The stick and the oar

Life is done above all of a mix of dreams and reality, with which we face our destiny at every awakening, half aware of present life and half still brimming with the oneiric messages received sleeping, with the words we help us to carry on our way while with the voice we try to communicate our moods to the others. This is the vision that also had the ancients:  they imagined words as an aid to cross this earthly experience, something where to lean during the way,  on which to rely to test the road…for this ground words in the hieroglyphs were shown with a ideogram representing a stick. Just because words can be used also in  not appropriated way,  they can hurt, they are a double-edge weapon…people should know how to use them, you can lean to them, rely on them to advance but they are always something of which is more prudent to fear.

                                                                      Masai Mara

The symbol of the knotty stick expresses in the best way the meaning that the ancients put in it: waved from the handle it could serve as support but also as defence inspiring respect in the neighbour. Even today in Kenia among the Masai, ethnos of Nilotic origin, people are subjected to the ritual of the stick: in front of the chief of the village, the Papa San, you must bow your bust as an act of obedience and this, waving a knotty stick,  will have it passing before our head as a club….before letting us going into his area! The stick is the law…by us the law are the words…

So in a very beautiful movie “Discret charm of the bourgeoisie” the film director Luis Buñuel makes the protagonists advance together in country roads, nearly without a destination they walk tireless in the metaphor of their life, a passage for the director supported only by the exchange of the words that, as walking sticks, follow our way marking it.

                                                                             Play Bill

But if you must cross the river…then the useful things are other: to reach the opposite bank you need an oar and here is the second symbol…. The hieroglyph of the oar  shows the voice!
Words without voice are nothing, the voice must support and match them and only in this way great tasks as the crossing of the great water.  It’s the voice… the oar,  that carries you on the other bank!

                                                        Ponza’s small harbour

1973. I had an adventure that quite confirmed this statement. Left by boat from the isle of  Ponza with some roman friends during the crossing to Ischia we had been overtaken by a violent storm. The small yacht couldn’t stand longer the strength of those breakers and we had found a shelter from the tempest in the small port of the isle of Ventotene, then notorious for the high security prison.

                                                        No one of the solitary confinements  has a sea view !

Fishermen village where it was produced a very good tuna fish musciamme …its houses were protected on a small strip of earth, inhabited by people hostile to the foreigners, it fascinated for the ancient walls, the narrow windows that opened perpendicularly on the sea and that atavic self-restraint. We spent the night running around its narrow streets looking for the old seafaring flavours,  gladdening  the passing of the hours in a local tavern with old wood farmhouse  tables, I totally unaware of the trick that the destiny was reserving to me. Coming back to the yacht the first bad surprise was waiting for us: the shipowner had decided to leave the first travel project, and he wanted to steer towards home: sudden business commitments prevent him from carrying on that pleasure cruise.

                                                                The charm of Ventotene

Who wouldn’t have retraced his steps had to keep all his belongings,  get down on the pier and carry on with other means.
And so the next morning I remained alone saying good bye from the pier to the friends who was going back: nothing to be worried, I’d have taken the first ferry leaving for Naples!
Unfortunately from the isle of Ventotene it started a ferry once a week…exactly after five days, somebody told me…while I had to be at  Capri the day after!

                                                      Small fishing boat…still without engine!

I went down among the fishing boats moored in the small port still full of lobsterpots, remains of the morning fishing, looking for somebody who wanted to take me with one of those small double-ended fishing boats  at least at the isle of Ischia. The day was beautiful, clear, the sea was quiet without a breath of wind…forgotten the tempest of the day before…it was possible to try. A shipowner agreed to do that crossing…just the time to take few food supplies and we could have sailed… it has occurred a whole day of navigation and it was better being careful. It followed a long negotiation on the price that I should have paid for this crossing, at the end we agreed for fifty thousand lire, that for those years were not a mere triffle indeed.
Risen the foodstuffs of water, anchovies, bread and tomatoes he let me sit on the prow of the small boat so as to permit me to hold myself to the wooden edge and he,  taken the helm of the outboard engine directed the boat towards the high sea. From the prow my point of view included the young fisherman  at the helm of his small double-ended fishing boat and the isle of Ventotene that slowly, while we were advancing into the sea, was becoming smaller and smaller till it disappeared behind the sailor’s shoulders.

The sun was starting to warm, the air was mild… I laid down to sunbathe in bikini, I still felt a bit afraid for that new adventure, but everything seemed to go on properly, the sailor was a man of few words, the crossing advanced in high sea…so I could relax and avail myself of the sun to get a little brown.
Suddenly no noise anymore, the boat was still in the middle of the sea, the engine off, only water around us…the fisherman was taking off his T-shirt remaining with his white cotton vest and laughing was saying…pointing the sea: “now  either you give it to me…or you get down!”.
Seductive power of words really nothing but enough to let me realize what was happening: a jump and I threw myself into the water…incredible the astonishment that impressed on that man’s face…terror seized him, I think that in a while he recalled the moment when we left the small port of Ventotene and the innumerable people who had seen me getting on board with him.

