MANY HAPPY RE-TURNS – Una Storia Esemplare _ Alberto Moretti photographer _

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Alberto Moretti

MANY HAPPY RE-TURNS Una Storia Esemplare


December 7th, 1995 – May 9th, 1998

1995, December, 14th Today at 1:50 pm you turn, inebriatingly, seven-days old. I lit a candle for you. You are my life. I am watching over your sleep now: no wonderful fantasy could have ever been like this inconceivably beautiful reality.

1995, December, 18th I often find myself listening to your silence while you sleep: inconceivable purity of sounds, I o aerial crystals, diamonds to be heard. You are growing up so quickly: your centimeters and extra pounds match with your psychological acquisitions, absolute Angel who knew nothing but to follow a primordial instinct and that now already knows gestures and sensations related to experience. You understand the caress on your head and decide sens whether to accept it or reject it; you associate my smile with the expression you can do in order to imitate me; thus, your clear skin lights up as well as your large, mobile, expressive blue eyes. Now you can easily find your mother’s breasts without the blind instinctual rush that characterized this gesture of yours no more than seven days ago. Your desires are my desires. Now I pray to God that He blesses upon you a destiny of physical and mental health, of conceptual independence, of confidence in your thinking, of courage for your actions. Now I pray to God that He blesses your mother and me the wisdom and strength which are necessary to raise you properly. Now that I feel the responsibility for the life that I have generated, now that I understand Now th that I have no power over your life at all, I turn to God. Without Him I would feel alone, abandoned to nature and to the inscrutable reasons of existence, which in these days I am trying to understand and interpret.

1996, April, 11th As never before I felt the sea within me. Its waves. Placid, natural, nightly. And their sound, while they bathed the shore which they left wet. They flow out; fresh, slow and then they returned, equally soft. Amazing this lunar sea. The water does not reach the beach to get out of itself, freed from its, at times placid, at times insolent, movement. That water does not become anything else, absorbed by the sand to become non-existent. And it is not expelled from it. It continues to be sea and sea returns to be. The sand absorbed it and the sand was in the sea.

1996, November, 4th I have felt love for you even before having given birth to you. You were already, you. The I have felt love for you even befo future is not the time, however. I have then continued to love the millimeters of life inside the womb, but even before that, I loved my sperm and that egg. I thus discovered that love does not have measures that define it: love is not felt, love is there or it is not. Love is an Idea; it is original purity that does not precede and does not proceed. The Principle is not life; the Principle is love. A son is not flesh. Love has no gender; nor sex; nor mothers.

1998, March, 19th 1998 I'm going to wake up my love. I know, she will smell of wet roses and will talk to me like no one has ever been able to do. She will sing with me and when she will look for my fingers to hold in her small hand, I will know that I can even stay without her for a little while because she lives my own sky. It is her, however, who cannot stay without me now. And I will do everything possible not to deny my life to myself without giving it all to her anyway.

1998, May, 6th Dead of night. She "kidnaps" you and takes you away. I stand barefoot on the road watching the scene, without understanding what I am looking at, lost over the possibilities. Caught in sleep, on the street, wrapped up in the plaid of your bed, you look at me with your eyes aware of something too big for you and yet so well understood in the depths of your conscious and innate instinct. I perceive a subtle, very sweet smile in your big blue eyes windows open to fear and questions. Damned me. Now I am all alone. I will have to follow a path unknown to me.

1998, May, 7th 1998 You try it. And try it again. Then again and again. You exert on the soul the strongest force you can. And you would like to get into the house and feel it, that love, that welcoming sensation of love that you have known and that you would like to feel again. And you wear yourself out and flagellate yourself because this does not happen, and you punch your heart and scream: live, live, live! And you cry and despair but it no longer palpitates. Immobile. Silent. A few days ago. I came back home from Venice, from Lausanne, and I felt so alone! And for this, desperate. At two o’ clock, the lights in the house were like a winter fire. They said: «Here we are, Daddy, welcome back». Your bodies, from behind, on the bed, a little bit distant from each other, yellow and warm like the waiting. Big and untidy your mother, you small and squatting; both uncovered. I took you in my arms, I sniffed you as one does with the summer rain, with the rain grass, and I put you back to heavy sleep in your night womb. I, tormented by lost love, by the inadmissibility of the end, I cried, silent, on the back of the certainty I was leaving. Desperate for the despair I would have caused. The horror. A fire that I would have never found again.

