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Traduzione di Sebastian Petretti.
That was by far the darkest night my eyes have ever seen. Never have I witnessed so much pitch black all at once. The plane was next to land, yet it felt impossible to understand whether all that nothingness under me was water or soil. No lights, nothing whatsoever. Must be water. It was land. The blinding lights from the airport shook me in my seat, it felt somewhat unpleasant to have to deal with so much light all at once. This didn’t take long, once the bus to Tbilisi left the main street, darkness fell upon everything once again. My eyes got used to the absence of light once again, and in that moment, I realised I was in the very middle of the darkness I could see from above. Not a light, not a single house, not even a car driving by nothing at all. We were driving through a thick, heavy, black nothingness, briefly interrupted by the bus and its lights. The only thing I could grasp from outside was desolation. Few houses were visible and from what could be seen it was clear they were collapsing. The road, which was totally unkept, managed to keep me awake in an oneiric situation. There, for the first time in my life, I saw what poverty looked like.
Despair, inside and out. I was scared, amused, amazed, and definitely a little bit panicking. In these “out of the comfort zone” situations, I would start running as someone was chasing me. I was feeling the same way I felt when I started frantically to run for hours in the woods, as if the Devil itself was following me. But this time I couldn’t, this time I was sitting on a bus in the middle of nowhere. I guess I’ll wait. Morricone’s Extasy of Gold felt like everywhere around me while the power sockets between my legs under the seat were weirdly buzzing. All at once, as before, light. Zestafoni. In Zestafoni the only things that felt recognisable were a smokey factory, with a chimney cigar-shaped, and a head, clearly of a former socialist hero. The bare minimum time to grasp what the eyes were seeing and all of a sudden, as before, darkness. Fog-like, it covered everything. An epiphany. I could not go back. You can never go back once the trip has started, the only true way of truly surviving was to finish what has been started. Light again. Finally, Tbilisi. Four very long hours after. Jvari’s monastery was waiting for me on top of the mountain, shining as bright as Venus could shine. The hero’s head came to my mind instantly, the one I glanced at in Zestafoni. The darkness seemed less aggressive around the statue, as if it was less black for some reason.
Finally managing to enter the city felt weird. Kitschy lights all over buildings. Shops, bookies, a police station, residential houses. Red, blue, white and red neons couldn’t win the weight of what seemed far, but was just above my head, darkness. The bus was early, so I got there too early for the hostel to be open already. It’s 4 a.m. No idea where to go or what to do. Lights could be seen from afar, but not knowing how the city was and considered the close to zero temperature I couldn’t push myself to seek for Liberty Square, where a golden Saint George stands tall where once Lenin was. From where I was, I could not understand if the statue was glowing from the inside or a beautiful light effect gave that impression. The only living beings around were some stray, limping dogs. Above me, far away, Kartlis Deda. Above it, stoically stood Sameba. The fog could barely cover these amazing buildings, and with a bit of patience I managed to see the Parliament as well. In a chess game, equal forces collide. Here, lights brightened very precisely some buildings, like soldiers who fight for ideology against religion and clearly, vice versa. Someone could say a Nation against God itself. Someone would say there is no war at all between these two forces, some people see a coalition.
The fog would not dare to move, as the temperature, still close to zero. Everything around me looked still, as if it was cold as I was. The last thing I ate was around a day ago, which didn’t help me when I thought climbing the hill to the Cathedral was a good idea. It wasn’t, so I decided to wait on the hostel’s steps. Such bloody freezing steps. Waiting for dawn to reveal the sun, I stared in awe at the Cathedral. Italian balconies (no one ever seen such balconies in Italy) covered the house’s facades with red, green, blue or yellow lights, all to aid a dream-like experience together with the fog and the Georgian alphabet on some signs, which obviously I couldn’t read. From a window, a man was trying to warm up a bit by lighting a fire in a barrel. I have never desired something more than some heat right now.
The sun rose late, and even if I was eagerly waiting for a sun ray to hit me like nothing else on this world, the light didn’t feel aggressive, or sudden; instead, it slowly waited for the fog to thin out and lied itself on the world. No red or purple colours for a spectacular dawn, nothing whatsoever. People started waking up, cars, animals. Shops were opening, taxis started jamming the road and finally the hostel opened its doors. I was starving, freezing and a bit disoriented, but the sun rose once again. Finally.