Shadow

Estrat­ti / Excerpts 

Shadow

Selma Dabbagh

FUORI DA GAZA

OUT OF IT

ISBN 9788887847567

Shadow

Era­no tem­pi ter­ri­bi­li, ma quell’e-mail cam­biò tutto.
I baglio­ri era­no ini­zia­ti la sera pri­ma, ver­so le 8.00, Rashid ne era cer­to, pre­ce­du­ti sol­tan­to da insi­sten­ti e distrut­ti­vi col­pi d’arma da fuo­co, da qual­che par­te, nell’oscurità. Il suo gra­do di per­ce­zio­ne, a quell’ora, era abba­stan­za alte­ra­to dal­le foglie di Glo­ria cosic­ché, quan­do era­no comin­cia­ti i baglio­ri, lui era ormai fat­to, l’aria sec­ca intri­sa di fumo tos­si­co e quel­le luci caden­ti, sep­pur sva­ni­te da un bel po’, con­ti­nua­va­no a girar­gli intor­no agli occhi. Quan­do pre­se­ro a mar­tel­lar­li con la roba pesan­te (Baa­doom! Baa­doom!), era ormai stra­fat­to, in uno sta­to in cui, tal­vol­ta, dopo tut­ti quei bal­bu­zien­ti col­pi d’arma da fuo­co, si tro­va­va a desi­de­ra­re che le esplo­sio­ni pro­rom­pes­se­ro dal fon­do del suo sto­ma­co: Dai, fate­lo e basta, per­ché non lo fate? Dai su, usci­te fuo­ri! Poi c’era sta­to un mis­si­le, con una luce così splen­den­te da illu­mi­na­re l’intera Stri­scia, fino su alla recin­zio­ne. Il fumo si era leva­to ver­so il cie­lo e dif­fu­so lun­go il suo­lo vici­no alle luci.
L’attacco all’ospedale fu pro­ba­bil­men­te mezz’ora dopo i baglio­ri, for­se di più. Era come se gli aves­se strap­pa­to fuo­ri le budel­la e pote­va esse­re suc­ces­so, pro­prio quan­do se l’era per­so. Ave­va un’immagine niti­da di quel momen­to, del luo­go in cui si era per­mes­so di anda­re. Un istan­te di con­tat­to con l’anima, che gli si era impres­so nel­la men­te. Si era ritro­va­to ad arram­pi­car­si sul tet­to fino alle cister­ne dell’acqua, per deri­de­re le teste di locu­sta degli eli­cot­te­ri: Hey voi! Pote­te veder­mi? Qui sul tet­to! Mi vedete?
Quel­lo era sta­to il momen­to. Dopo non ricor­da­va più nul­la. Solo quel­lo. Poi il vuo­to. Fat­to, era total­men­te fat­to. La den­si­tà del suo sbal­lo era anco­ra lì come muf­fa sot­to la fronte.
Si era risve­glia­to sot­to il let­to a gam­be diva­ri­ca­te, come col­pi­to a mor­te, con la fac­cia e le pia­strel­le del pavi­men­to sigil­la­te insie­me da una mem­bra­na di sali­va. Ripre­se i sen­si con un for­te mal di testa che gli dice­va che dove­va sof­fri­re, lui che non era altro che una disgra­zia, un dan­na­to buo­no a nul­la e via dicendo.
Tut­to que­sto appar­te­ne­va all’istante in cui si era sve­glia­to, ma ora, quin­di­ci minu­ti più tar­di, era un uomo nuo­vo e da qual­che par­te diver­so. Non gli inte­res­sa­va più l’umiliazione di aver per­so i sen­si sot­to il let­to. Que­sto era pri­ma di ave­re effet­tua­to il log in ed aver­la sca­ri­ca­ta. Era pri­ma di aver­la tro­va­ta lì. Di aver­la qui.
L’e-mail ave­va cam­bia­to tutto.
Era sta­to trasformato.
Ora se ne sta­va in pie­di di fron­te allo spec­chio del bagno, nudo fino alla cin­to­la, il viso bagna­to, le brac­cia aper­te. Supremo.