1998, one afternoon in May

I have came outside your house; yours and yours mother's house, now. I cannot help doing it since the day I left home. It is the pain for the life that I have decided to leave and the furious longing for you. Unmoving on the street in front of the house I looked at the terrace and had a presentiment (a constant in my life; ignoring it, I would have regretted it, it has always been this way). So, I looked at the rubbish bins in front of me, beside the gate, and I understood that I had to look inside, because I would have found part of the reason for the pain I was feeling. I lifted the big green lid and, invaded by a greenish feeling of vomit, I saw three things of I li yours that, at that moment, were the image of you: the silver bell-carillon that had been given to you at baptism, dented and with his dirty pink bow; the wax bear, with a broken leg; and that soap with the teddy bear inside, still in its transparent box: a whole prison. A sacrilege. I took everything with me – my heart shattered.

June - August 1998

1998, June, 10th You said to me, «I'm sorry that you are not here».

1998, July, 15th Unbearable pain. You are already used as a weapon. She does not want me to phone you in order to talk together. She objects that you and I meet, she makes impossible for me to find you. She says you are sick, and acts like this. Call "daddy" a thousand times and a thousand more, tell her that you want to stay with me.

1998, August, 19th Daughter of mine, you have a desperate dad. It seems that I fall irreparably wrong by stopping loving her. She keeps impeding our meetings and when that "little hour" is granted, it feels like a loan. You have become a property.

1998, August, 27th I would have never thought that a daughter could be missed like this. It seems you are on I would have never thought th holiday. I do not know where. I do not know with whom. I cannot look for you. In your rare words on the phone, sweet and clear, by the inflections of the voice and its tone, I feel all your bewilderment and your sadness. You are not free to speak, she intervenes with a low voice to make you say or not say something. This morning your sounds made me rejoiced, but immediately afterwards they threw me into despair. Today on the phone you asked her: «Can I go to daddy?». My love, how “can I”? You have to say “I want”, because you are my blood and it is intolerable that I do not know where you are and with whom, what my blood and it is intole you’re doing and how you are. I'm scared. It even surprises me the fact that I wonder by myself what fate would have the

audacity to do so, that you would not share your whole life with me. And just the mere thinking about this upsets me.

September 1998

October 28th, 1998 – July 28th, 1999

1998, October, 28th. I cannot sleep anymore. I have not talked to anyone for three days. In an hour we will be legally separated. Exactly 10 years ago we met.

1998, November, 14th You are in pain. Still and continuously. The day before yesterday you managed to get me on the phone. I ran to you. You said to me, heartily: «Stay here for some days». You broke my heart. Yesterday, at my grandparents', when I went out to go to work, you cried: «I want to be with you, I don't want you to go away». Darling, my infinite love! Origin of the heart!

1998, December, 2nd Yesterday night too you were “glued” to my body. You miss me with the same strength of nostalgia. I went away dismayed: it is as if your growth has stopped due to my absence. A kind of regression. You make some little noises as those you used to do when you were very little, with your finger in your mouth and your eyes fixed on the emptiness, held thigh to me, but in a state of deep perception more typical of an adult child. Your memory also has had a sort of stop: you keep all the memories of our habits and our ways, but you refuse to remember our other educational games that were usual to us, such as reciting the alphabet, the numbers, and much more. My absence from home is making your balance waver.

