This column was to be called Angels of Italy. In such an extraordinary moment, opening a window on the tenacious normality of those who continue to run the country is an idea that persuaded us. Collect words of those who keep working every day leaving home and loved ones – and then come back (if and when they are allowed) with the doubt of hurting them. Small stories of an even more difficult quarantine, precisely because it is permeable. Angels, heroes, are words that always return when story with its twists and turns make us lose: they refer to the wonder we have inside and that knows how to transcend human skin. But knowing the people we will introduce you, looking at their eyes in photos, we noticed that there was nothing prodigious. Nothing that betrayed the fact that those expressions and those eyes were exactly the expressions and eyes that we would have in their place. Neither heroes nor angels. But human eyes and faces. Weakened. Imbued with fears and insecurities. But also by sparks of courage. Then we understand. They are not heroes, they are not angels. They are us. That’s us.
I’m Manuela. And I’m from Catania.
I have been living with my partner for a year. In Acitrezza. The country of the Faraglioni, the Malavoglia, the Lampare. I have no children at the moment. But I’d like to have a puppy. And once things settle down I think one of the first things I plan to do is a visit to the kennel. We’ll see.
Since the quarantine began, I’m the only person to go out.
Faccio l’assistente amministrativa. È necessario. Perché lo faccio in una RSA. Una residenza sanitaria assistenziale. I’m an administrative assistant. It is necessary. Because I work in a residential care homes.
I always thought I would become a writer, to be honest. I still think so, I studied to do it, I don’t give up. Telling stories is a passion that I can’t ignore.
I thought that my job had nothing to do with my aspirations, that is, writing, my dream. And instead the place where I imagined to drag myself listless morning after morning turned out to be a mosaic, a kaleidoscope of stories. Stories of those like me who work there and very rich stories of those who live there and have an almost moving urgency to tell us about them.
Today going there is different, I feel a heavy weight and I don’t know exactly where it comes from. Maybe from responsibility. Or from bewilderment. From this moment, but also from future.
Even isolation with my partner is exhausting. But it is a duty, an act of conscience.
And perhaps it is also an opportunity to love more what I am inside that structure, concretely, beyond what I dream of being outside.
So I continue, every morning, to wear the clothes of that concrete me. Today they are called ‘protection measures’. And when I look at me with that clothes in the mirror, I think: it’s the right place where I have to be today.
Tomorrow, we’ll see.