Cosimo Pacciani
La City dei Tartari
30 Luglio Lug 2013 0123 29 luglio 2013

11 Short Stories for 11 Summer Hits. 2 Jellyfish Forest

'The time you spend watching the stars is never wasted, Damiano'. Maria whispered this solemn statements as a group of dutch tourists was walking up the seaside village's harbour towards their hotel. They were speaking their guttural and cranky form of German, sprinkled with a great amount of laughter and joy. The night was without moon and the Milky Way was a ribbon of celestial and creamy density around stars, planets and aircrafts. Silence ensued, their eyes stuck into a corner of that selection of infinities, until a light dimmed, brightly, sparkly. A falling star crossed the portion of sky between the North Cross and Vega. Maria went for a suspensive and high pitched 'wow' as Damiano sighted and jumped up. They heard someone from not far away getting a similarly loud reaction. 'You are never alone when you observe the sky'. Maria said 'and I think it is my turn to tell you a story. Did you ever hear the legend of the jellyfish forest?' Damiano brought up his quixotic expression and said that he never heard about this jellyfish stuff. Maria inspired air loudly, as it happens when you are laying down a hard surface and the lungs have a somewhat limited capacity to expand and started 'When I was a little girl, maybe five years old, my grandmother took me aside, in a night like this and she told me to follow her, through the village, up the church and out, into the fields. I was little and I could barely walk straight, but I was following my nana, as she was moving into this dark alley, surrounded by tall trees, with a grace that belongs only to nocturnal animals. When the path became too narrow and we started hearing the waves of the sea against the cliff, she hugged me and lifted me. I remember her as a little woman, but that night she was strong, able to take me on her arms, through a perilous creuza near the ocean. I was not scared, as I always trusted my grandmother to know what was right for me and my parents. Or so I believed up then, before discovering that, often, wisdom is only masked experience of other situations, in different conditions. I mean, would you trust your grandfather to drive a space shuttle, even if he was a good driver of sports cars? We believe age makes someone better at something. Well, she was good, whatever her age, at climbing rocks at night. We got to the top of the pine forest, close to the deserted southern shore, where the high pink-stone cliffs, deep waters and strong winds never enabled to build a harbour or even a shed. We finally sat down and she told me 'Dear Maria, this is the best kept secret of the village. Every year, in this night, something special happens and, as I don't know for how long I will be alive, I wanted to share this mysterious event with you. Not even your father or your grandfathers know about it. It is going to happen now'. We sat down into this bleak darkness and she told me to look at the sea. It went from pitch black to a phosphorescent glare. It was like something was happening deep inside the shore. After few minutes, the green and pink lights turned to be generated by single thousand, maybe million points of origin. Jellyfish, an army of disturbing vastity of jellyfish of any kind of colour and dimension, from the abyssal gigantic ones to the small and brighter ones. All gathering under the wild shore. From the top of the hill, looking down the pine trees, through their branches illuminated by this phantasmagoria of light, I started seeing what I am sure it was some form of optical illusion, but, you know, I will never be certain. It seemed like these sea creatures were flying outside of the water and climb everywhere, up the trees, around the branches and the trunks of those centennial pines and agave flowers. Like a 3D movie, I tried to touch one of the jellyfish and, as I turned my head, I saw my grandmother laughing, happy like a child, as if this was the main reason for her to live there, to be alive and to sustain months and months of hardship. Our village, during the winter months, is not precisely Las Vegas. She was standing there, her arms protruding towards the abyss, trying precisely like me to touch one of those ancient and silent beings. The light was so vivid, it was possible to see the rocks and the sea plants gripped to the shores and isolated and solitary big fish swimming unscathered through the sea of jelly. After nearly one hour of this display of what I would describe you a jellyfish dance, everything came to an abrupt halt. As quick as the green and pink light became apparent to our eyes, it was gone. From that chemical folly, it was again darkness and I was breathless. Like my grandmother. She smiled at me and she shushed me to silence, as if I had to take stock of that beauty, as if, sometimes in life, you need to keep stuff for yourself. Not everything is a tale to tell, you know. We walked back to the village and the funny thing was that nobody noticed our absence of nearly three hours. As if time was suspended, like magic.' Damiano gasped 'So, what happened next?' Maria sighted again 'My grandmother died after few weeks. During the days before her funeral, a ship sank in front of the southern shore, apparently filled with toxic barrels and waste from some powerstation up north. And when I came back the years after, nothing happened again. As if one of the prices to pay for the sinking of that poison boat was the end of that singular event. You are the first male of the village to know about it' 'What makes me so special?' Damiano asked Maria 'Nothing, but things change and even dogmas and secrets, even the inner mysteries of Gods may be disclosed in a different manner. Then, as the jellyfish forest ceased to appear, it is now legend and can be told'. Damiano felt the body heat of Maria close to his side and he asked her 'Was it supposed to happen tonight, your jellyfish gathering?' She answered gingerly 'No, two nights ago'. 'Did you go there?' 'Stop asking. For you, this is a legend. Then, do you really want to know? Ok, I need to go now. See you tomorrow night'. They parted, as quick as the jellyfish from the pine forest. Soundtrack Arctic Monkeys - Do I wanna know

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