The White Lily Dipped In The Aether - Andrea Oliveti - E-Book

The White Lily Dipped In The Aether E-Book

Andrea Oliveti

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Andrea is eighty-two years old and he has an incomplete life behind him, when he goes through the gate of the House of the Roses, the distinguished and cold nursing home where his niece has left him.
He would have wanted to rebel, to avoid that subtle torture, the alienating sense of useless wait for an end now inevitable but, like a loyal soldier from an army now defeated, he did not want or could not say no.
He is welcomed by monstrous-looking peers with yellow and spotted skin and with eyes and a mouth reduced to dark cavities: tired, aged faces, bent under the burden of years and life.
The solitude of lots of past afternoons, the ghosts meticulously collected during years of daily defeats, the pain that slowly turns into bitterness assault him.
He seeks relief in that God he has always loved, respected and never understood, but, in the face of the eternal impermanence of existence, all his certainties seem to waver.
In Torquato, a terminally-ill patient, who faces his suffering with a smile on his lips, he sees that clear and unshakable faith that he has chased so much, without ever truly being able to reach it, to make it his own and to taste it fully.
Days pass slowly and little by little Andrea gets to know his misfortune companions: the gentle and reasonable Ubaldo, the confrontational Professor, the seemingly sharp and haughty Adelina, the inflexible Ermanno, the irreproachable Leandro, the skinny and schizophrenic Galileo.
Crazy, unpredictable, desperate but at the same time very human protagonists of the eternal tragedy and the many-sided comedy of all our endless, earthly days.
Like a pond where cyclically life is recreated, that unstable and very fragile microcosm is populated with apparently lost feelings: Andrea finds again joy and dejection, faith and blasphemy, selfishness and friendship and perhaps even love…
Finally he has neither bonds nor chains, no rule or convention to respect: a meaningless existence, a permanent job to preserve, an improbable future to build are only a yellowed memory, worn by time.
His past, present and future are kept in a single endless moment, the hornet flapping its wings that, against all the laws of nature, insists on flying in the hot lights of sunset before night wraps it in its mortal embrace.

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Andrea Oliveti's biography

Andrea Oliveti was born in Rimini and attended a five-year Technical High School. He achieved an accountant diploma and even earlier a business consultant diploma. After the military service he studied Law at University in Urbino (PU), Italy. For a long period he worked in his father’s insurance agency as a collaborator, and then he registered in the register of insurance brokers (the Italian ISVAP). His work did not prevent him from cultivating his passion for Art, especially the 20th century Visual Arts, that we also find in some of the best pages of his novels and that push him to follow with interest some of the most famous auction houses in Italy. Furthermore thanks to his love for painting he did some informal paintings achieving resounding success in his town and surroundings. He wrote five novels, this is his second one. These are his successful novels: Petali di Vita: i Colori del Sole e i Colori dell’Inferno (2011), Arazzi di Sangue nell’Anima (2013), Criteri Cerebrali (2015), Il Giglio Bianco Intinto Nell’Etere (2017), Il Mio Sangue Nella Tua Anima (2018). He also wrote a monograph about the famous painter from Romagna (Italy): Tonino Savioli. At the moment he is working on his seventh literary work. Curiosity: he has got a blood relation with the lieutenant colonel Ivo Oliveti, a highly decorated officer, a fearless and brave pilot fallen during the Ethiopian war, honoured with a gold medal of military valour.

Andrea Oliveti The White Lily Dipped In The Aether English Digital Edition: January 2021 ISBN 978-88-906386-7-1 Fate d’Argento

Italian title: Il Giglio Bianco Intinto Nell’Etere First Italian hardcover edition: April 2017 ISBN 978-88-906386-3-3

This work is in copyright: Law N. 633/1941. All rights concerning translation, quotation, reproduction in any form, use of pictures and tables, supplied software material, radio-tv broadcast, analogue or digital recording, publication and distribution through the Internet are reserved, even in case of partial use. The reproduction of this work, even partially, is allowed only to the full extent permitted by law and it is liable to the written editor’s permission. The violation of the rules implies penalties provided for by the Italian State. This book may include some words which are asserted to be proprietary names. The presence of such assertions should not be regarded as affecting the legal status of any proprietary name or trademark. © 2020- Fate d’Argento, Rimini [email protected] [email protected] All rights reserved