Ecco­lo qui, a riflet­te­re su se stes­so: l’uomo eter­no in un cor­po da gio­va­ne. Gli avam­brac­ci, il viso e il col­lo era­no più scu­ri del resto, ma Rashid igno­rò la pel­le gial­lo­gno­la che, sul tora­ce, taglian­do­gli le brac­cia, dava for­ma al fan­ta­sma di una magliet­ta; tra­la­sciò anche i musco­li flac­ci­di. C’erano gior­ni in cui avreb­be pen­sa­to alla paro­la sciu­pa­to, ema­cia­to, qua­si per­ce­pen­do il restrin­ger­si del­la pro­pria car­ne sot­to­pel­le. Que­sta mat­ti­na vede­va solo le cla­vi­co­le che la incor­ni­cia­va­no, la disce­sa in pic­chia­ta di bici­pi­ti e tri­ci­pi­ti sul­le brac­cia, lo sto­ma­co ben defi­ni­to sen­za alcun alle­na­men­to e la mac­chia di peli scu­ri dall’ombelico fino ai jeans. “Il sen­tie­ro per il para­di­so”, ave­va det­to Lisa seguen­do­ne le trac­ce con il pol­pa­strel­lo, “il sen­tie­ro per il paradiso”.
E al pen­sie­ro di lei, del­la sua risa­ta, Lisa! tut­to gli esplo­se di nuo­vo da den­tro e poté sen­tir­si vola­re, su, su, fuo­ri da tut­to que­sto. Poté vede­re se stes­so vola­re via, un tuf­fa­to­re olim­pio­ni­co al con­tra­rio, Ica­ro nel cie­lo, Gesù su una col­li­na – la visio­ne era con­fu­sa – vola­va in alto, fuo­ri, al di sopra di tutto.
Tut­to cosa?
Tut­ta que­sta ossa­tu­ra. Sape­va che aspet­to aves­se la Ter­ra da las­sù: come un coral­lo essic­ca­to, incre­spa­to, com­par­ti­men­ta­to e sab­bio­so. Lo sape­va, dato che ave­va segui­to con il dito le imma­gi­ni satel­li­ta­ri quan­do sogna­va di scap­pa­re. Da las­sù cen­ti­na­ia e miglia­ia di abi­ta­zio­ni era­no ridot­te a dei graf­fi su un osso. Da quell’altezza la linea che li recin­ta­va, sareb­be sta­ta a mala­pe­na visi­bi­le, tan­to­me­no i chec­k­point, non da las­sù, ma anche da una distan­za stra­to­sfe­ri­ca, il con­tra­sto con l’altra par­te sareb­be estre­mo. Dall’altra par­te, quel­la par­te, il luo­go da cui pro­ve­ni­va­no, che era sta­to loro, quel­lo che non gli era più per­mes­so nem­me­no visi­ta­re, non c’erano ossa, ma una coper­ta: un’elaborata coper­ta dal desi­gn moder­ni­sta. Una fan­ta­sia di linee, cer­chi e stri­sce, ogni for­ma per­fet­ta­men­te colo­ra­ta come se riem­pi­ta con la pun­ta di un cur­so­re, pre­men­do un tasto. Ter­ra mar­ro­ne qui, un piz­zi­co di ver­de mili­ta­re là, un po’ di linee color rug­gi­ne per defi­ni­re il con­fi­ne. Quel­la par­te scin­til­la­va. Pan­nel­li sola­ri e pisci­ne luc­ci­ca­va­no al sole.
Vada­no al diavolo.
Vada­no al dia­vo­lo.
Lui ne era fuori.
Un bal­zo, un altro e poi un altro anco­ra, e visto che non vola, ora sta sal­tan­do sopra il mare, il Mare Bian­co, al Bahr al Abyad, il Medi­ter­ra­neo. Così blu e vivo, con pesci e del­fi­ni che sal­ta­no, che si lan­cia­no come lui: su, in alto nel cie­lo, fuo­ri da tut­to quan­to e lon­ta­no da lì.
Pro­prio dan­na­ta­men­te fuo­ri da lì.
Fuo­ri da qui.
Per sem­pre.
Be’, alme­no per un anno.

