Letter No. 1

Remo Gramigna is a doctoral student of semiotics and the runner-up for the UT Student Journalist Contests in 2011 and 2010 (the contest winner in 2009!). This is his contest entry, which won the public vote last year. 

Remo in Calabria

In Calabria (Italy), in the city of Scalea some weeks ago.

Yes. I have been waiting for this moment. How many times have I found myself sitting in this very same place holding a pen and writing about ways of being, feelings, emotions and so forth? Countless times. This time I have a hard endeavour, the hardest task: describing beauty and happiness. I’m not that good at it. I almost always dwell on the other side of the fence, where writing becomes a comforting friend to handle woe. I will perform my task with a letter, with a language that is not my own. I shall write it to make it resound as a ringing bell, to be heard from a great distance, to be read from abroad. I shall write it by hand for it shall trace the pulse of my veins, the tension of my nerves, and the movements of my bones. May it trace them like a pencil that sketches portraits. That it may bring them to you at this very moment is my present. That is your present. My present, right now, is the long-awaited moment. This moment. This letter contains it, like two hands holding water. And it shall resonate in the universe for it is my word to you.

My trip has been a long-lasting agony and I am still between two worlds, two countries, in between the darkness and the light, the snow and the rain. An unpleasant headache was the first sign of a bad day coming. For a moment or two I seriously doubted getting out and catching that flight. I was hesitating. I stole some porridge from my housemate to fill my empty stomach. Outside it was still dark. Somehow I was running late. I had to rush. The bus was busy and hot. I fell asleep sitting next to an unknown sleepy girl. At the airport my flight was late. Dammit! Smoking is by far the best way to kill time if you’re alone waiting for a flight. With the roaring sound of the airplane’s engines, I slept again and sounds, images, and flashbacks all blurred in my mind like a surrealistic painting. My tiredness slightly decreased. The first sound I heard while walking in the Tallinn airport was silence. The restless flow of suited men and dressed-up women in loud and busy Italian airports was here transformed in a harmonious and silent waltz of tall-slim-blondish figures. I suddenly lose my mother tongue. Estrangement makes you feel the differences. I smile at my iPod. Signs of joy. Back in Tartu I found some rain, a warm soup, a bed and people I love. Seen from here, my own country is a weird world to which I don’t belong anymore. I see my roots there. The past. Everything has changed while remaining the same. My life is somewhere else. The places I have lived. The people I have met. There, is my life. In between two lives and two worlds I feel like portraying beauty to the blind.

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