1998, December, 7th This morning I prayed to God to give me the strength to get through this day. Today you

turn three-years old. You have celebrated this day with your mother and her partner. I was treated like a plague sufferer and was not allowed to see you. I asked heaven for a higher force. I am dead.

1998, December, 25th This morning I heard your voice again. She let you phone at me, at least; but you had not been prepared, a distracted "hello", as if this day is just a day like the others. I had to wait until half past eight in the evening to be able to hug you and wish you a Merry Christmas. Christmas alike your birthday, thus: heartbreaking, impossible to imagine. Nausea and disgust. Tomorrow you will leave for the mountain, the three of you, and I had known nothing about this and hadn’t agreed. I feel hostage.

1998, December 27th I have just left the cinema: Woody Allen's Celebrity, a masterpiece. During the movie I I have just le keep my phone turned on, waiting for your call, as your mother promised. But nothing. As soon as I leave the cinema, however, it rings. You cry hard. «Come here», you manage to say. You are desperate. And I: «You are far away, where are you?». «At home», you say crying. And immediately after: «Take the car and come here». I have troubles at answering to you. I speak with your mother, I ask her to let me come to you. «No, there are friends here». And I: «The girl needs me». «No!». And gets you back on the phone. You cry in despair, I do not know how to console you. She takes the phone back: «I called you despai because she was saying strange things... that you do not hear... and that you’re always having dinner with the girls». I say that it is better if I come and see you for a while, in order to calm you down. «No, you could have thought about all this earlier». «I have left you, not my daughter». «I am the one who has left you!», she reacts. The chat is tense. You cry behind (what face is he making? I wonder). My pain and anger

are exasperating. «You see her whenever you want», she says. «Whenever you want», I reply. Something then degenerates, I cannot recall what now. She hung up on me. I am paralyzed. I remember that she kept on repeating to me "you could have thought of it all before". It is 1 am. I was tempted to come see you. Until tomorrow morning at 8.30 the house is still It is 1 am 50 percent mine and I still have the keys. I resist. I can only pray to God, the Virgin Mary and all the Saints. And I ask for a miracle.

1999, January, 11th, Monday I come to kindergarten but you are not there. No one answers me at home. Why was not I warned? This is our day. Only at five in the afternoon do I hear from you. I come and get you, and until half past ten we are happy.

1999, January, 20th, Wednesday 1999 These days we have met only once. Today I was asked to bring you some medicine. I come. I am impressed. Today you are another person: you treat your mom very badly, you act like a spoiled child and you are very arrogant. Today you make ugly faces and raspberries at me. I do not understand the reasons. I am in pain, but I react with kindness and always with very affectionate ways. I cannot do anything else.

1999, February, 4th, Thursday I run to you in the kindergarten, I see you coming, you want to come with me. Mom says I run to you in the kinde no. I search for you all evening on the phone. No one answers. I came outside your house and left a note in the mailbox for you.

1999, February, 20th You went away for ten days. You left with a fever. I proposed to take you away as soon as you were fine, in two or three days. It was a no, of course. l search for you on the phone, you reply to me truly miserably, finger in your mouth, voice and tone that I know well. I know to which of your emotional state all of this corresponds to.

1999, February, 22th, Monday I phone you in the afternoon. You are still feeling very down. You say to me, «I want to I phone you in the a come to you». How can I explain that you are far away? So, I always and inevitably go to the wrong side, because it is me who is missing. You are with a babysitter, I do not know who she is, your voice is sad and melancholic. Would not you have been better with me? So ill you are?

1999, March, 4th, Thursday Tough “phone fight”. I asked for you to sleep at my place. She says that the signed agreements are not going to be reviewed. She says to not speak to her but rather to her lawyer. I say that about you and your well-being I have to talk to her and not to the lawyer. She makes disconnected and illogical points. She talks about "landmarks" when, in fact, your life takes place into three different houses; and with a partner who is not me; while she has forbidden me to introduce you to my girlfriend. I can still pick you up at 4:30 pm. We are together until 8:45 pm. You are of unspeakable tenderness, you say «Hold me tight» when we walk down the street. we walk down the st

1999, March, 5th, Friday I phone you at 10:30 pm. You are at your maternal grandparents’ house. At the beginning you do not want to talk to me, then you find some courage and tell me: «I'm a little bit

sad». «Why?», I ask you. «Because I wanted to come and eat with you». I cheered you up, I made you laugh. I miss you, you miss me.

