I lost my heart in Taormina" By my guest author, Ramon Gandarian, Nobel Price Winner"
The struggle of the coming out of a Sicilian music student. Giovanni is a Sicilian youth. Lives in the roaring twenties of this century in Taormina. His father has a small grocery in this little town. He has curly black hair, almond shaped brown eyes. He is very gifted for music but has difficulties to finance his studies and is under the spell of his fathers petty bourgeois prejudices. In his unconsciousness he is like many of us bisexuals and is struggling against prejudices and false religious barriers, against unscrupulous sex tourists until he finally comes out. When he finds his angel, too.
He tells his story:
I am in my room. Marco has just told me that he is Billy's new friend. Marco, my brother, of whom I am in charge. What will I tell my father. He, who is president of the Church Counsel in our little town. If I tell him that Marco is the fag of Billy he will kill me and Marco and all of Billy's family. In the first aspect I got a fist and tried to kill Marco. But then Billy appeared, out of nowhere, and together they calmed me down. I hid in my room. Lay on my bed and cried. I'll never again go back to my parents. I can't think of facing my father who even took a credit to pay me a part of my studies. It all began because I so liked to sing in the Church choir. Than we sang the mess by Donizetti. And Padre Anselmo, the priest, found I was gifted and had such a nice voice. It would be a waste if such a nice boy with such a honey sweet voice would become a grocer, he said. Selling pears and soap to old wrinkled matrons with hoarse and high pitched voices. I would get bored, begin to drink and soon loose my voice and get hoarse like all the others. And while telling me that he caressed me and kissed me on both cheeks. Expecting more. Such a perv! One hour before in church he had made a fervent sermon to his flock about these queer people who would all come to hell. I was mildly astonished but what he told me rather pleased me. So I played his game. At lunch, there was my favorite dish, roast lamb and mashed potatoes, I told my father that I wanted to go to Music school in Naples as Father Anselmo had counseled. You must have seen how my father lost his countenance. A big piece of roast got into his wrong neck. He coughed like a whinny horse and nearly choked himself. I thought I would pat his back to help him surmount this crisis, but he wrested away from me. He grabbed me by my hand and pulled me out into the passage. I could wind myself out of his grip because I feared the worst. But I hadn’t the time to escape. I got a terrible thrashing till I broke out in tears. He seized me by my shoulders, forced me to stare into his eyes and told me that he would never consent to my becoming an artist. That our family had no money to spend on such “far-nientes”. All our forebears had worked hard to get this grocery and there was no other way for me than to be his successor. At last I had wrested me free of him and ran out of the house into the street directly into the arms of Father Anselmo who was on his digesting walk. I told him what had happened with tears in my eyes. Father Anselmo consoled me and caressed me again. Later on he told my father, while they were playing boccia on the village place in the evening, that I was gifted for singing, that I should go to the Academia in Naples. And that it would be a waste for the church and for the society if I would be used as a grocer. And as my father was in the church council he understood and changed his mood, not unexpected, because people in frock always imposed on my father. I knew it. My father even went with me to Naples and I sang before the examinators and got the scholarship. And began the studies.
