Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Gift

I am old, very old. Older than you may think I am by just looking through my watery eyes the color of the clear seas of this island where I have been living most of my life. I was young then, when I came to this country as an invader. They sent me here on “a mission”. That multiform monster called the Roman Empire sent me here on a mission, as a young captain of a legion to subdue those who still dared to resist our “enlightened rule.” Here on this sacred island that has seen much more dawns then all of our senators and politicians together have ever dreamed about.  I killed, raped, stole, because that was “our rule.”  

I walked into the sacred cave and I saw her. A young girl, she must have been thirteen, if at all. Dark eyes, as dark as a night without moon. Her look transfixed, looking beyond everything, beyond me, beyond the rocks of this cave, beyond this island, beyond the sea.   After a moment of silence that seemed longer than all my life, she talked. She said I had little to live. I would have died within a year. And then silence again.

The world crashed in front of me. I was desperate. Didn’t know what to do, where to go, to which God to cry my desperation. And left. Drop my weapons, my armor, gave my gold coins, all I had, to a blind beggar on the street. And left.

I took refuge in a little shack on the East sea. Far from the legions, far from my past, far from my short lived future. And I cried. I cried bitter tears for days, for weeks. I was only twenty-four. How could I die so young? Which God had casted upon me this curse? How had I wronged them, the mighty Gods I had always honored with gifts?

But the time passed, slowly and fast as always. And I forgot about the young girl with the dark eyes of a moonless night. I resorted to host a tavern in the shack than no one reclaimed. To the travelers I offered sweet wines that I purchased from the locals in exchange of my work. I offered tasty meals that I learned how to cook. I offered my stories, and a little token of joy to everyone who stopped at my place.

And now I am old, very old, but I still remember that little girl with eyes transfixed looking beyond me, beyond the sea, beyond everything, and how she saved my life with the gift of death.

I am old, very old. Older than what you may think I am by looking into my eyes as dark as a night without moon. They took me here, in this sacred cave, when I was just as small child, even before the blood of life had started to flow through my body with the cycles of the moon. They gently washed me every day with water scented of flowers and honey; they fed me the sweet fruits of this holy land. They constantly kept my mind in a different world than my body by means of the incensed fumes exuding from the stoned altar of the goddess to whom I had dedicated my all life. I could see the past, the present, and the future though and beyond the eyes of the many visitors who lined up at the entrance of the cave, every day, every month, every year of my long life.

I was still very young, still a child, but I remember this young, handsome boy. He must have been twenty-four, if at all. His body was alive with the life and the strength of a young man, but his eyes were dead. His heart was dead as a stone, no feelings, no loving, scared. His life was miserable, full of unspeakable horrors. I could see his future very clearly, a long peaceful and happy life as sweet as the wines of this island. And for the first and only one time in my long life as a seer, I decided to lie.  That lie was my gift to him.

Roberto Pieraccini
Hong Kong, April 1, 2012
Berkeley, June 3, 2012


FG said...


Ma toglimi un curiosita': Scrivi in inglese perche' ormai ti viene meglio o perche' cosi' possono leggerlo un numero maggiore di persone?

Roberto Pieraccini said...

Per certe cose mi viene meglio usare l'inglese. Ma certamente perche' se scrivessi solo in Italiano molti amici non potrebbero leggerlo. Ho alcune storie in Italiano che puoi leggere cliccando questo link. Ciao!