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» Preludes to Lutin
Street corner to the cross
He had pitched a tent in an unattended garden, what left wild around the ruins of the ancient cemetery of that disowned province, hidden to the most, because it did not appear even in international tourist guides.
It rose too much near well-known cities acclaimed by everyone like real pearls of wealth and culture. He sought an ancient crucifix, unique in its kind, a sort of nearly smiling and asleep Christ, to repaint it his own way, as he already did with his preferred comic strips and the famous pictures that had upset his life.
Violent emotions, confusion between sky and earth, a special oasis opened in front of him and captured him completely.
Capable he was seriously, Manolo, able to do and undo quickly elegant creations, with clean stroke, already virtually marked in some place within himself. Like a gift delivered in his hands by Spanish fathers without hard work, neither particular sacrifices, a true luck for him.
He started very young and already many noticed him, but not everyone liked him, indeed. Someone hated him openly, believing him little respectful in his special ravings of the masterpieces of the past.
He could make with the comic strips or his weird elucubrations, but it was not acceptable to see deforming classical works, considered the perfection itself.
Due to his skill he had easy orders, but then there were the ones who got angry to death of his job and did not want to pay it.
It did not matter up too much to him, since those were the days in which he chased his masterpieces on ancestors’ tracks loved like beautiful women.
In that so bare place, between people a little wretched, disjointed by their own origins, Manolo sought the purity of a powerful feature.
He stayed some days dangling between garden and cemetery, without going away more than little steps from his tent, like in wait.
It did not rain from weeks and the vegetation seemed to implore together with him a celestial gift, a signal from the smooth and total blue that gilded only in the evening between intense smells of burnt.
At last he decided to enter into the decrepit church of the cemetery that had a hole just under the bell tower and a wall collapsed almost completely.
It was not understood how the remaining walls had resisted, gangrened in their fight against the time.
The crucifix waited for Manolo below there, in a darkness cleared from behind, from an only red beam in the warmest hour of the day, when cicadas tried in their way to confuse the nature of the things.
He wanted to stay a long time alone to hear that fixed uproar with the silence of the dead around, he, therefore strong-willed, uncontrollable and corporal.
And he wanted more than any other thing to capture the carefree sleep of the Christ, therefore sure to awake soon towards the fresh Easter dawn, to seem that were taking a nap under the effect of the variable spring climate.
At his side other shy little figures slept calmly. He had not endured, his body was magnificently young, intact, therefore he had never been killed. A body without bleeding wounds, like some warrior of the comic strips, whose hurts are healed hurriedly, to hide with chastity the weak points in the ardor of the fight.
Cicadas started their soundtrack at a so precise time to make think to a big pendulum clock, hidden by someone between the leaves of the plane trees.
Manolo adored warmth, because it made drowsy spirit and body in an only ecstatic totality, just like at birth and death, like in love at the top of the feeling.
Manolo circumspect entered into the church, approaching himself slowly the silent Christ. Imagination ran away wild for the too much sultriness and resembled at sight of a tree branch blinking against the sun to an high window.
The smaller bell rang moved by the wind. The large one perhaps never had rung since it had been put up there.
The painter sat comfortable in front of the cross and began to paint a spouse who dressed up malicious, slowly, as he had to fix something not properly physical.
He imagined a shadow passing on lenses of his round eyeglasses. A bug, a leaf, who knows.
Christ was more and more absent, like an onlooker who does not want to be such. It was no more the one of the day before, it was dumb to the heart of the artist, disfigured by the human presence.
He imagined a statue of a woman that started to walk with him in the night. Then a cloud that as whipped cream was put down on her graceful head.
The landscape darkened every religious feeling, leaving in background the cemetery and in foreground the wild garden. Manolo understood that was the gift of the master of the crucifix.