He always went around with a busy air, even now, no longer very young, busy with a thousand commitments, always urgent and binding for him. He feared he might not have enough time to do what he liked best. The fact is that he liked a thousand things, indeed, everything. Since I was a child.
It gave the sensation of continually sniffing some usta, and of following it tenaciously to identify its source. He remained, discreet and secluded, watching, listening, with his mind constantly working in search of a solution, an expedient, to ensure stability to what he was wobbling, to fill some gaps. There is no remedy for death alone, her grandmother repeated. He was convinced of this, and the literature teacher, at the time, had confirmed it to him, recalling that, at times, it is observed that to fill in a verse, also for metric reasons, or to give completeness to a period, a word or phrase, defined wedge.
So, just find the right one, and it all works out.
His motto was ‘always and everywhere’.
He had the ability not to show himself inopportune, not to annoy, not to irritate with indelicate meddling, always seemed to answer questions that had been put to him, even when he expressed unsolicited opinions. He managed to smuggle his persistent curiosity out of praiseworthy interest. If something wobbled, was in danger, or was about to fall, she always found what made her stable, the right wedge.
Principle followed and applied in the most diverse circumstances.
This is why they called him Mastro Zeppetto.
While still a teenager, with a few hairs of beard, eavesdropping at the door of Franca, the ruddy village girl who had left fields, family and boyfriend, to come to town as a family helper, he heard long sighs. She peered through the keyhole and immediately realized which wedge the girl needed. Late in the evening, when everyone was already asleep, he joined her in her bed, and was confirmed not to have made a mistake. Returning to her room, at the first light of dawn, she smiled thinking of the reciprocity of her remedy: the right wedge and the right crack.
From then on, whoever had passed, at certain hours, in front of Franca’s door, would have heard subdued sighs, but not from the pangs of a certain hunger, from a desperate…