This work was made during the lockdown and a story was linked to it that tells the story of the two boys present in the drawing.
The text is interrupted with this image and this causes the observer to begin to imagine the continuation of the story.
Enjoy the reading!
February 21, 2020 1:50 p.m. “driiiin”. The bell rings, “see you on Tuesday, Happy Carnival”, this is how that Friday of school ended, everyone went home thinking that they would come back to school on Monday, unaware of the fact that that would be their last day of normality, the last day where we could hug each other, kiss each other and even cough without it being odd and against the rules. The last time we could travel without a strange fabric wrapped around our nose and mouth that was called mask.
Everyone went their own way, not knowing what would have happened in the following days, unaware of what was about to happen…
After a few days the return to school was procrastinated, one time, two times, three times and then they told us that we could not go back to school, but not only to school, we could not go to the swimming pool, we could not go out with our friends, to the park, to the gym, to the restaurant. We could only STAY HOME.
We could leave our house just to go to the super market to buy the essentials goods, but to do so we should have with us a paper that from that moment would have been part of our lives, the self-certification.
From that exact moment everyone’s lives were going to change, we stayed home with no escape.
Marco, 17 years old, he had to stay home from school too. Like everyone else. Stuck at home, among that four walls that he really never visited so much because he preferred hanging out instead of staying home.
Astrid, three years younger than Marco, they met by chance and then they never separate.
They have been together for a year and a half and they love each other like only teenagers can love, or maybe not.
They are not in love like all the other kids, as if they know that someday it will be over, no. They love each other for real, a love that hold them tight and that doesn’t want to let them go.
Astrid and Marco are planning their life together, when they will be grown up and her mum will let her go on holiday with Marco, sea, mountains, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is being together.
During this 2020 a lot happened, not only a virus attacked the global population and brought down every nation, people, economy, tourism putting in crisis the hospitals and putting in danger the lives of thousand of doctors and nurses that were working to save other lives.
This year has taken away a lot of things: our freedom, our normality, our daily life that we had to rebuild.
For months they haven’t seen each other, they could only talk on the phone before going to bed. They just talked about their days spent at home, between online classes and home workout so they wouldn’t get bored on the couch. They looked outside the window and all they saw was nature taking over everything, the streets were empty, no cars, no kids shouting, nothing at all. Just a creepy silence and in addition the weather was bad, everything dark and they sky seemed violet. What was going to happen out there? What was happening to the world? When would everything go back to normal?
Astrid and Marco were wondering all these things while observing outside the window.
Marco was thinking about Astrid, he dreamed of hugging her, of seeing her face again, kissing her again.
No more! They couldn’t take any more, they couldn’t stay trapped at home any longer while outside the world was falling into pieces and the nature was taking over everything.
Astrid and Marco missed each other, they wanted to hug each other, to see each other. They were getting to the edge, they hadn’t seen each other in a very long time and they were starting to think that that was never going to happen again.
Suddenly one day an idea crossed Marco’s mind, apparently great but in hindsight not so great anymore.
They had been apart for a very long time now, he couldn’t resist one day more. He had decided, he had to break the rules, the law, he had to risk going outside.
Until a few months ago, leaving the house was not forbidden, was not a crazy idea, it was just normal.
That night he called Astrid and he explained the plan, very simple, they had to do just like Romeo and Juliet, but of course with a different ending.
Around 4 p.m. they had to leave the house like it was nothing, like they were just going out for supplies. They would have put on their suits to be protected from the radiation, that’s how it was called, everyone over 14 had one of those suits.
Then they just had to avoid other people and soldiers scattered around the city. Avoiding people was very simple because no one was around, as for the soldiers it was quite difficult.
They had to use the most hidden streets that the writers used to sneak out the night to wallpaper with graffiti the buildings that were not invaded by plants.
Astrid was the one who should risk less, she had to leave the house, walk to streets and then she had to hide where she used when she was little, behind the branches of a willow tree.
For Marco the path to follow was a little bit more rough. He had to leave the house, walk by the supermarket and then he had to head towards a very bad damaged hut. It was just a cluster of wooden planks that was hiding something more important, a secret passage that led to the tunnels used by the writers. Using the tunnels Marco could reach Astrid.