Preface

Andrea is eighty-two years old and he has an incomplete life behind him, when he goes through the gate of the House of the Roses, the distinguished and cold nursing home where his niece has left him. He would have wanted to rebel, to avoid that subtle torture, the alienating sense of useless wait for an end now inevitable but, like a loyal soldier from an army now defeated, he did not want or could not say no. He is welcomed by monstrous-looking peers with yellow and spotted skin and with eyes and a mouth reduced to dark cavities: tired, aged faces, bent under the burden of years and life. The solitude of lots of past afternoons, the ghosts meticulously collected during years of daily defeats, the pain that slowly turns into bitterness assault him. He seeks relief in that God he has always loved, respected and never understood, but, in the face of the eternal impermanence of existence, all his certainties seem to waver. In Torquato, a terminally-ill patient, who faces his suffering with a smile on his lips, he sees that clear and unshakable faith that he has chased so much, without ever truly being able to reach it, to make it his own and to taste it fully. Days pass slowly and little by little Andrea gets to know his misfortune companions: the gentle and reasonable Ubaldo, the confrontational Professor, the seemingly sharp and haughty Adelina, the inflexible Ermanno, the irreproachable Leandro, the skinny and schizophrenic Galileo. Crazy, unpredictable, desperate but at the same time very human protagonists of the eternal tragedy and the many-sided comedy of all our endless, earthly days. Like a pond where cyclically life is recreated, that unstable and very fragile microcosm is populated with apparently lost feelings: Andrea finds again joy and dejection, faith and blasphemy, selfishness and friendship and perhaps even love… Finally he has neither bonds nor chains, no rule or convention to respect: a meaningless existence, a permanent job to preserve, an improbable future to build are only a yellowed memory, worn by time. His past, present and future are kept in a single endless moment, the hornet flapping its wings that, against all the laws of nature, insists on flying in the hot lights of sunset before night wraps it in its mortal embrace.

I have always believed that life could be a convulsive gift of I do not know which altruist, but it is terrible to reach my age living as a useless man. And there is nothing I can do to subvert things. So it was written, nothing will change the programme, a programme all in all happy and fortunate, without unnecessary brutality, since I have reached eighty-two springs. Sometimes I have the impression of being a walking coffin and it is too great a pain, as sharp as a red-hot blade that pierces my flesh daily.

Chapter I

Since last night I have been parked in the House of the Roses, a distinguished nursing home, where my granddaughter brought me. Now I belong to the brotherhood of those who no longer have desires, other than receiving a hug or a simple smile occasionally. On this Sunday morning, in order to forget, I go to the little chapel dedicated to welcoming the religious. It is located inside the structure where Holy Mass will be celebrated shortly. Inside I see languid grandfathers, my poor peers, with their exhausted faces, their yellow and spotted skin. The eyes and mouth are nothing but dark cavities. Some of them are accompanied. It seems that time has struck those faces like the breaking of a riverbank that devours the earth. Absent and lost, I look again at those hollowed yellow-green faces. Soon after, the last dark silhouettes arrive, perhaps unexpected, they advance like automatons, with slow and hesitant steps, and sit on the pews. In the silence I sense pungent smells combined with slow breaths... A pitiful devotee is sitting next to me, looking at me with big and bright questioning eyes, then he moves his head and stares at the void. These are hardships for those who have led a life of sacrifice. Singular moments wrapped in mediocrity. Painful practices even for the Creator. It seems that the channels of life were conceived by an unbalanced person: birth, joy, suffering, forgiveness and, as a last act, departure. The sharpest game, the cruelest, but only apparently. The last effort before living in eternal bliss… In this earthly life there is no goal, except after death. Death for some is painful, irrational, while for others it is peaceful and physiological. Another absurd law of the Creator. Is this the right consolation prize after all that we have built? What if Heaven turns out to be a damn unreliable invention? The great fairy tale of the Eucharistic celebration begins, the priest speaks in a warm and deep voice, foreign faces are devoted to the attentions of the speaker, the true man of God. I breathe a magical aura for almost half an hour. Often the beams of red light filter through the decorated glass windows, radiating the chaplain's fat face and the clay faces of the faithful. One of the well-known liturgical moments comes united in Christian humanism. The wax faces with their bony hands exchange the sign of Peace. This elegiac step makes me nervous, but unreasonably energises me. A younger man, with eyes as big as fried eggs, turns around and stares at me, then shakes my hand, after that it is the turn of a sister; only now do I realise that she has buttocks equal to those of a hippopotamus. We are in the branch of the soul, in a moving contrast. After the final blessing, I receive some sincere smiles and that is already enough for me to get through a new day. I go back to my room. In this room an immense force of abomination is present, it exacerbates that silence and turns it into a cry. I feel deeply lonely and estranged, I observe every detail of my miserable room and I have to enjoy it if I still want to live. It will be a matter of habit this time too, I tell myself. I know how difficult it can be to get through the first few days, but I promised myself I would not think. I cannot get down, if I felt sad I could always go down to the garden, look at the well-kept lawn, the flowers and the last intense chase of butterflies. I must overcome the boredom of time... then I will live twice. The night sways like the reflux of ink, I spent endless minutes looking into the void, I feel useless, even to myself. I sink my hands into the pockets of my trousers, I am a simple piece of life suspended in the aether, who will soon finish his reading and will be transferred into the waves of infinity, before the supreme court of a God of incontrovertible judgment. When I entered the nursing home last night, I was aware that I would receive only humiliation. Oppressions are so many that they take my breath away. In the shadows of disquiet I look around, but I find no hope. The wind hisses on the window panes, while the evening runs indolently behind the plane trees. A delightful deception of mother nature. Blood smell and dejection. I feel thorns in my heart, more and more numerous, the pain crosses my arms. I have no contempt for death. I slip again into the uncertain and shortly afterwards even the Almighty seems foreign to me...

