My teacher was used to say that history is never based on If or But... but I think that it's in human nature to think on the basis of those two prepositions. In case of romantic entanglements, especially.
How many times in our lives do we ask ourselves: What if?
And then how many times are we able to give a firm answer to this question, without considering any alternative to the very first come to our mind (this is the But, indeed)?
Just a couple of months ago, I've questioned myself about my past:
And if I'd not dismissed Susy, if I'd resisted, if I'd hold on?
I couldn't, actually. This is why I treated her like that, just because I could not do differently.
All these questions have come to me after our last phone call.
She has called me as I was falling asleep and pretending to read in my childish bedroom, at mum's house, during my eastern holidays.
She always calls me around midnight, when I'm slipping in Orfeo's territory, and this is why she keeps being a blur memory to me, a vague dream (last time I saw her was 2005).
You never want to talk to me. You've changed so much since we broke up, she has blamed me listening to my drowsy voice.
It's not true. I'd like to have a conversation with you like the old days, but I can't if you keep calling in the middle of the night...
It's midnight, Madi! Did you really become that old?!
I've hoisted myself to get sited. I've glanced at the notice-board where there's... there still was the photo of the two of us - young, embraced and smiling, our faces too full of white light. It's one of those photos taken in the automatic photo booth on subway platforms, which all teenagers in love have in their wallet.
Are you there? You want me to let you sleep?
I'm sorry. Yes... No, I'm listening.
Well, because I have great news for you.
I'm getting married in August.
I said: I'm getting married.
Yes, I've heard you.
Don't you say anything?
Are you pregnant?
No, I'm not. Even if my parents would love it.
So I've began to stare at the photo. I've slowly got up, pacing to the cork notice-board.
I'm happy for you, I've said, but probably I was lying because I was also angry with her.
I've picked off our photo.
And what if... What if I'd kept my promise and I'd married her in 2003?
I've shook my head.
I was jealous, but why? She was not mine anymore. I'm 35 and I'm gay now, I've thought.
I miss her. I miss our happy days. I miss her body. I even miss making love with her.
I miss all those things now, may be just because I'm sure I'll never get them back.
My teacher was right. Life is not made by If and But.
This is why I've dropped the photo in the If and But drawer of my childish desk. Everyone needs a drawer like that, I suppose.