The exit was just a few meters away from where Astrid was hiding. An iron stairs led to the outside, he climbed it, he moved the heavy manhole and he was finally out.
No one was around, “of course, it was forbidden” thought Marco. Trying not to draw the attention on him he walked a few meters to arrive in front of that big willow tree. He went behind the branches and he saw her, sit there on a branch, wrapped in that awful suit that looked like a big K-way.
When he saw her, his eyes lighted up. In that moment he forgot completely what was going on, he was not worried about the world that was falling apart, the risk that they were running standing there or about anything else. There, in that moment, the only ones present were Astrid and himself, after a very long time.
She jumped off the branch into his arms, they hold on tightly to each other, almost as if they were suffocating. He could finally smell her, her perfume. He didn’t wait any longer and he kissed her.
They sat under the tree, incredulous that they had just seen each other. They started speaking about everything and finally they could do it not behind a screen.
How much they had missed the possibility to talk to each other, being able to look into each other’s eyes and see a real image. They had missed the possibility of touching each other, hugging each other. They started talking about what was happening, about how the life they knew was changing, it was making way to this new one, similar to the one of some movie or video games about a zombie apocalypse. Here, instead of some human looking for some brain to eat, there was an invisible virus that could attack us in any moment, taking away everything that we had.
Marco and Astrid were wondering whats was worse, a zombie apocalypse or what they were living… well, in the end, it was better having to wash the hands more frequently than escaping from human being hungry for their own kind.
A few hours had passed, they didn’t have much more time to spend together, by 7 p.m. they had to be home. But first they wanted to do something together, they wanted to see the city, how it had become, the city centre but in particular their school, one of the last places where they have seen each other before the world changed.
They could see the entrance from the street they had to walk to not be caught by the guards. It was one of those streets where the writer used to draw everything that 2020 had taken away, always adding something new and for this reason the street was named “Not To Forget”.
The name clearly explains the place, it was like one of those boxes that every kid has in his own room, where you throw inside everything that you don’t know where to put, just to pretend that the room is tidy. Marco had one of those boxes, too. This street represented the big box of 2020 and everything that had happened until that moment.
A dark place, surmounted by nature and abandoned, just like the rest of the city and the world that was succumbing to this new unexpected threat.
Astrid and Marco were walking when from a distance they saw their school surrounded by plants that little by little were engulfing it. It seemed like the ivy was hugging the school and then let it disappear under its branches.
They looked up and saw the first mural: “This is us” they thought.
On a little bridge that connected two buildings there was a drawing of two teenagers kissing with their masks on. That obnoxious mask that didn’t let them breath and that was part of their lives.
Who draw that didn’t want to represent the problems related to the masks but the freedom that had been taken away, the possibility of talking to each other without keeping the distance, not being able to hug and kiss the people we loved for fear of transmitting something that we didn’t know we had.
Under the mural there was a plaque marked “2 November 1940 - 2 November 2020”, it didn’t
represented the date of construction of that bridge or of the street, but it was the date of birth
and death of the great Gigi Proietti, one of the many victims of this terrible year.
On the side wall a black fist, the symbol of the "black lives matter", in memory of all those people killed because of human ignorance; below that there was a tribute to all the doctors who during the first part of the virus, and even now, were trying to save lives, jeopardizing theirs and the ones of their families, wearing for grueling hours protections that left bruises all over the face as well as the huge tiredness, fatigue and fear inside each of them.
"Look, they remembered him too, your favorite," Astrid said to Marco as she pointed a basketball next to a bin.
It was not a simple basketball, it was the memory of the Black Mamba who left us with his daughter due to a helicopter accident at the beginning of 2020.
“Goodbye Kobe”, said Marco.
So the two set off observing everything that had been written, drawn, supported; seeing broken signs, masks scattered on the ground as they went towards that school, that place that was previously a symbol of congregation, of sociality but which was now wrapped and buried by the wild nature that was slowly rebelling against man.
It was getting late, the darkness had fallen and there were a few shabby street lamps to shed light but undeterred the two lovers walked embraced, unaware of what was about to happen to them.