Chapter II

The dim light of the new day silently enters invading my room. I wash my face and look in the mirror. Watery eyes stare at me for a long time. The skin is pale and wrinkled, devoid of all curiosity. That image penetrates the hidden corners of my soul. In this arid existence my physique is an unworthy comparison of what it was in the past. Oily reflections dance in my skull. Two years ago, although I was not happy, I lived a thousand times better. Fierce regrets hit me repeatedly, yet when I was forty years old I longed for a foreign, stronger life. Well, here I am… Without realising it, I keep violating my conscience. A nurse knocks on the door and simultaneously opens it. «Good morning, Andrea, how are you?» I do not answer. I do not have the strength to despise that arrival so determined, without my consent to penetrate into my intimacy. I feel exhausted, I have come into contact with human triviality. She takes my arm and stretches it out, then wraps the the upper part in a cuff connected to a bulb, underneath slips the flat end of a stethoscope and brings the earphones to her ears. In strict silence she inflates the cuffs until I feel my arm explode. Shortly afterwards I feel it slowly deflate. The ineffable nurse takes note of something, says goodbye and leaves. The room smells of melancholy again. In the evening silence and pain reign. Appeals in the mind and cruel final verdicts hit hard. Why did I come here? Why did I bring my tired bones to this nursing home? I would have preferred to die in my house, in solitude, in the middle of unconditional nothing. Now I will have to fight against a thousand shadows of fear that will try to destroy me. I open the French window of my room, it leads to a tiny balcony overlooking a courtyard and I get a bottle of champagne from it. More than a small terrace I would call it a windowsill, it is less than fifty centimetres long and it is suffocated by thick, partially rusty iron bars. It is cold outside and it is a frost that penetrates the heart and skeleton of my soul. I close the door again, while the wind keeps screaming against the windows. I will accept the end of my existence here, but I do not want any discussion with the Creator, not now. I place the fresh bottle of rosy champagne on my forehead and twirl it slightly until it drops to my eyes; the whole room is now tinged with pink anguish. It is a gift from the affable niece, perhaps her last gift. I do not blame her, probably not even I, in her place, would have taken on and put an old man in my house. Or maybe I would have, having felt all the pain of an old person. But these are personal choices and it is right to keep them to yourself. The shadow of death is sitting beside me, it does not leave me and smiles at me. It appears closer and closer, in a constant waiting. It is a pity that man cannot choose how and when to die. A planetary pain is annihilating me and I realise that, with my own hands, I am imprisoning my mind. I cannot let myself go right now, I will get used to it, I tell myself, after all you can even be accustomed to miracles. No one will ever know what I would give to live my life again. I uncork the bottle and fill the glass, I see how the bubbles spurt; I taste the first bitter sips of French wine, then I quickly gulp it down. I fill the glass two more times, emptying it all in one breath. I have to change my head if I still want to live. Friends and relatives are now completely foreign to me. The epidemic pain comes back overwhelmingly, I do not have to worry myself for coming here. Could I possibly rebel? Yes, but for how long? A month or so, and then they would come back and propose it to me again. I just have to forget. Repentance is the worst illness of every previous and future century; if I want to cry, I will be always able to do it, it will not change the situation, but for me it will be an outburst… The alcohol begins to hit my forehead, the first delicate inebriation spreads in my mind warming my blood. Empty figures hover in the room scanning my conscience. Several times the silence acquires a voice between the dividing lines of death. What is life? A dark mystery full of repressed desires? Will I ever be able to penetrate serenely the remaining days? In the abuses of bloody reflections, the walls enclose the strange stillness. I start pouring champagne in the glass again, while drinking I collect all my energy; among the pearl grey fumes of alcohol I have lost the dimension of time and everything seems damn wonderful, nothing is beyond my reach, insecurities and fears have prodigiously dissolved. The hangover is a fragment of joy, but in a few hours everything will be even more painful. But I do not care, in the meantime I benefit from the lightheartedness that is boiling in my blood and pleasantly striking my mind. I had to be born with a naive poverty in my soul and be expelled from any absurd aspiration, I would have lived unquestionably better, only by desiring nothing would I not have felt life as an indecent derision. I feel compassion for myself, even though I have always believed that pity is the most useless feeling in the world. I am eighty-two years old... My God, I am eighty-two years old... Who would have thought I could get there... It is a monstrous vision to get there and feel that pitiful need for affection. I do not know if a day, a week or a month has passed, but never like tonight have I felt so lonely, empty and furious with myself.