, mission, choices nor even know how to tell their stories.

I had become lost in all these middle-class demands, but here and now, I stop getting lost. These are my friends, and it wouldn’t be right to have something for myself that they cannot have. Ladies and gentlemen, this is friendship.

As I come out of myself, out of my will, my demands, I continually ask – for them, for me – for the thread… the thread that connects everything under heaven, our stories and all the stories, in a single plan. I ask for it humbly.
I “re”-embrace myself, greet myself with wet eyes and say, “Hi Paula, welcome back!”

1 Comment

  • Ringrazio di vero cuore Paula per questo straordinario momento di vita, così ricco, profondo, vivo!
    La radicalità che manifesta fa vibrare dentro, è un richiamo a quanti (tanti) di noi che siamo chiamati a vivere accanto ad Aminata, Aboubakar, Ibrahim, … fratelli che il nostro facile star bene ci rende difficile riconoscere veramente come tali. Grazie Paula

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