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Friday at sunset

As usual there is not much to eat for dinner, just a soup, mostly to warm you up, but I like it. My father remains silent and ill tempered, as usual; from time to time he peeks from the openings in the boards closing the window. I eat quickly, I want to go play with my computer. As soon as I finish, I get up, while my mother clears the table slowly, as if she has plenty of time.

When I get into my room I do not turn on the light. There is enough light filtering from the window to see the keyboard, thus I can turn on immediately; when the computer is ready I type on the keyboard:

C:> eyesof ben

The computer answers:

Eyesof, vers. 2.2 Copyright Microsoft 1996, 2001.

Copy released to, and customized for, BEN

and goes on with the initialisation sequence; then the address book appears on the screen. I browse through the book with the mouse, as a matter of fact I do not have that many friends... in the end I choose Gudrun, the Icelandic girl; she is very nice. Before activating the connection I draw the curtains, to stop the light of the sunset. Then I click twice on Gudrun's name; the screen behaves as if it has been turned off, it goes completely black, while I am fastening the seat belt. This is the moment I like less, with Eyesof Ben. The manual calls it sensorial deprivation, it says it is essential to guarantee the integrity of self consciousness.... Baloney, I hate when the screen is almost all black and there is only written:

Establishing connection.........

with the ever increasing little dots... this gets on my nerves. And sometimes it does not work, the connection is not established.

On the contrary it works perfectly this time. The black gets torn, on the screen there is a blindingly white landscape. Gudrun is in the open, in her school yard, and there is a lot of snow. Indeed, I forgot it is Friday, and Gudrun shall go home tonight, after spending the whole week at school. All the school children are in the open, and they do not notice the cold: everybody is waiting for the snow cat of their parents to pick them up, to spend the next week at home. A somewhat strange school system, but they are accustomed to it. Gudrun is so excited while waiting, that she almost does not notice my connection, and anyway she does not care about listening to me. I like it all the same, to stay and look, thus I click on the button:

over the shoulder mode
and go on being connected without talking. After a while Gudrun's father arrives, with a brand new snow cat and a great fur coat. He wraps up Gudrun in another fur coat, and gets her to climb behind him; when the snow cat has left, Gudrun does not speak, but I feel very well her excitement for the fast ride on the snow.

I have been following Gudrun's ride for a while, and I begin feeling cold. I do not know whether it is cold there, I mean here, in my room, or it is just the sight of all that snow. Anyway I am shivering, I cannot stand it. Then I say goodbye to Gudrun and I click on

The trail in the snow, as seen from the snow cat, disappears gradually, gives the impression of going away slowly, then fades, in the end the screen is black again. When the address book appears I rouse myself, unfasten the seat belt, stand up and do some drill to warm me up. The fact is, this room is really cold. I go and ask my parents what's up.

-Why is it so cold?

-The stove is off, because your father did not want to get out and get some firewood -my mother answers, with bitterness in her voice.

-There is no more firewood near here, one has to cross the avenue... -my father does not end the sentence, but we understand it very well.

-But you could have gone after sunset...

My father shrugs. It hurts me, to see him like that, thus I start to go back to my room.

-You go back to your computer? But when will you finish?

I do not even answer my mother. She knows the answer: what else should I do? go and fetch the firewood, where my father did not dare to go? It is a good thing, that we, the children, are more mature than the grownups, we know there is no point in using words which can hurt for the sake of answering a question. Anyway I stay a little while to keep my parents company; as a matter of fact, I play with my sister.

next up previous
Next: Friday night Up: EYES OF BEN Previous: EYES OF BEN

Andrea Milani
Sat Sep 20 08:55:36 MET DST 1997