"Tell me a story, Mom."
"Which one? Red Riding Hood? Cinderella? Snow White?"
"What are you talking about? Rather, the one about the woman who in the morning opens a branch office in France, works in the garden in the afternoon and writes a new blog in the evening."
She looks at me with her large eyes filled with a sweetness that pretends to be sarcasm. It looks to me just like yesterday that she wanted to sleep with me. She doesn't do it anymore. Now she has Facebook next to her homework, thinking that I can't see her, as if I hadn't done the same with my French novels when I was her age. She's almost as tall as I am now, and just as naive as I was. I look at her wondering what happened to that little girl who used to cry when I was sad and laugh when I was happy. Now she wears jeans and loose T-shirts, and when she plays volleyball, she is constantly pulling her shorts down, as if ashamed to show these young, strong legs that she'll never have again. I bite the tip of my tongue trying not to laugh when I remember how I used to walk, all bent, so no one would notice my breasts, which seemed to grow a little more each passing day. And I see her excited face, a little nervous, a little confused, taking uncertain steps, jumping higher and higher, her eyes eagerly looking, looking, looking at other eyes at other faces, looking for recognition and approval.
While I wait for her in front of the car, I see the man who lives between the acacia and the medlar tree. For days I have see him coming out from underneath the pieces of wood he has lodged between the two trees, probably to use as a roof, tidying up a bit around him (what's there to tidy up?) and then sitting on the bench near him, smoking and watching people pass by. Once upon a time, this man was also a child.
She leaves the pavilion stepping lightly and with a huge smile. Deep inside of me, still mine, a very little girl dances joyfully and covers me with kisses.
Translated by Lina Strenio