But then I met Christina from Denmark and ceased going to the courses. She had come to Naples because her father paid it. She played the flute. And now I began playing the flute. Because Christina played the flute when she didn't make ballets with me. I followed her to Copenhagen. It was not what I had expected. Our honeymoon was terribly short. And I realized how unfaithful Christina was. Till now the hairs on my Sicilian head stand upright when I think how I was made ridiculous by her. She met Jack, an American and he became her boy friend. I was jealous and told her that this Jack was the most ridiculous chap I had seen. She told me I was a failure in bed and I slapped her in the face. This was the end of our honeymoon. My money was all used up. What should I do to get money to go back to Naples? I wanted to continue my studies of the flute. And in Italy, no longer in this dark country. What could I do to get the money to go back to Naples? I walked along the streets thinking of an issue to get out of this cul de sac. While I strolled along, the streetsgot more and more populated and the houses on them were dilapidated. I was in the ill famed quarter of Copenhagen. A lot of dolled up women were standing around. And well to do bourgeois men were turning around them, looking at them. Then suddenly I saw, hiding in dark side streets, chaps standing there and well clad business men taking one of the boys and vanishing. Why not doing the same to get money on the quick. I took a place and stood there. Not for long. Some other chap came around and told me to piss off. I didn't react. Then he assaulted me, threw me down on my back, sat on me, tore my trousers away and settled to ride on me, slapping me all the time. Lots of people were watching, having a nice time. All of a sudden, and in time, because I was nearly finished, a stout baldheaded man in a expensive suit came and made himself way through the lot. Arrived to us, he took out a pistol and shot in the air. Everybody, including my aggressor ran away. I couldn't because my trousers were torn, I was standing there in underpants. He forced me with the pistol to go before him and led me to a public toilet. He undressed. My, what an ugly thing he had! He put his pistol on the sill, grabbed my head and pulled my mouth to his dick. It was covered with red warts. He must be ill, I thought. I panicked. I didn't want to get whatever illness he had. I stood up before he could grab his pistol, swung my left leg and gave him a kick. He moaned, swung around and held his hands before his dick. Too late. He tried to reach his pistol but I had been quicker taking it while he had been embezzled. I held it on the trigger but the damned thing was unlocked. The shot went and crossed his head. I stepped back till the wall stopped me. His body slipped down on the back, the blood splashing from his head, squirting as far as the opposite wall. Afraid I looked down on his body. He trembled once or twice and then lay there motionless. "He must be dead." I thought and was shocked, I hadn't wanted this. But then I panicked. I ran out of the closet all at once leaving the door wide opened. When I was far enough, I stood still, panting. Now everything was finished. I had killed! I must flee out of this country. Then I realized. I had no money. I must go back, search him, to find some cash to go away. Fortunately nobody had seen it. I entered the closet with my heart bumping, searched his jacket trying not to get soaked with blood, found a watch and lots of bank notes. I left the closet definitely and took pains closing the closet door from the outside. I hoped maybe now that the door was closed, they would find the corpse much later. I had now lost too much time. I ran away, without looking out and onto the sidewalk, leaving this bloody corpse behind, wanting to forget it. And I bumped directly into Jack, Christina's new friend. Besides of being my rival who had taken me Christina, Jack was ugly. Was he now looking for another adventure after having had Christina. Such a false person! But I had no intention to meet him. I tried to sneak below him. He grabbed me by my jacket. He said: "What are you doing here. I will tell it Christina." Now I had enough. I tried to give him a kick, but he was much stronger than I and soon I was before him, my arms bent behind my back. He pulled my trousers down and I held my breath. Would he bugger me from behind? I couldn't budge. And he said: "Keep quiet. I always longed to bugger your fine ass. And now I have you at my mercy." He kept me fast while he violated me. It was painful. But after this he was ever so nice to me. He brought me to the train and as there was some time left invited me for a glass of wine. I didn't tell him I had money and he bought me the ticket to the next German town. Happy to have me away. I was happy to take his help, did not want to see this witch Christina again. But as soon as I was sitting in the train, the doubts came. What if he denounced me to the police? And if I was caught while they searched the train? I got out before the train left the station, stole a bicycle and biked to the frontier. In a small town far from where the main steam goes over the frontier I tried to cross over the country. But a hunter saw me. He hailed