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.