This is a slightly abridged version of what I wrote in my online journal on September 13, 2001. Names have been altered for obvious privacy reasons.
it’s been a day where death flooded silently, intrusive and wrapping everything and everyone in an ill coldsweat feverish silence — mouths sealed for fear of being contaminated by its humid, foul breath / / / / /
I woke up this morning thanks to a telephonic messenger, an old schoolmate I haven’t heard from in ages, announcing that Walt had died — (two dear friends already killed by drugs and now this new, fresh death? death, death again?) — what gave death to my friend Walt was his genetic configuration, though: he was born with anomalies and dysfunctions of the liver and pancreas / / / / /
anyway. he was 28. the funeral and the whole atmosphere I was driven into, suddenly, this morning, was like a fist squeezing and keeping my heart hostage. there was silence. there was a sort of steel blue blade mincing the air in the church’s surroundings. I saw Silvia again, the girl I used to refer to as my old flame, whose eyes were even a darker blue than I remembered; her eyes were a Loch Ness. there was a general, dignified, bewilderment / / / I saw again many people who’d been for years enfolded in Oblivion’s archives; some I was pleased to see and recognise; some others were the ones who had hurt me so much — but resentment, this morning, was like an empty perfume bottle left open, its contents evaporated / /
but I didn’t see Peter. I asked Robert, casually.
he looked at me [as if I had been a hermit finally returning to society after inhabiting the lands of Nowhere and Nonews] and told me -
— Peter is in New York since last October, didn’t you know?
(my mind started running frantically, by now I was hearing only a few words)
— … absolutely no news about him or his girlfriend… yes, he started working there about three months ago…
/ / / everyone in Milan today was reading newspapers. in an unreal silence. colour photographs with frozen expressions of terror. and those scenes, again, in the muted tv screens in bars and pubs / / / and now was acknowledged the presence of the Mute Death. he had come like a thief in full daylight
(Some time later I learnt that my friend Peter had died in the World Trade Center that fatal day, and his girlfriend too. She had finally arrived in New York a few days before to spend some time with him, and on September 11, 2001 she apparently decided to go with him at his office at the World Trade Center building.)