Molts escriptors escriuen amb el cap; uns quants ho fan amb el cor; i després, hi ha quatre marginats que escriuen amb els budells. Entre aquests, Fante és el millor.



At a quarter to five his misery had spent itself. The room was almost completely dark. He pulled his sleeve across his nose and felt a contentment rising in his heart, a good feeling, a restfulness that made the next fifteen minutes a mere nothing. He wanted to turn on the lights, but Rosa’s house was beyond the empty lot across the street, and the school windows were visible from her back porch. She might see the light burning, and that would remind her that he was still in the classroom.

Rosa, his girl. She hated him, but she was his girl. Did she know that he loved her? Was that why she hated him? Could she see the mysterious things that went on inside him, and was that why she laughed at him? He crossed to the window and saw the light in the kitchen of Rosa’s house. Somewhere under that light Rosa walked and breathed. Perhaps she was studying her lessons now, for Rosa was very studious and got the best grades in class.

Turning from the window, he moved to her desk. It was like no other in that room: it was cleaner, more girlish, the surface brighter and more varnished. He sat in her seat and the sensation thrilled him. His hands groped over the wood, inside the little shelf where she kept her books. His fingers found a pencil. He examined it closely: it was faintly marked with the imprint of Rosa’s teeth. He kissed it. He kissed the books he found there, all of them so neatly bound with clean-smelling white oilcloth.

At five o’clock, his senses reeling with love and Rosa, Rosa, Rosa pouring from his lips, he walked down the stairs and into the winter evening. St Catherine’s Church was directly next to the school. Rosa, I love you!

In a trance he walked down the gloom-shrouded middle aisle, the holy water still cold on the tips of his fingers and forehead, his feet echoing in the choir, the smell of incense, the smell of a thousand funerals and a thousand baptisms, the sweet odor of death and the tart odor of the living mingled in his nostrils, the hushed gasp of burning candles, the echo of himself walking on tiptoe down and down the long aisle, and in his heart, Rosa.

He knelt before the Blessed Sacrament and tried to pray as he had been told, but his mind shimmered and floated with the reverie of her name, and all at once he realized he was committing a sin, a great and horrible sin there in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, for he was thinking of Rosa evilly, thinking of her in a way that the catechism forbade. He squeezed his eyes tightly and tried to blot out the evil, but it returned stronger, and now his mind turned over the scene of unparalleled sinfulness, something he had never thought of before in his whole life, and he was gasping not only at the horror of his soul in the sight of God, but at the startling ecstasy of that new thought. He could not bear it. He might die for this: God might strike him dead instantly. He got up, blessed himself, and fled, running out of the church, terrified, the sinful thought coming after him as if on wings. Even as he reached the freezing street, he wondered that he had ever made it alive, for the flight down that long aisle over which so many dead had been wheeled seemed endless. There was no trace of the evil thought in his mind once he reached the street and saw the evening’s first stars. It was too cold for that. In a moment he was shivering, for though he wore three sweaters he possessed no mackinaw or gloves, and he slapped his hands to keep them warm. It was a block out of his way, but he wanted to pass Rosa’s house. The Pinelli bungalow nestled beneath cottonwoods, thirty yards from the sidewalk. The blinds over the two front windows were down. Standing in the front path with his arms crossed and his hands squeezed under his armpits to keep them warm, he watched for a sign of Rosa, her silhouette as she crossed the line of vision through the window. He stamped his feet, his breath spouting white clouds. No Rosa. Then in the deep snow off the path his cold face bent to study the small footprint of a girl. Rosa’s – who’s else but Rosa, in this yard. His cold fingers grubbed the snow from around the print, and with both hands he scooped it up and carried it away with him down the street …

John Fante, 1938