1999, March, 19th, Friday Today is Father's Day. I'm coming to pick you up from the kindergarten, and I am excited. You run towards me, it's very cold, but you wear the open flowered jacket, you're excited and happy, full of vitality. You stop in front of me and, radiant, you tell me the poem by heart. You are inspired, heartfelt, and you act it in an orderly, cadenced way, without hesitation. I am amazed and full of love. I get down on my knees, you hug me with a crash, we sink our faces into the coats, I inhale you with full lungs. I get up, you cling to my legs, you want to come away with me. «Let's go!», she says with firm sweetness. She had remained a little detached from us. «I want to stay with daddy!», you say. «Come! Let's go home». It is, for the record, a Friday, so our day, as well as being Father's Day. But there is nothing to do. She takes you away. I go back home with a sadness that I cannot measure and a sense of irreversible loss. In the I go back home with a sadness th evening I try to communicate with you on the phone, but nothing. I can only come outside your house and leave you a message at the door. That is all I can do.

1999, April, 14th, Wednesday You are in a state of grace. Together all day, from 13.15 to 21.30.

1999, May, 29th I have woken up exhausted. I am suffering very much. You are increasingly "owned". There is no longer respect for the agreements. Other times it has happened that I came to pick you up at the kindergarten, that you jumped at my neck for the joy and that she forbade you to come home with me. Like yesterday, that was one of our Fridays. I do not want to get hot and maddened, I try to stay calm, waiting for all to calm down. I I do not want to get hot and maddened would not be able to describe to you the terrible sensations of injustice and helplessness I am experiencing now.

1999, June, 2nd, Wednesday From May, 5th, you no longer come to lunch at my place on the agreed days. I came in vain to take you home.

1999, June, 27th You have practically disappeared. Tomorrow you have surgery on your adenoids and I do not know where or when exactly. I feel humiliated to the point that I find it hard even to conceive that all this, so crazy and unreasonable, can actually happen. I am like paralyzed. And you are not well. This looks clear by watching the photos I take of you. And I do not want to go to the Court. I just do not want you to get involved.

1999, July 24th The last time I saw you

1999, August, 11th And unlike the last solar eclipse of the millennium, in which the star reappeared in all its light after having been covered by the moon, you have remained a black sun: I have no longer seen you shining near me. And I do not know anything about you.

December 1999 – December 2007

2006, December, 6th

Hi [...], it is daddy here. Today is a beautiful day. In truth it rains, but it is beautiful inside my heart [...] because it is your birthday, and I am happy about that. You turn eleven-years old today! I remember the day you were born as if it was yesterday, and also the night before you were born. Mom and I were really happy [...]. You and I have had three beautiful years togheter, then a rather difficult one, it was 1999 and we already saw each other very little, and certainly not because you and I wanted it to be so. In truth, together you and I were really fine. We played a lot, we read, we laughed, and we were always with the grandparents [...] and almost always with your cousin too [...]. almost always with your cousin too [...] Now time has passed and we have not seen each other for many years, is it not so? But you are in my most beautiful thoughts every day. I have written it to you many times, you know the thing I want most in the world is to be able to see you again, to listen to all the beautiful things of your life and to tell you many beautiful things about mine. There must certainly also have been less pleasant things during all this time, and if you want you can tell me all about them too. But please remember that in this wonderful life we must remember, above all, the happiest things. We can throw the bad things away. From the bad things we have learned much, it is true, they were certainly useful, but there is no need to keep them with le us because they can make us sad. We need happiness instead […] I do not know when we will meet again. If it were up to me alone I would have never stopped being near you. And if it were up to me, we could meet again tomorrow. [...] But we are patient, right my child? You, [...], are in my heart and I love you so much. And I hope you have been helped to not forget me. You certainly never wrote to me, as I asked you, but this is ok. You could start now, don’t you think? [...]

