Story of a Happy Thought

What if you were the last happy thought left?

I am the last happy thought. No others were born afterward. I came into the world by chance, as often happens to those like me. A Saturday morning, a bakery, a blond girl walking towards the exit with the shopping bag in one hand and the bread bag in the other. Dad holds the door open for her, she responds with a smile. Well, I am that smile.

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The Lighthouse Keeper

Everyone sees the light, but nobody sees me.

Today Leonardo comes home crying. When his father and mother hear what his school friend has told him, they understand that the day they have feared for a long time has come— the moment when they will have to start crushing his dreams. They speak to him, say that his friend is right; tell him I do not exist. But they are wrong.

I dream, therefore I am.

It is different every time, and tonight is not exception. Could unconscious minds ever be the same for everyone, after all? That’s where I live, confined in borderless worlds. Leonardo’s world, this time.

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The Maker of Crèches

Pray you don’t have to look.

“Open your eyes.”

The voice crawls in from the dark. It is little more than a whisper. I am still dazed; I can barely distinguish the words.

“Open your eyes.”

I am on my knees, bent forward, hands behind my back; they seem to be tied, and I can’t move them. Something is tight around my ankles too. My mouth hurts—my tongue retreats from the acrid taste of the taut fabric. A hand clamps the back of my neck and prevents me from falling to the side. The voice whispers again; I feel the breath against my left ear.

“Open your eyes.”

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Not Tonight

And you realise that your life could not have been any different.

I fear the night.
Thoughts coming to life in the dark.
Reality disguising itself as a dream. Or a nightmare.

“Another sleepless night?” asks Sara.

Marco does not answer and quickens his pace.

“You’re silent this time,” she continues, walking beside him. She looks up at the sky, and a flash of lightning reflects in her eyes; immediately, the rain falls.

Marco stops, turns, observes her.

“I thought you wanted more atmosphere,” she says.

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Private Paradise

Do you really believe Heaven is on a cloud?

Marco De Stefani. Supply chain specialist in an important engineering company in the Turin hinterland. Married to Paola, his love from his university days. Two sons: Pietro and Sofia, nine and seven years old. Nothing else to say, except that he was late again. The usual emergency at the office. Emergency: a term whose literal meaning, at least in the company where he worked, was substantially detached from the universally shared one. Who knows, sooner or later perhaps they would adapt the dictionaries as well, inserting a specific definition: “a term used in working environments directed by people without a life, to justify to themselves and their subordinates the continuation of work well beyond the established hours; by extension, equating any work practice – even better one of little added value – to saving lives.”

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Under the Big Oak Tree

Choose a moment in your life and rewind time.

“There it is!” exclaims Francesco, stopping in his tracks. Just behind him, Pietro stops and turns, following his gaze. At the northern tip of the park, an old wooden and cast-iron bench rests in the shade of the big oak tree.

“Are you ready?” asks Francesco, indulging in a bright smile that brings out every wrinkle on his face.

Pietro hangs the cane on his left forearm, takes off his glasses, pulls out a handkerchief from his trouser pocket, and cleans his lenses. “It looks like an ordinary bench to me,” he says, putting his handkerchief and glasses back in place. “An ordinary bench and also rather shabby,” he continues, arranging the grey fedora on his white hair with his right hand. “It’s semi-destroyed. There is only room left for one person to sit. It looks uncomfortable too.”

“You have to trust me,” replies Francesco. “You’re the first one I’ve talked to about it. I discovered it by chance, months ago. And I was afraid that maybe if I told others, the magic would fade away. But for you, my friend, I want to take the risk.” Francesco lowers his gaze to the ground, then raises it back towards Pietro. “Nothing lasts forever.”

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