Without net

by Antonella Berni

The skirts of the two women undulated in the damp at the end of the day. The scent of wild fennel was palpable, carried by the sultry wind.

I warn you, I'll play badly. My right wrist hurts, this arthritis is killing me ...

Do not look for excuses before you started, she answered as she looked where she put her feet. The scrubs covered the path and she was afraid that at any moment she could pop out some animal, you know, a snake, just to name one. One could never know what was in that nature.

When she arrived at the hotel, she was left out of the reception to make a phone call, she did not take inside. Then he had seen a cat post something under a tree. So, while he waited for someone on the other end to answer, he had seen a small mouse peeking out of the hole at the base of the trunk and the cat, zac! quick to give him a paw. The cat had begun to slam the mouse from one leg to the other. He seemed more amused than willing to kill him and that, as often happens to the victims, he did not react. He stood still, not trying to escape, as if he already knew that his attacker had a strategy that he could not escape. It was not worth it, to try to escape. At least he would have died because caught by surprise and not by the inability to escape his elective predator in the biology chain.

Ready? It was impatient. She had turned away because the cat had finally bitten the mouse by the collar. Perhaps he wore it in "his" little corner, like real predators. Ready ... Exasperated she entered inside.

But here there is no net. It was not a question.

A gust raised the skirts and hair, making them symmetrical in a diagonal desired by the wind.

Madam must go to the pine forest to call. They put the repeater on the mountain back there, the rich, fat girl at the reception had said, with the tone of someone talking to a stubborn girl.

I'll call later, now I'm going to do two tennis courts. I've been traveling all day and I need to stretch. The girl had continued to look at the computer, disinterested in her program.

But have you seen this place? They were still down the path that led to the tennis court.

She did not answer. He did not want to tell her that this place looked like a woman who had aged badly, with varicose veins and dull skin.

Yes I know. It is like the fisherman who one day goes out on the boat with his family and meets many fish. But that day is without net.

A gust raised the skirts and hair, making them symmetrical in a diagonal desired by the wind.

We hope the balls will not fly away.

The other day I watched a documentary. In a place I do not remember, in the Middle East, acrobats and jugglers gather for a festival, like in a big circus. Tightrope walkers and tightrope walkers defy themselves in a noble manner, making absurd, dangerous numbers. All without a network.

And how is it that you think of this now?

She did not know what to answer, she thought for a moment.

Gray clouds had gathered on the edge of the sky just where the sun was about to jump into the sea. There was a dark glow, like a red light bulb behind a black cloth.

We hope it does not rain rather.

They stopped in unison, as if an invisible obstacle kept them from moving forward.

They remained silent, looking into the void, while the wind, wet with damp, disturbed their foliage, insensitive to the scents of the sunset.

It almost seemed as if the beating of the heart would cross the barrier of her ribs and join the rustling of the dried plants. Two completely different sounds. The one defined and constant, muffled. Left. The other confused and sibilant, discontinuous. Lively.

Even a minute can seem like an eternity. She moved first. She scratched her ankle with her racket without looking away from the tennis court, useless. Without net.


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