Whatever you need, as I have written to you many times, I am here for you. I have to go now […]. We will tell each other all the things we need to say when we will be able to meet again without anyone having anything against it. Meanwhile, I wish you many many many beautiful happy birthday wishes! I hold you tight.

N.B.: N.B.: Ah, […], I certainly have not forgotten the gift for you! As every year! But I prefer to keep it in my house, and one day I will give them to you all together. Gifts are to be delivered in person...

2008, June 17th The meeting, 9 years later

2008 – 2014

2008, September, 11th Hi [...], I hope you are well. I would have really liked to have written to you in this month and a half, to tell you about my huge emotions before, during, and after our meeting. After many years… [...] I wait for you. I wait for you Daddy

[...], 2008, December, 7th Happy Birthday […]!!! Today is your birthday and I think of you very much, as I do every year on this day. But this year I think of you even stronger... I love you. Daddy […] […]

[...], 2009, March, 23rd Hi […] how are you? I have been thinking of you a lot in these months. As you can see, what I told you when we finally met for the first time after a long time, that is your life would have practically not changed, has proven true. As I have done in all these long years, I look forward to having the chance to meet you and As I have done in all these long y talk again. Tonight as well as the other night I dreamt of you a lot, and then the other day was Father's Day. I want to tell you that March,19th, is a very significant and important day for me,

because I'm a father... as you know... It is also an unforgettable date. On March, 19th, 1999 it was rather cold. It was a Friday, therefore a day of the week when Mum and I had agreed that you would have spent the day with me. That day I came to pick you up from kindergarten, around one o'clock. Mum was also with us. You left the kindergarten wearing a colorful jacket that framed your Mum was also with us sweet face and blue eyes. You came close to me happy, it seemed you did not feel the cold at all, and suddenly, holding on to me, you asked me to go down on my knees so that, looking straight into my eyes, you recited the poem "For my Daddy" that you had learned by heart. Once you had finished reciting it, again with a sudden and visibly proud gesture you gave Once you had finished me a little stone that you had decorated and colored with your own hands. One day, if you want, I will tell you in detail what happened there, outside kindergarten, I remember everything perfectly and this memory, far from giving me nostalgia, always makes me happy that you are in my life. Even today, I keep those words that you recited to me and that stone as precious jewels of my heart, the memory of all this is very vivid and, please rest assured, it will continue to remain alive forever. The other day a couple of friends who you also know came to see me, so that they told me a little bit about you. It was nice to feel you close to me. Send my greetings to home. See you soon, […].

P.S .: I write to you once more my contact details, in case you ever needed something or wanted to talk: […]

[...], 2009, June, 1st Dearest […] last week I was in Istanbul, one of the most beautiful and poetic cities in the world, in Turkey, between Europe and Asia. As I was walking through the markets full of all goods, the mosques full of believers but empty of sacred images, the Catholic churches rich in sacred images and empty of believers; as I was crossing the oldest and poorest neighborhoods, made of wooden believers; as I was c houses and groups of poorly dressed, and barefoot, but happy children, who played on the street and competed to be photographed by me, and while I was in very rich spaces, during a wedding to which I was invited and where it seemed to be in an American soap opera... ... while I was in the midst of all this beauty of worlds so different from each other, I would .. have liked so much that you too could look at what I was seeing, that you were there with me. I hope you are well, that one day you would like to spend some time with me, your father, serenely, without fears that have no reason to exist. I brought you a little thing from Istanbul, which I hope you like and wear. I hug you. I love you. I love you Daddy […] […]

