Goodbye, Prince of the waves

Our last farwell to Gioacchino Cataldo

by Rossella Canadè

It seems to me he still was there, sitting on the bench of Punta Lunga, looking at the seagulls, the hands caressing the cats. Sitting as on a throne.

It's unnatural, impossible, to think about Favignana without him, the last of the Rais, Gioacchino Cataldo, with the accent on i, not as Gaddafi one. He is a real prince of an island that he has always held in his heart.
"I left the island to work, I tried to build a life elsewhere, but really  I've always imagined my life here. I always knew I would come back here." 
For this sea, this red earth, the little houses on the asphalt tongue and the pebbles on the jetty, and for tuna.

To catch a tuna you must have eye, intelligence and then strength.With strength alone you do not win anything.

Gioacchino has made eleven Mattanza, each one saluted like a prayer. Devoted to a world that no longer exists, the piercing gazes, the handshakes stronger than any contract. The cult of the given word. The words... how many he has launched towards the sea, in a life as long as one hundred lives.

Wolf generous in lessons of life: "To catch a tuna you must have eye, intelligence and then strength.With strength alone you do not win anything." 
Who knows what was the last word he pronounced when he moved away from Punta Lunga to be cured. Those white walls were not good for him. That world without movement, without waves.
A world without cats or seagulls. A world where the new barbarians are not swallowed by the ferry belly in the evening, but they stay there, staring at you, a gruff giant with an immense heart. Telling you that outside your island there is another world, that you have not chosen.
A world harder than the stormy sea, the world that killed Giovanni Falcone two days before the May 24th Mattanza. The judge should have been on one of the boats that followed tuna fishing.

Fly high, prince of the waves. May the wings of the butterfly on the sea take you far away, where you can still watch sand and rocks, sea and seagulls.


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