Chapter #1

The gilt-head bream

My first memory is from November. My father and I were on the Giannella beach, the sand was crisp and grainy, the wind blowing over the sea. We were there to fish for gilt-head bream; we aimed to throw the rod out as far as we could. The bait, weighed down by lead, was supposed to touch down far away from the shore—at least 100 or 200 meters away from it—at that time, it was the best way of luring in those fish. Gilt-head bream are a type of fish that you couldn’t go after in the summer, perhaps because people bother them, or maybe because in the heat they stay further away from the shore, I don’t know. I remember that we never went back to fishing that way in autumn. That particular time, Ulisse was also with us—the lifeguard-bodybuilder who managed the stretch of beach used by the residence complex where we’d rent a vacation home each year. I don’t know why we stopped going; that day we caught a lot of fish. Many years have passed since—I wouldn’t know how many, precisely.

Chapter #2

Soccer

In the residence complex there was a soccer field—well, it wasn’t a real soccer field, not actually being big enough, but it was a nice field on the land. Childhood memories can sometimes be a little bit skewed, but I’d still say today that it was a then-rare type of “calciotto” (8v8 soccer) field, even perhaps a 7-person soccer field. One year, there were no goals, or more accurately, they were just so damaged that they had to be replaced. The second memory is of my father: with other vacationers, he built new wooden ones. The poles’ section was square, as is shown only in the archival photographs, those that depict soccer of another era, as it once was. Once the goals were built, they transported them to the field, to drill them in place unencumbered by the removal of the old ones. I’m not sure if I ever actually played on that field—it was too big for me. I would play ball in front of the house, on the driveway, using the low doorjambs of the gate of the garden in front of ours as the goals. The wooden planks of the doors served as nets and the game was just passing the ball back and forth between my brother, father and me, eventually landing it in the goal.  

Chapter #3

The blackberries

Between the residence complex and the beach, there was a highly trafficked street we couldn’t cross—we were also probably a little bit afraid of it. But on the other side, the territory around the complex reached all the way out to the lagoon. Before you got to the water, there were eucalypti—I remember the soothing, spiced scent. That part was abandoned, an unused extremity of the area; the plants were overgrown; no one took much care of that area. There were blackberry brambles. One afternoon I went with a large vase, intending to fill it up. Others had passed by before I had; the blackberries within a child’s reach were not so numerous and nor were they easy to pick, but the bramble seemed infinite and in a period so lengthy, in the way that only childhood summer afternoons can be, I managed to fill up the container with blackberries. I left it on the kitchen table. At that point I went away, and into the small gambling house-arcade where there were some videogames. I stayed there a few hours, already almost tasting the fruits that I’d eat upon my return. But once I got home the blackberries were no longer there—my sister had eaten them all.

Photo by: Hari Seldon