lunedì 2 dicembre 2013


Chico. I met Chico back in 1980. At the time he sold windsurfs, besides being a champion of this discipline. We agreed on the price (on the phone I understood he wasn’t naïve, albeit being very young). He came to Mantova, my town, to deliver the board, and when I saw the white van I knew it was him. Out came a blond, tall, tanned hunk swanking and swaggering like a mountain boy, a strange sight in my flat hometown. He was my same age and we found immediately some common ground. I invited him to stay for lunch with the promise of delicious specialties of my hometown: we ate “risotto alla pilota” with sausage and pork ribs, and I think he appreciated it, since he wiped the plate clean. We said goodbye promising to keep in touch, which we didn’t do, mainly because he was very busy around Italy (at the time he took part, and won, a competition bringing competitors in the most beautiful Italian spots to promote this still largely unknown sport). Also thanks to Chico the passion for windsurf grew in me. In the morning, as soon as I woke up I opened the shades of my room, hoping to see some movement in the tree leaves in the Te park, usually motionless like Paul Cézanne’s best still life. Luckily the summer always brought some storms in Mantova, allowing us some great time on the board. I transformed myself in an expert weatherman. Our performances took place at “Cano”, Canottieri Mincio for out-of-towners, a multisport structure on the lake Superiore, one of the three lakes surrounding our splendid town. The lakes receive water from the Mincio river, coming from lake of Garda, that finds along its course many pig farms, dairy factories and other factories, all too happy (today it’s not the case anymore) to pour their waste in the river. This helped us in our training, since we were forced to learn to turn and jibe (to find our way around dead animals), to avoid falling (the water was putrid) and to slalom (to avoid lotus flowers). My friend Mauro and I decided it was time to build a board ourselves. We started looking for a place to do it, and we found it in an annex of the wonderful Riva Berni villa (it might remind you, Seba, of great parties and perhaps unspeakable love memories, but to me it evokes hard-to-shape polystyrene, fiberglass clothes that were impossible to apply, unforgettable resin smells). We must have been influenced by the character of Bear in “Big Wednesday”, the movie that marked for me the transition from teenage to adult years. Only twenty years later when a common friend, Tito, who knew Chico better, invited me to a fundraiser in a club on the way to Bondone mountain, I discovered Chico’s absurd situation. Many years have gone by since the encounter with that blond boy, but never before did I feel as close to him as I do now, maybe because we’re both prisoners. Chico behind the bars of a maximum security penitentiary, while I’m trapped in a motionless body. We’re both innocent but we’ve both been condemned for something we don’t understand. But we both Believe. We believe we’ll be able to escape this enslavement, we believe we don’t deserve the hell we’re living through, we believe we’re lucky to have many friends we can count upon, which for us is an essential source of nourishment. You all give us the strength to keep on hoping in the miracle called Freedom. Or Life. It doesn’t matter which, in our situation. P.S. For those who don’t know Chico Forti, more information to be found here: For those who don’t know my situation, check my blog for more information: Last but not least: this year, instead of asking for perfectly useless presents, make a gift to those who need it most. You’ll feed great inside. On Chico’s website you’ll find all the information to contribute to his cause. Or else, go here... Thanks to Adriana for the suggestion.

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