[…], 2010, June Hola daughter how are you? I am always here [...] just so you sometimes think about it... Any holidays planned? The school year is finishing, I think everything is okay, considering

that your first semester went well enough. I hope you liked the postcard that I sent to you from Cordoba, it was the most beautiful flamenco photo I have ever seen, the dancer in the foreground attracts the eye with her gesture and her beauty, how could I have not not thought of you ;-)??? In these lands […] the green is intense, the economic crisis makes itself felt [...] I always try In these lands […] the g to stimulate my fantasy and formal reserch […], to find new ways within oneself is always very exciting [...], to continuously keep discovering how to overcome one’s limits is mandatory in this society that changes so quickly [...]. Do you have something to tell me? [...] Just try to be wise and free in your thoughts, which you will always compare, in any case, at home and away from home together with the people you love and who have your esteem. [...], I hug you tightly (or I shake your hand, maybe you prefer it). [...] Daddy […]

[...] 2012, December, 22nd December, 7th, has been a special day for me, dedicated to you, like every year, and like every year I like to tell you “I hope you enjoyed it”. I wish you a Merry Christmas. Please accept this film, I hope you will like it, it is full of content, worldviews, narrative and figurative structures. worldviews A big hug. [...]

1995, December 7th at 1:50 pm 2013, December 7th [...] may this be a beautiful day for you That of 18 years ago was the happiest of my life Seeing you again, talking to you, photographing you [...] are my dreams, nightly and daydreams, from always Say yes Happy birthday

21.09.2015 06.10.2015

[...] Austria 2015, September, 21st

Hi […]. A few months ago you requested to change your surname and no longer use [...]. I know very well the genesis of this request. Obviously I have objected, although I know that your request would have be accepted, the Obviously I have objected jurisprudence is clear in this regard. You did it to affirm a will of yours, I did it to let you know mine once again: [...] So, now that you have got rid of this immense (it seems) weight of seven letters, you will certainly feel more serene. Formal acts such as this one that you have performed, however, do not serve to resolve the issues of life, except in appearance. You are only afraid of having to face a dark mystery in which you cannot see [...]. So you have preferred to give up your surname [...]: 17 years of request to convince your mother that we met, and 17 years of letters, postcards, photographs, gifts that I sent you home to let you know I was there, with no success. Maybe you wanted to change your surname precisely to [...]. Because, […], while you have been forced, without mine or yours will, to remove myself, I Because have always lived you and still live you as my daughter. There are formalities that are needed instead. [...] The reason why when we accidentally met you were violent or silent and you never wanted to meet me again, is well known. You have suffered so much that you have been forced to defend yourself with the means you had, from the outset, from when you were very little,

trying to get rid of me. Dramatically simple and common: your conduct is like that of many people who, as children, have suffered such emotional traumas that have had to face a part of life with this problem inside, until they have decided to solve it. And for this I have no responsibility. You have therefore made a choice without knowing or wanting to know who I am: […] During the marriage with your mother I was a coward, and for a long time I have regretted During the marriage with your mother I was a cowa it [...]. I had very bitter remorse for having made wrong assessments and for having acted following the advice of others more than listening to my heart [...]. With these limitations, however, I did everything I could to continue being your father. Today it is crystal clear that I should have knocked every day at the door of your house without fearing your mother, when you still loved me deeply as a small daughter loves her dad and to the point of getting sick for the distance. But the choice was between [...], or protecting yourself differently by waiting for the waters to calm down. I traveled this second route, which I di thought protected you the most, but time was an unbeatable opponent [...]. One of the results of this is that you know only a small part of reality. I have here spoken to a daughter who has became a woman and who can decide to open her eyes in order to look at life in its truth. [...] you may begin to consider the possibility of facing the situation in a different and positive way. I am a resource for you, a wealth, not a danger. I continue to be always here, for you [...], daughter. I continue to be always he I have no other means than these words. Give me more. Happy academic year.


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