I have been living in Rome for 6 years and I spent the lockdown in Rome, in a district of East Rome known in the newspapers for its night life, it is called Il Pigneto, it is a lively place, it is one of the few neighbourhoods in Rome with an extremely clear identity, a fast, creative DNA, full of sociability, of things to do, of conversation that come ‘from below’, and perhaps also of many contradictions, but it is a neighbourhood that I like and I have always considered home since I knew it.
I spent the quarantine in a first floor house with a large terrace with my roommate, my cat Ugo, I remember it perfectly still being in this room with my legs crossed on the bed, my neck and my back resting between the wall and the pillow
I remember very well the sunbaths on the condominium terrace necessary to warm the soul, to recover some vitamin D, to breathe, to feel a little freer, because the sun never enters my room, I remember that condominium terrace well, I remember it because I never went up there again.
If I think about smells, I clearly remember the cooking smell, which came in at any time of day and night, from the adjacent buildings, from the nearby houses, there was always someone cooking something different, something good, something that usually I never liked it, because I cooked for myself what I liked every day.
If I think about touch I actually remember the rough texture of the canvas when I passed the brushes over it, I remember touching my paintings for a long, long, long time, and I remember very much the fact that I missed being able to sleep with my man. I remember it so much, it was a lack and an absence that in many nights was almost a presence, being able to touch, kiss, feel the hand contact with someone, know, being able to breathe the smell of someone else’s skin, being able to discover oneself physically, allowing oneself an inner journey also through the other, it was a strong lack, such a strong absence that I really remember it more as a presence
From the lockdown, I remember the noise of chatting, the noise of glasses touching each other, of dishes in the sink, the noise of the phone vibrating vibrating vibrating every night for a call, for another call, for a crazy group on WhatsApp, but most of all I remember the silence, the silence that was in the streets.
One day I took a walk a little longer than usual, it was about 6 pm, and there was no one on the street, there was just me, but the lights of the buildings were all on and this told that it was not August, because even in August it happens to walk through the streets of a completely deserted Rome, it is beautiful because there are no parking lots, the windows of the houses are closed, there is no one in the city, instead that day in the city there was everyone, each at their home, and myself on the street walking alone. I remember that day very well and I think I will remember it for a long time, closing my eyes in this room, a very long time
I have no memories of the taste, except the taste of the beer and a bitter taste on certain nights, when everything was fine and then suddenly everything was bad.
From this pandemic, I certainly remember the imbalance, the suffering, a little the loneliness but I also clearly remember the most beautiful part of this pandemic which was the safety, the security of being at home, of being able to pay a rent, to pay for food, the security of having someone in the other room who was ready to welcome any word, any mood, any proposal, and the security that inside that house, inside that little world, perhaps for a moment there was everything you needed (5:47).
From this pandemic, I remember May 4th and the fucking fear of going out on the street in contact with people, in contact with strangers, in contact with anyone who could in some way alter that strange but also extremely beneficial microcosm.
In my perception of life, I don’t think there is another way to define this period other than with the word ‘suspended’, a small time bubble that made me think that everyone has remained in the right place to find what they had lost or perhaps only what they had forgotten.