My Brilliant Friend

“My father held tight to my hand as if he were afraid that I would slip away. In fact I had the wish to leave him, run, move, cross the street, be struck by the brilliant scales of the sea. At that tremendous moment, full of light and sound, I pretended I was alone in the newness of the city, new myself with all life ahead, exposed to the mutable fury of things but surely triumphant: I, I and Lila, we two with that capacity that together–only together–we had to seize the mass of colors, sounds, things, and people, and express it and give it power.”

“When she saw on her brother’s face a small smile that was amused and at the same time tormented, when she caught his worried gaze on his father’s face, it seemed to her she had the confirmation of what had frightened her on the terrace, amid the smoke and the fireworks: Rino had lost his usual outline, she now had a brother without boundaries, from whom something irreparable might emerge. In that smile, in that gaze she saw something unbearably wretched, the more unbearable the more she loved her brother, and felt the need to stay beside him to help him and be helped.”

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