A second-class trip to him.
It was during the last move that I found it, hidden among electricity bills and old notes in one of the drawers of the bedroom desk. A photograph with worn edges and somewhat faded but still strong colours. It depicted me at the age of four, sitting in a blue stroller, and my father, standing to my left.
Judging by the clothes and the bow of a ferry boat, it had definitely been taken by my mother, during the summer holidays, when we were leaving for Sardinia. As usual, Dad had assumed the classic attitude that distinguished him: stiff, formal, with his gaze fixed on the camera. An attitude undoubtedly inherited from his years of military service. Only the corner of his mouth revealed a hint of a smile. And I was well aware of what lay behind that curve.
Dad had always been a person of austere character, a man devoted to work and not to feelings. However, he’d betray his hieratic composure from time to time, revealing an inner soul that, like a solid beehive, was as sweet as honey.
It’s now since my coming out, which occurred during my college years, that my father and I have not spoken to each other. I remember that, faced with my coming out, he didn’t say a word. He simply walked out of my life. I also remember that, right after my graduation, I suddenly received a message from him on WhatsApp. Five words, sent at 11 P.M. – ‘I am proud of you’. Out of pride, I never replied. Yet, it was a simple photograph taken with a disposable Kodak that gave me the courage to buy that train ticket. Destination: dad.