                                                            I was alone like a dolphin

I had got down in the middle of the sea rather than coming to terms with that beast, but now I couldn’t stand that uncomfortable position for so long…in the high sea…I should find an agreement that could bring me back in a dry place preventing him from attacking me again maybe with a better result for him.
He wouldn’t have left the boat, I knew this, neither to achieve his wish of possessing me…. But he could leave me, in a moment of greater madness. I told him that I didn’t like to be obliged by the circumstances or by  people and if we should do something we could find a location more comfortable than that, we could arrive to Ischia and spend the night together, perhaps renting a room in a small hotel.

                                                               Sunset during the cruising

I was afraid because my  utmost act had saved me for the moment but could have as effect  an other insane gesture and I could really be wrecked  at the mercy of the abuse of power of that man. I should row towards my shore to reach safety and only the voice was the mean that I have at my disposal. It became persuasive, sweet, privy…I was trying to persuade that brute in vest that it wasn’t worth doing all that  neapolitan melodrama, things are more simple… I’d have got up on the boat if he would have promised me to take me ashore  safe and sound and here… then we could have found the way to satisfy his desires.

Maybe even he had been shocked from my reaction and let himself be persuaded by my argument  agreeing to my idea…I got up on board and, freezed from cold, I squatted down on the bottom of the boat. The crossing started again.
Then honour and life has been saved by my voice, by its power to persuade. Trembling I faced all the rest of the sailing, my shoulders leant on the knees of my persecutor, who only in that manner was sure of my intentions: he felt me near and by then already his own, knowing that soon he could have obtained what he desired so passionately.
Words and voice had got me out of the biggest trouble but now they hung over my head for the promises made.

                                                                            Ischia’s coast

At sunset we reached the small port of Ischia, the cell-phones didn’t exist yet so I run to the first coin box available in the piazzetta and, after  checking that no ship was starting for Neaples or Capri till the day after, crossing my fingers I tried to call my friend Stefano Almagià who was waiting for me, unaware, in his beautiful house… with view over the Faraglioni, some step over the  piazzetta in Capri.
Really I hoped for a miracle, the possibility to be reached and be saved at the last moment, maybe by the intervention of some Stefano’s friends who would have come to pick me up by motorboat putting an end to that misadventure once and for all…but Stefano told that he was alone, without a boat but deeply happy for my arrival: he would have come to pick me up the day after at the arrival of the first ferry from Ischia….

                                                                   Faraglioni’s view
Too late.., I thought inside me! The words told to the sailor were clubs over my head, what was to be done ?

My warder was giving no second thought’s signs, rather I thought I was perceiving a light  sarcasm in his face’s look for the inevitability of my position and, furthermore, now he was claiming expressly the agreed reward for the crossing…What was to be done? Stalling for time…take him to dinner and hope that he get drunk without pretending anything more? It could be an attempt…but of no use, after dinner he was still totally  sober… he rent a room and as soon as the door was closed behind our shoulders… he was over me.
I remember his smell of wild, of feline that his body exhaled, the corn on his hands, his strong and quick muscles ready to seize me. He was not tall but well-hung…and for the first time in my life I wasn’t enthusiastic at all. He was searching my mouth to kiss me while he was touching my small nipples creasing them…nearly as if had been made of rubber! I couldn’t do anything to mitigate that torture except trying to do the possible to shorten it. I asked him to shower himself but he refused… worried that I could go off like a shot.
“Overwhelmed by an unusual fate in the sea of August”, an italian film by Lina Wertmüller:  the subject should have been written after my misadventure …certainly!

                                                                               Play Bill

I had his hands everywhere nearly as if he had been a octopus and I a mussel to be opened! I should do something again to shorten that torture: I lowered and kneel down on the floor and began to kiss it with all the ability I could know, trying to excite him the most possible…in this way I avoided his hands-pincers on my nipples and his kiss on my mouth…
Who knows why most part of men doesn’t know how to caress the brest…they think that women like having it manhandled: nothing more false! All eroticism is lost in the savagery of a gesture…what satisfies more is the right contrary…the fleeting and soft touch of an hand tha caresses and doesn’t seize, that tickles the senses, that touch lightly the outlines giving  the whole body shivers. The tongue that licks the teats while the lips close sucking them…nearly as trying to suckle the milk of life: this excite more than every other thing !

But that evening I couldn’t neither vaguely hope to obtain something that wasn’t only pure brutality… was……as soon as the desire provoked by my kisses was at the top he take me without  fantasy seeking only his pleasure…in few minutes he was on his side, in tank top, smoking a cigarette…
Idyllic…! I filled the bath in the bathroom up to the edge and I stayed inside it to clean my soul from that meeting until the water turned cold. I wanted change skin, revive to a new life…forgetful of that event. Out of the bath I found him ready to repeat “his” pleasure…I told him clearly to have kept my word but that I had no intention to repeat.
The episode could be considered closed.

                                                                  The dawn of freedom

The day after I get up at daybreak, I took my things and I went away without paying him the compensation agreed upon…he could go to the Police if he wanted to…of course…me too have had some interesting things to tell…A nightmare that didn’t end. I turned my back and made my way in my present and he…luckily didn’t follow me….free, finally I was free!
Now I should only forget and the indigo blue sea would have helped me to.…more than every other thing !

Copyright © Ely Galleani Blog. All rights reserved.

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