Trick by Domenico Starnone (Translated from the Italian by Jhumpa Lahiri):
I closed my eyes, I opened them again. The lard was still there, thick with tiny living faces, overwhelming me with nausea. Aghast, I tried to get rid of the hallucination with other images, but I only managed to replace it with one that seemed immediately more threatening. I saw the main door that Mario would have to run to if one of the tenants from the first floor were to ring the bell. The vision was hyperrealistic, I pictured the brown sections of the door, the dark iron of the armor plating, the handle, the knob of the bolt. And I realized that even if the whole family had come: father, mother, Attilio, his brothers; even if they rang the bell with furious persistence; even if I were able to communicate with Mario and send him to the door, the child would never be capable of opening it, because I myself had closed up from the inside, to keep him from going back down to his friend’s place. Mario could only reach the brass knob of the bolt by climbing a ladder. But he’d never be able to carry it out of the closet, open it, set it down properly. And even if he were able to, what good would it do? The child’s hands wouldn’t be strong enough to make the two turns of the knob necessary to open up.
An endless moment passed. I’m worn out, I thought, I’m cold, it’s about to rain, I don’t want to die on the little balcony that I hate, it’s time to break something. And since I could think of no reason not to, I shifted the bucket to my right hand and struck the glass with whatever strength I had left. I expected the door to be reduced to a thousand shards, I tried to keep my distance so I wouldn’t get hurt. But the bucket sounded like a rubber ball against an obstacle and bounced back without damaging anything. I lost my wits and started to strike doggedly, one strike after the next, accompanied by shouts that seemed to rend my throat. Since this had no effect on the glass, I stopped, worn out completely. My wrist hurt and I rubbed it. Nonetheless I was about to proceed to kicks, but I remembered just in time that I was wearing slippers. I would have broken my bones while doing no damage to the glass door. I gave up.
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