When I was a kid my mother told me that the sky was a piece of cloth hung up by God, to dry. Most of the water would wither in the sun, but some of the droplets would crawl all the way down to the edge of the cloth, and there, just like a lover who meets his love after a lifetime of waiting, undecided where to start, there, the droplet would split into a billion pieces, and kiss the earth everywhere at the same time. And it would rain …
We are thrown out into the world like in a game which we have to play to discover the rules. First thing I discovered as a kid, was that I could decide what things were.
I could decide that water tastes like milk, and apples taste like bananas. So imagine how surprised were my parents when they saw me lick my fingers after eating that ugly mesh of boiled vegetables I always hated. It was the day when I discovered I could decide that everything tastes like chocolate. Happily for my teeth, I got sick of the chocolate taste after just one week. And then, I had a potatoes phase, a tuna fish phase, and one whole year where everything tasted like tomatoes with cottage cheese.
When I was in school, to make things easy, I decided that French and English are the same language, so I had to learn only one. I decided that Physics was the night dream of people who liked to wear white coats, and the only true science was that of the keys pressed on my keyboard, where I could decide what everything was.
Many years passed but that’s a story for another time. Fast forward to January 2020. I was in front of Duomo di Milano, in an open plaza, with doves flying tourists under the sky blue, and rocks crawling up and down buildings competing to see their king, the high tower of the church. And I, I was in this beautiful game where I could decide anything, and I was sad. And I couldn’t understand why…
My sadness grew strong. I felt like I was fading, disintegrating,
As if I’ve grown a million eyes,
To watch the present,
And live forever in the now.
I watch it all,
My day, my night,
A tireless big brother.
For every single thing,
That goes under the sun.
Must have some meaning,
I’m keeping now a record,
Of the facts.
That I myself forget,
For the next day,
It’s all anew.
I spent that whole afternoon, under Duomo di Milano, following the passers-by as they walked, and wishing them to be happy. But somehow, accepting that I wasn’t the only one who could decide things, that anyone could make the rules of the game, didn’t make me happier. The sadness was still there, deeper and thicker. And then, all of a sudden, I knew why I was sad …I had no idea what apples taste like.
I mean, I have had apples my entire life. But every time I ate them they tasted like something else. I wanted to know what apples really taste like.
It was February 2020 when I called my mom, and asked her what do apples taste like ?
On the phone, she reminded me that the sky was a piece of cloth hung up by God, to dry. Most of the water would wither in the sun, but some of the droplets would crawl all the way to the edge of the cloth, and there, just like a lover who meets his love after waiting a lifetime, undecided where to start, there, the droplet would split in a billion pieces and kiss the earth everywhere at the same time. The droplet never knew that the earth cheated on it so many times, and the earth would always forget. So every tree, and every apple was the fruit of a new love. And for some reason every time God hanged his cloth for drying, it was another one, the sky was never the same as the one before. At the end, my mother warned me, with the words of William Blake – “If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite.”
With that thought in my mind, I thanked my mom and went to Albert Heijn and fit in as many apples as I could fit in one of those big bags. I really wanted to taste infinity. It was February 2020.
I got home, closed my eyes, and bit into the first apple. It felt like it was the beginning of spring, the grass was hard, and the grass was not sure yet what color it will have. I looked around, and I found myself in this labyrinth, pressing hard against stone walls. My sweat smelled like mint. I pressed for hours until I reached the middle of the labyrinth, and there, in the middle of it, there was a little bird chirping. I let the bird live, and then, keeping my eyes closed, I picked up the second apple.
It was like a castle red with stones. In every room, molecules were dancing a different dance. It took me a long time to find the big hall of the castle. In the center was the biggest disc of solid light I’ve ever seen, surrounded by 8 black holes, that contained everything that was, and everything that will be. I was getting closer and closer to them, drawn by their power and then …
I opened my eyes. The phone was ringing. I had 652 missed calls. The year was 2021, a whole year has passed. Apparently, everyone has been locked in their houses for an entire year. No one could understand why I didn’t answer the phone. No one could understand how I spent my whole 2020 biting through two apples.
I was afraid that if I dig into a third apple, I will miss so many precious years … There was only one way out … I had to decide once and for all what the taste of apples was.