Shadow

The­se were ter­ri­ble times, but the email chan­ged everything.
The night befo­re the flares had star­ted at around eight, Rashid was sure of that much. Befo­re them, the­re had just been the insi­stent tat­te­ring of gunfire somewhe­re in the back­ground. His per­cep­tion was cushio­ned and brighte­ned by Gloria’s lea­ves by then, so that when the fla­res actual­ly kic­ked off, he had been sto­ned making the dry air fill with toxic smo­ke and the fal­ling lights squirm around on his eye­balls long after they had faded.
By the time the hea­vy stuff (Baa­doom! Baa­doom!) had poun­ded in on them he had been well and tru­ly bli­tzed and in that sta­te he some­ti­mes found him­self almo­st wil­ling tho­se bot­tom-of the-sto­mach explo­sions to bur­st forth after all that stut­te­ring gunfire: just do it, why don’t you? Go on, come out with it! The­re had been a mis­si­le with a light so bright it lit up the who­le strip, right up to the fen­ce. Smo­ke had blo­wn back at the sky and see­ped along the ground clo­se to the lights.
The stri­ke on the hospi­tal was pos­si­bly half an hour after the flares, may­be more. It felt as thou­gh it had taken out his guts with it. That could have been when he had real­ly lost it. The­re was a vivid point of being whe­re he had let him­self go. It was imprin­ted on his mind, an instant of rea­ching in his soul, when he had found him­self lea­ping up on the roof next to the water tanks, tea­sing the locu­st heads of the heli­cop­ters. Hey you! Can you see me? Here on the roof! Can you see me?
That was the moment. He could not remem­ber any­thing after that. That was it. Blank. Sto­ned, utter­ly sto­ned. The thic­k­ness of it was still the­re like a fun­gus under his forehead.
He had awo­ken with his legs splayed out under his bed in imi­ta­tion of a shot man, face and floor tiles sea­led toge­ther by a mem­bra­ne of spit­tle. He came to with a hea­da­che, that told him that he should suf­fer as he was a disgra­ce, was good for so damn lit­tle and so on and so forth.
This had been when he woke up.
But now, fifteen minu­tes later, he was some­thing new and somewhe­re dif­fe­rent. He no lon­ger cared about any of the indi­gni­ty that could be asso­cia­ted with pas­sing out under his bed. All that was befo­re he had log­ged on and down­loa­ded. Befo­re finding it the­re. Having it here.
The email had chan­ged everything.
He had been transformed.
Now he stood in front of the bath­room mir­ror, bare to the wai­st, face wet, arms spread. Supreme.
Here he was, reflected back at him­self: the eter­nal man in a body of youth. His forearms, face and neck were dar­ker than the rest of him, but Rashid igno­red the sal­low skin that crea­ted the gho­st of a T-shirt over his che­st, the one that cut across his arms. He disre­gar­ded the under­de­ve­lo­ped muscle tone and the­re were days when he would think the word wasted, wasted, and feel his flesh shrin­king under the sur­fa­ce of his skin. This was a mor­ning when he saw only his col­lar­bo­nes that fra­med it all, the swoop of biceps and tri­ceps on his arms, the sto­mach definition that nee­ded no work for it to stay like that and the scrub of dark hair from his navel down to his jeans. ‘Path­way to hea­ven,’ Lisa had said tra­cing along it with her finger­tip, ‘path way to heaven.’
And at the thought of her, her lau­gh, Lisa! It explo­ded within him again and he could feel him­self fly, up, up, out of all of this.
See him­self fly, an Olym­pic diver in rever­se, Ica­rus in the sky, Jesus on a hill — it was all con­fu­sed — fly up, out, over all this.
All this what?
All this bone­ry. He knew how the earth would look from up the­re: like dried-out coral, rid­ged, cham­be­red and san­dy. He knew as he had tra­ced his finger over the satel­li­te pic­tu­res of it when drea­ming of esca­pe. From up the­re it was hun­dreds and thou­sands of habi­ta­tions redu­ced to scrat­ches on a bone. At that height, the line that fen­ced them in would bare­ly be made out, nor would the chec­k­poin­ts, not from up the­re, but even from that stra­to­sphe­ric distan­ce, the con­tra­st with the other side would be stark. On the other side, that side, the pla­ce they came from, that had been theirs, the one that they weren’t allo­wed to even visit any more, it wasn’t bones, but a blan­ket: an ela­bo­ra­te blan­ket of moder­ni­st desi­gn. It was pat­ter­ned with rows, cir­cles and stri­pes, each sha­pe colou­red abso­lu­te­ly as thou­gh pain­ted with the tip of a cur­sor and the press of a but­ton. Mud bro­wn here, a dash of hun­ting green the­re, some rust colou­red lines for bor­der definition. That side glin­ted. Solar panels and swim­ming pools twin­kled in the sun.
To hell with them.
To hell with them.
He was out of there.
Flip, flip, flip for he doesn’t fly, he is flipping now over the sea, the Whi­te Sea, al bahr al abyad, the Medi­ter­ra­nean, and it’s so blue and ali­ve with fish and dol­phins lea­ping, lea­ping like him: over, up, out of it all, into the sky and away.
Right the hell out of there.
Out of here.
For ever.
Well, at lea­st for a year.