A visit to Lucia Joyce, a short story by Aurora Bernardini
Atualizado: 14 de dez. de 2020
A Visit to Lucia Joyce, a short story by Aurora Bernardini*
That Lucia had entered the up to date asylum for strange people and said to his brother Giorgio: “ This is now my new home,”shocked me . How could a girl like her agree so pacifically to the abrupt closure of his liberty? I took with me the two books I intended to give her together with the music revolutionary keyboard I’d just received from Japan .
Giorgio was my husband’s best friend. They had studied at the same school in Trieste. The first time he was introduced to me I was impresssed by the bangs on his forehead he pushed back at any moment – kind of a boyish charm. But Giorgio, as Lucia, twas a gifted child. Owner of absolute pitch, good pianist himself, he surprised me when he made a perfect sculpture of Capovilla’s head. And he read a lot, a thing I was sorry my husband didn’t do. From time to time we enjoyed having long conversations about the books we read, about our plans for future... although -- Future has no future -- used to say Giorgio as I discovered his wit. Times passed by and our married life becoming more and more routine made , one day, Giorgio holding my hand longer than it was expected. I smiled friendly and withdrew it delicately. How was it feasible? I knew his wife, he knew my husband, more than that, he was my husband’s best friend. But, all along the years we lived not far from each other, we remained good friends.
Until the day he was abandoned by his wife and I heard from my daughter who is still visiting my ex-husband’s home that her father had deserted Giorgio. Deserted Giorgio? How could it be? He had been his life long best friend! “Why, mama, whwew are you? -- she said -- “things have changed a lot in Joyce family since Lucia has been sent to the asylum!”
I had made a point of visiting Lucia as frequently as I could, and here I am, one day, driving my Cinquecento in a neighborhood I still do not know very well and at a certain moment, hounded by a truck, I had to invade an island in the middle of the asphalt. The island was high and when the wheels of my car climbed on the island and I heard a suspicious grip squeak I decided to park the car and walk to the next bus stop.
I started walking to the place I was told there was the bus stop. I like to see foreshortenings of the city, small abusive views one would never notice, but there they were, visible through the branches of the old tree. They reminded me of the happy time when I was younger, when we were younger and the sun shone every day.
--Here I am --, said Lucia, who had unespectedly appeared near the bus station. --What a coincidence --, I said, completely bewildered: HAD SHE EVENTUALLY BEEN DISMISSED? OR HAS SHE ESCAPED FROM THE ASYLUM? -- I was desperately trying to take a taxi to go and visit you – said abruptly trying to conceal my surprise. Buses don’t work today, kind of standstill, I don’t know. To hide a little more my confusion I proposed to have a cup of coffee, yes, in a bar near the old tree. I gave her the books I’d brought and we delighted seeing the photos of new Japanese Architecture & Hermitages. -- I confess when I bought this book I misread the title and I thought it was something about Saint Petersburg --, said I, as naturally as I could. We both laughed.-- I have just read a poem by this poet --, said Lucia, paging the other book, it sounds like the sleepless night I had. Sueño insomne /Tanteo la noche y sus infiernos. Loza de dientes hechos polvos, pasos de sombra sin tregua, /destino sin albas,/mi destino.—How beautiful it is, Lucia! I didn’t know you spoke Spanish so well. – Not so well, do not exaggerate, we all do know a little Spanish, here,... a little of everything, and all ...not so well. I was going to congratulate her for the pun she had just made when he suddenly added – One of theses days I’ll go to Scoltland and see how my brother Giorgio is going up there.
I know Giorgio lived in Edinburgh but what worried me even more was Lucia saying she intended to go to Scotland. Is it possible she doesn’t know she now lives in the asylum, with nobody to take care of her poor health, no family ( I knew Nora never visited her), not anybody to care of her , after her various attemps of suicide? Would it be a reflection, a consequence of her sleepless night? I became completely mistrustful now and looking at my watch -- it’s so late -- I exclaimed.—I have to go and fix the dinner! Let’s call a taxi. We sat in the back seat of the car and I gave the driver the little card with the address. I didn’t want Lucia listening to my pronouncing anything like” home” or God forbid “healing house” or similar. As soon as we reached the gatehouse I told the doorman I had come to bring Ms.Joyce of apartment 18 back.-- I’m sorry --, considerately answered the doorman, -- Ms. Lucia Joyce died two days ago.
*Translator, writer and professor at São Paulo University, Brazil.