This afternoon Robin, the grandson of the lady downstairs, came to see me. So long time we didn’t see each other. “We are here for a gift from my grandmother, then we go to a party. Mom is choosing which mask to put on her dress”. I didn’t know what was happening, I must have slept too much, or too little — I had recently lost every kind of count. In any case, it seemed that the quarantine was over, or that somehow there was a sort of respite, because here the mess seemed to be started again. I asked Robin why he wasn’t struggling with the choice of mask too, he told me that his grandmother was finishing to knit it. That that was the gift, and it was special, because you could even wash it in the washing machine, you just had to open it and change the internal mask.
When Robin left, I looked out the window and saw all these children downstairs congratulating each other on the fantasies of their masks. Maybe it was just me but, despite his special gift, Robin seemed to be the saddest of all. Next to them the mothers murmured among themselves smiling, congratulating in their turn for the most successful matching dress and mask. For a moment it seemed to me to see their tongues come out of those covers and tangle around, like in an alien movie. I was scared, how could everyone be so happy to go around gagged that way? Brave New World, Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Trial were really happening out there, all together? I ran back to bed again. I woke up later, this time for real, I think. But I called Robin right away.
Illustration by Pov