This is not normal. And you don’t need another person to tell you that it’s not. If this was a normal day, I would have told you that we don’t need to grieve everyone that dies. I would have used a cynical argument in an effort to avoid another pointless conversation. But this month, it feels like the whole world is grieving a spring that got abruptly cancelled.
Everyone is either holding their breath or trying to get rid of their dread for tomorrow. No. It’s not supposed to go this way. You’re not supposed to avoid hugging your grandma. You’re not normally obliged to explain to your kid why you won’t be going for their Sunday play-date in the park. You’re not supposed to be scared. It feels like a slap in the face, having to avoid your loved-ones, when you feel that this is the only thing that you want to do, just to get by.
And if you’re not privileged, you might have lost more than a few nights out with your friends. There will be those that try to find reasons behind this, saying that it’s a warning sign from Earth/from God or from your aunt in Australia. Well, I don’t believe that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes shit just happens. It would be naïve to forget that disaster used to come more often than it does in 21st century Europe.
All of us will have to continue, even the unlucky ones. The empty streets will slowly start to fill up with teenagers again. Foreigners will start arriving by airplane. The tears of those grieving will be coming less frequently. We’ll be eating pasta before we know it. The memories will stick around for a while; we will feel that we’ve learned. But after a while, we will forget. Because we have to, if we want to survive the next one.
If you too want to remember how it was before this, look at these paintings. You might want to smash your screen, scream at the top of your lungs or sit in silence asking why you’re forced to see this. And after you are done resisting, surrender to it. You will be able to see what’s beautiful and keep it with you the next time things will spin out of control. And it will be okay. Maybe not now; maybe not this year; but sometime, it will.
Each post of this series will be dedicated to a city or country that is heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This one is dedicated to Italy. All artworks are related to Italy; they are either painted in the country or painted by an Italian artist. Feel free to suggest more artworks in the comments bellow. Stay safe.