The people who surround me are increasingly serious. Their faces contract increasingly. They spend increasingly more time with unfriendly looks. They remain increasingly silent. Their silence is interrupted only by laconic comments in whispers.
Their eyes adopt an expression of complicity, as if one of malice, in one of those moments comparable to happiness.
For me happiness is another thing – it’s spontaneity, sincerity and even innocence. When I was little I found adults boring and sad; they were always in bad moods. Along with my friends, who of course were also kids, I would spend long stretches laughing at any silly thing. We were in no way obligated to sustain some posture with the aim of looking like something we weren’t.
When we grew up everything changed. In high school, being “immature” —or at least appearing to be so in the eyes of girls or guys— was the worst thing that could happen to anyone. But since in fact we were no more than children, after all, the best thing we could do was to act, to put ourselves in the roles of adults, to play like being grownups.
For me that was the first discovery that things are not always what they seem to be. It was impossible that from one day to the other my friends changed so radically. Evidently it was all a game of illusions, one in which I was reluctant to take part in.
Maintaining the appearance of seriousness was the essential element. Repressing one’s feelings and spirits was the price you had to pay to be accepted by others.
A good while later I discovered the malice and cunningness of people. It was no longer enough to have a stiff posture and to, in every moment, reproduce expressions and phrases that seemed straight out of a catalog. It was necessary to take the game to the extreme of manipulating others without being manipulated; this would give you preponderance, the ingredient necessary for winning respect and girls.
In addition to being difficult, this was unacceptable to me.
With the years, I’ve discovered new facets of the adult game – sometimes as a perpetrator, but mostly as a victim. Perhaps here is where resides my interest in maintaining this piece of a boy that I still carry inside. I no longer stand so many bitter faces and pretending eyes conspiring around me. And I had thought that the game was only for adolescents…
I no longer need to seem like adult, because I am one. Now what I need is to seem like a boy. That’s why I walk in search of a few little friends.