Getting lost in an unfamiliar park following a day at the races is far from ideal, especially when evening shadows collide with lingering darkness.
In theory, navigating one’s way out of Monza should not be unfeasible and yet, it was a feat managed with indelicate ease. It did not take long to become very, very lost.
In the ‘manual of men’, the thing to do in this scenario is to carry on regardless and keep walking. Eventually a way out will be found, unless it isn’t found, [by which point] it’s dark and you are surrounded by ominous trees, treacherous grass and fearsome shrubbery.
Under the deepening blue tinge of sky, whimpers slip from cold breath that colours the [small] space [ahead].
The thing with darkness is that it doesn’t descend upon you [easily]. If anything, it closes in and slowly, sluggishly wraps its arms around you. These dark limbs hold lightly at first, but then the grip tightens and pulls you slowly to the ground. Its caress is long, loving and eternal; the sleep that comes with it is deep, as all that is dear drifts forever.
This being a GT meeting, there are no [large] crowds to follow, because no one bothers to watch this stuff. Goosebumps rise upon the skin, particularly when [foreign hands] tap on the shoulder, in the [empty and] wide open greenery.
The sudden ‘yelp’ probably alerted the new companion that all was not perfect. ‘Signore, ti sei perso,’ the main in a dark uniform queried.
[Speaking Italian is not my forte; understanding when it is spoken is even less so.]
‘Ah, Jack Charton?’
‘Yes. Toto Schillaci?’
‘Si. Are you lost?’
‘Yes, quite very.’
Having been found wandering rather aimlessly by a park police officer, this bout of clumsiness would strike hard again shortly, but for now – having been pointed in the right direction, evening time had long since fallen.
Passing the Royal Villa of Monza, dwarfed from the ground up in a temperate yellow light, could not detract from the biting winds passing in from the north. Those who could, went inside and closed their doors for the night; those who couldn’t found doorways, bus shelters or the train station.
Emerging into the lights of Monza town, one homeless man straggled – his face cracked and broken with trauma that belied his age and betrayed his experience – as he wept quietly, while a local businessman shouted, laughed, and cackled from behind, having just thrown a bucket of freezing water over him for “fun”.
Crossing the road to find another shadowy corner, a ragged throw – the homeless man’s sheet for the night – glistened briefly, as pearls of cold water seeped further into the old and worn cotton.
Laughing and whimpering, hand-in-hand – a reminder that not all horrors happen in war. Some of our greatest horrors occur amidst great affluence, when greed replaces violence and belittlement replaces barbarism.
Even the coffee counters – a nominal religion in the region – which keep all warm in the cold evenings, had closed. And tonight, it was very, very cold.