me. I tried to run away but he fired the gun, I fell and felt something moist at my hips, I couldn't go on. But there was a deep valley and I let myself slip. But suddenly I realized how the purse with the money and the watch slipped out of my pocket and down the slope. I tried to run and catch it but had to stop, there was a high rock face. I nearly stumbled and was about to fall the 10 or 20 meters down if my clothes hadn't been caught by the branches of a tree. He caught up, took me down and laid me on the floor, looked at me. Then he said: "So it's you they are looking for. You should watch out better. You have obviously very fine friends. Some friend of you gave the police your portrait and they are searching for you. It seems you killed a person in the toilet and it looks as if it were a street boy killing his guest." Now I couldn't stand it any longer. I had not slept and was at the last string of my nerves. I tried to creep away, but the wound made me too much pains and I had lost a lot of blood and was feeble. With my last strength I implored him to let me live. He knelt down, looked at me searchingly. Then he got a string and bound my arms. Hold me under my armpits and marched me to his hut. An elderly woman was there. I thought he would deliver me directly to police. But I had no strength to offer resistance. I let him do as she laid me on a bed, and drank some broth she made for me. I slept at once. When I awoke. I felt much better, the wound was tended. The man was there again. He told me: "When I saw you there, lying impassible on the ground, I realized you were not the villain they said you were. And while you were ill, in your dreams, you said a lot. Tell me your story.” I thought there was no sense to lie, delivered to him as I was. I told him the whole truth of my dangerous encounter. He looked a long time at me, then said. "Alright, I believe you." A wall broke in me, I cried tears. He said: "You certainly want to go on as soon as possible. But you cannot go on like this, the borders are guarded very well. The person, better you killed is very prominent. I think he was a scoundrel but he is well liked in our society. And your wounds are deep. Unfortunately there is also some fever. Remain here till they be healed. Afterwards I will give you other garments and money to go to your native country." He was a healer, a doctor and he must have known the person I had killed. He never told me, but what he said about him he made makes me think it. The old woman was his mother. When I was healed he took me on to his hunts. I had never been so happy in my whole life. I thought that Italy could well wait for me. Each time I thought to say good by and return, I thought better of prolonging this paradisiacal situation. And he did not seem to object. Only with time I realized that something must have happened. He spoke in secret to his mother and they looked suspiciously at me. He sent me on some errand. When I came back some uniformed men were around. I hid behind the bushes. I didn't dare come out of my hiding place again. Had he given me away to the police? I could not believe it, would have liked to go back and ask him. But I feared the police too much. I did not have the courage to go back. I run away the street I knew lead over the river and over the borders to Germany. But there were lots of guardians around and I didn't dare try to cross the frontier. I hid and looked out. But I couldn't do it all the time, live of berries and rain water. I came out and went to a hut and knocked on the door. Lot's of people were in it and drunk and chatted together. The man, gray hair and beard, only once looked at me than he shouted. And I was in the street again, running for my life. Up the woods and again down a precipice I hadn't seen. But they had lost my trace. I remained there, with a broken leg. And again God helped me. My first savior, Jan, found me and brought me to a friend of him. I know, I know! At last I should stop writing unrealistic things. But everything you write is imagined, why should we not for once write of something we think too nice to happen instead of writing all the time about things which are worse. And my imagination will carry me even further away as I continue: He couldn't bring me to him as the police was there. But he brought me on a litter over the boundary, declared me as a dead deer he wanted to sell on the market in the nearest town. And there I found hospitality with his brother who cared me. Till one day he took me aside and told me that the field was now clean for me to flee to Naples. He gave me new clothes and money and I caught a train which left in the night, a direct, steaming to Naples. Still, having arrived there and begun my studies, I had no money for the studies. My scholarship had expired, I should have registered anew and needed my fathers signature. I didn't dare ask any money of my father after this escapade. And...I wanted to study the flute, not the song. I abhorred it, it reminded me of father Anselmo. Who expected things of me I could never grant him. My father would never understand why I had run off with Christina. When it was clear for me that I could no longer study singing I had told my father so and thought that he would no longer accept me. That was