Saturday, 8 February 2014

In the Dark

The most modern techniques in the field of phosphorescence are at the service of Rapimio and his night. It has become clear that, in the past twenty years, industry has made great progress in this field, such progress that it is now possible to furnish an entire apartment with phosphorescent objects at very accessible prices making it possible to lead a normal life in total darkness. In fact, Rapimio doesn’t tolerate light: perhaps it’s a defect of his, of his retina, or else of the nerves that link his retina to his brain or of his own brain. The truth is that light for him is like water for cats: not necessarily fatal, but, in any case, an element to avoid or to lap up in its right measure at the right moment. Sure, one needs to leave one’s house to carry out life’s various obligations, at least the more bothersome ones, those whimpering obligations like a newly born baby abandoned at one’s door and which, beyond the door, whimpers and scampers until one squashes it with a frying pan or an encyclopedia that comes to hand. At times one needs to go out and Rapimio can not simply turn off the sun, nor dim the street lamps, semaphores, neon adverts and thousands of other manifestations of electric energy of which this miserable city is so prodigious. So he leaves his house with a brown visor over his eyes and an umbrella open over his head, a nice black umbrella that is liable to draw forth comments and foolishly perplexed glances, especially in the summer. The glances, under the umbrella, are not visible and Rapimio is deaf to any comments. Being in that glare is a bit like being in a French Revolution: one can expect everything. One knows that refraction dulls the brain, so it’s better to rush those few chores one has under a shower of unsustainable photons, an implacable cosmic flux that the umbrella  – imperfectly lined – holds back and that, in any case, the pavement and the air itself reflects and shoots in every direction like machine gun fire, a light that grabs your throat, and insinuates itself into the brain like red hot lava. And so Rapimio always returns home from these sorties with their unleashed energy, with a blinding headache. He closes the door, hermetically sealed by large padded cords, but for ten minutes or a quarter of an hour he continues to see red. At the end, though, black wins out and he is at peace again.

In front of the dark, shadowy mirror, with phosphorescent sticks of pasta and other gadgets and widgets of fitting beauty, Rapimio repairs the broken lighting. Beneath the bluish green of his supple hair, chemically treated, appears, little by little, the thin line that marks the edge of his empty eyes, of his unreal mouth. The quadrant of the clock is particularly visible, almost embarrassingly luminescent, and equally useless, given that Rapimio cares little about time anymore: in the dark all hours are the same. Portraits of his mother and father hang on the walls, pure bluish contours of enigmatic figures, to fill up with his thoughts, or not to do so, as Rapimio sees fit. The most necessary objects are all phosphorescent: metals, keys and the door handles: in the black living room two luminous fish inside a cold tub add a spectrally vivacious touch of tropical life. Many a poet has praised blindness, the conciling tenebra: it’s not necessary to gouge out one’s eyes though, it is enough simply to close one’s windows and cut the wires of the electric current. Until a few years ago, Rapimio was forced to leave all his lamps lit, because phosphorescence even of the best varnish doesn’t remain long if it is not opportunely recharged in light. But one day new radioactive isotopes, of unlimited fluorescence, appeared. Since they caused well known illnesses, Rapimio pondered for a moment whether to use them or not. Reason, the advocate of inclination, as always won out in the end. Others get themselves wounded in battles, as a special treat to themselves. Rapimio, instead, offers himself as a hussar to alfa, beta and x-rays and even to cosmic rays. He has already lost the point of two fingers: needles of ice run along his back: he can’t bend his left knee. And yet, and yet, laying down in his black infinity without distances, surrounded by greenish pale forms that, at times, seem to get closer and at others to grow distant, Rapimio has defeated time and with time, suffering, anxiety, fear.       

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