It was a Tuesday night. My five and a half year son is – exceptionally at this hour – sleeping in his bed. An unusually quiet night. My wife’s out for dinner with a colleague. I’m aimlessly watching my fireside, feeding it with wood and skipping through emails in my computer hoping for no more work stuff to come in. It’s 9,40 p.m when an email from Dr. D comes in. I freeze with panic and throb with anxiety.

Dear Piero,

Please forward a contact number to me on 003538XXXXXXX. It is important.
Best wishes

It takes me a while to send the SMS. I do not know my landline number anymore, who uses a landline these days, anyway? Dr. D calls me almost straight away. There is news, unfortunate news.

I had not heard from Dr. D since early 2015, exactly two years ago, when he had put what I had thought to be the final line on my relationship with my daughter Alicia. There was no relationship, not for the times being. Not for me and Alicia. You’d better take a step back or two, he wrote, she’ll grow up and see things in a more independent way. She’ll focus. They all do.

Alicia’s mother has attempted to kill herself trying to slash her wrists. Apparently, Alicia and her two twin brothers found her lying on the kitchen floor. I do panic. I’m totally in a bubble where I can see nothing. My head bursts into a million thoughts: what is it going to be now, what I am supposed to do, what can I do from here. He cannot say more than he already has. Alicia’s aunt, C., has given him just a bunch of confused list of event and she is going to call me as soon as she gets home.

Then he kindly said goodbye. And be strong. And try to make out what to do, if come over and see things yourself the way they are. Try to re-enter your daughter’s life.

The house is silent except for the sound of the dying fire, murmuring in the background. I pour myself a tiny glass of whiskey. The telephone, loaded with more news, a more confused heap of events, rang. I take a deep breath. “Hello, C., how are you?”


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