on Xmas holidays I had gone back home. But I didn't dare tell him about Christina, although probably he sensed that there was something with me. Contrary to what I had feared, he then took a loan to help me continue the studies. Even if it was flute studies. And he told me it was his plan to marry me to a girl of a better to do merchant of Catania. I didn't love her, in fact I found her ugly and snob. But I tried to persuade me that I loved her. When I think about this now, I come to the conclusion that I loved her because of her little brother. I loved her little brother but I didn't dare realizing it. Then there was this episode with Christina and when I came back again from my escapade to with her. Well, I didn't go back to Taormina. But I thought of it. The money father had given me was away. I did not dare tell it to him and ask him for money again. I thought I would try to find a job. Everybody who wanted to work did find a job, my father had always said. So I pondered where to find work and by the time I had made my mind up, the holidays were finished. I went back to my room in Naples without any hope. But I got a chance, as I always get last minute chances in my life. Billy, an English student was looking for a room mate. I did not have to pay for the room and could live freely with Billy. But soon I realized, heard from rumors spread by the others, that he wanted more from me. The friend he had had before me had assumedly given him more pleasure. I leave it to you to conclude what sort of pleasure. Some fellow students looked at me in a compassionate way, others truly furious. I a fagot? I couldn't any longer stand this. I never could bring myself to give him what he apparently wanted. The atmosphere was poisoned, and I got ill and could no longer attend the courses. It was anyhow nearly the end of the fourth term. Billy visited me in the sick chambers. He told me that he would take the train to his family in England. Before leaving he charged me to look for a pal for him. He was angry that I did not comply and told me that he did not want to wait any longer. Either I got him a substitute for what I should be for him or he would throw me out. I went home alone, deliberately avoiding the society of my previous friend Rico who came from the same village. I did not know what to do next. I was angry of anybody, of my father who couldn't pay my studies, of Billy, who had no patience. My betrothed, Maria, had had a child. It was rumored that the child was of a elder foreign tourist who had already family and children and had left suddenly. She had gone away one night, secretly, before being thrown out by our town community. The baby was not from me. She had deluded me too and I did not want to know anything from her also her mother had told me, crying, that she had gone to work in a hotel in Catania. I wanted to give up my studies, tried to get work as a farm hand as I can do nothing besides singing and playing my instrument. But after countless tries I gave up. The peasants told me in kind words that they did not trust that my will to do something which is not music would last. And they find that I am a weakling and will not have the force necessary. I am angry but in my inner feeling I have to give them right. I am neither fish nor bird. I assume I do not have the financial means to achieve making my "gift" to my job and, and sometimes I even doubt I really have a gift. I despise these petty material jobs, just to earn your living doing whatever you hate and waiting for the day to end and the pay check to come. Walking back from the last peasant who turned me down, I met Marco, my younger step-brother. I was in tears. He was sympathetic in his girlish fashion he displays. He asked me what had happened. And I told him. He gave me a kiss and happily nobody saw it. Then he asked me if I wanted him to come along to help me to find a friend for Billy. Such a ridiculous pretext. I knew from the very beginning what he really wanted. Once I had had to look for him and do you know where I did find him? Being photographed with other young chaps at the estate of this eccentric German Baron. Nearly naked! Impossible. I didn't tell anything to my father, because he would have beat him to death. But anyhow everybody knows what Marco is. Behind his back he is laughed at. Only my father hasn't found out. He treats him so good because he is the son of his most beloved sister. And resembles her so much. Did he even go to bed with her? And I am not sure whether there is something between my father and Marco. I saw once how Marco came out of my fathers bathroom, buttoning his fly hole. I suppose he is sucking my father. But of course I wouldn't say anything. I awe my father and his stick. What would Marco want to do else, I wonder. He certainly wants to flee my father, he is no special nice lover and … But I forget me! I abhor this thing. There are no nice men. Basta. And Marco even begged me on his knees to let him go with me. He said he wanted to know the University and my fellow students. And he wanted to study. Such a shallow pretext. He and study. He who has only sex in hi head! And I idiot got a weak heart and helped him! From his first word he had in mind to deceive me. But I did not realize it. And now I am finished.