Some Christmas tales: ode to the people I know and I like.
And, by the way, I realized I might have a slightly alcohol problem.
Morning of the 23rd. Big day. I managed, after many months of phone calls and emails to invite my "not so local" friends.
My best "fucking miles away" friends. Alessia, Mauro, Gualtiero. And, for the sake of the old times, even the man known as Lord V, Mattia. My original plan was to invite even more people but they all found nice excuses not to come. Well, how to blame them?
You see, many years ago I thought that I could never get lonely. From time to time I tried to stop the system before it gets me down (I know, it's a sentence stolen from a song).
And I cut many of my connections, isolated myself, try to forget faces and names. This was around 2000, not too long after I left the army. I rebuilt a respectable life working in the daylight in Milan in a web agency and the evenings in the Texas Town pub. After many years of doing fuck all (the university period) I decided to change and that was it.
Then, once in London, as long as I was busy I was damn happy. I didn't have time to stop in the present (I had to plan my damn future) and the past seemed past and forgotten. New place, new football team, new friends. It sounds like a really good story. Well, it is, and not because of me (I'm the bastard one).
Then I got a letter, a random proper letter on a piece of proper paper. Then, since the Christmas of 2001 the memories got back to me, maybe not all in once, but I could see some pictures and clearly remember the laughs, the smell of alcohol, and the long travels to the North East to stay with these special friends.
They contacted me. Via internet, even on the phone. I tried to stay cool and I did it so well that for a while they thought I was some sort of a bastard (I am, but for another reasons). So every time I was back in Italy I spent time with my everlasting friends with whom I went to school and I played football and I watched the first porn (porn connects).
Even if I wanted I couldn't get rid of them (and I wouldn't do it anyway). Every time I was back in Italy they were in every corner, in every memory of my original place.
The bunch from the Veneto (North East) was easier to remove. There is no school that reminds me of them. Or football pitches. Or porn video (no porn when you hang around with girls..). All the locations were 300km from me. No chances of seeing them again. Friends from that weird period between the end of being a fuck all student and the start of being a professional fuck all.
But hey, life is weird. And so we got in touch again. A letter, some emails, another letter, some chat sessions online. I even spent some time with each of them in London and I met Alessia at least twice in the last 4 years, in Italy.
But I never managed to see them all together, again, on my table. Fortunately, this time everything worked up just fine.
Gualtiero now lives in Milan, following a career in journalism. So he arrived in Canegrate (that is the crap name - dog in a cell - of my town) before anyone else. Lucky man, he could start drink with me and my dog while we were waiting for the others.
They all arrived maybe one hour later, just in time to start drinking and eating. It was weird. Back then we used to call each other by nicknames. I was Durnik for example. And sometimes someone still used the old nicknames, now just empty shells of the Meister that never was.
Alcohol helped soon reach the point of "Hey, remember when?" "Fuck yeah! He was so fucking trashed" etc... My dad, who enjoys the company of youngsters more than the company of people his own age ("There is no energy left in them") sat with us to drink and celebrate something he probably couldn't understand. He showed off the amazing manger he did (how could he with those massive fingers? A work of fine art!) and then he said goodbye to go and relax and leave us alone.
The dog burped, I remember. A proper burp.
Obviously we soon moved to the Texas, when my sister was ready for me. In no time a table was ready in the crowded place, and Nicola (the fantastic owner) gave us the warmth welcome we all wanted and hoped for (well, I was).
The lovely Cristina (long time waitress with my sister) gave us drink and we never stopped drinking for a single minute. Only the sissy Mauro gave up, and my sister kept giving him juice fruits with exotic names "a bit too strong for me" with no alcohol.
Giuseppe, crashed from the night before (he had a big part too) joined us for a free (Meister's paying) drinking session. It was his birthday. Long life my best assist man ever (10 years ago he played football with me. He was running and doing the hard work, I was just scoring from his assists).
At the end of the evening I even managed to drive them safely home. For a moment I thought I forgot my liver in the pub. But it was still with me.