by  Gianfranco Menghini

Mirror of woman


Further to the fruits from the earth, it may happen that the countryside makes a rose bloom in the form of a girl whose beauty and perfection represent a term of comparison in the female empyrean, where it is the common practice to consider a beautiful woman a being poorly endowed with intelligence. Rita is a champion. Rare and very precious. Professor Oreste noticed it at first glance, even if from an unfavorable position. Consort of a very rich and unattractive woman who will soon abdicate her position as a lover, leaving her husband free to use elsewhere.He won’t do it with Rita, far from that. A Pygmalion newcomer of the Mussolini era in a Rome of 1928 draped in fascist uniform. He will take advantage of his acute intelligence, imparting to her those teachings designed to make her free to outline her future. Which will present itself, unfortunately grim and full of pitfalls.The ineffable François will take advantage of her, more than the professor, who will succeed, but not for long, in keeping her on a leash, but then Rita, having understood the trap, will take an advantage. Of which, however, she will be a victim twice, as further proof that intelligence, even the most acute, is by no means synonymous with cunning.First a great painter and then the same François, to solve the problem of the existence of Rita and the unborn childThen it is all to follow, reading this story that comes from the usual literary schemes.

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She had tried three times but had at no time managed to do so. Little Rita, though having had a great determination, had found on her path so many difficulties never supposed and when found herself in the village of San Cristoforo, which in her imagination was a pronounced city, had surrendered herself and although not in spite, walked back on foot as had arrived, reflecting that the conditions met were not ideal for a return trip as had always believed. The chance had wanted that each one of those escapes would take place itself over the course in a day, and she would come backward home before the sunset, so that she had not explained why herself had absented all that time without going to care the vegetable garden and to attend after the squawking hens, the growling pigs and the silent rabbits, except her easy excuse of her, ever-wished desire to turn between the market stalls at San Cristoforo, far from his home nearly seven kilometers of dusty road.         Her sister, much older than she, had been as her mother since the natural was dead five years before – their beloved father by over ten years for a serious accident – did not reproach her heavily, except to tease her for that innocuous mania in wanting to go away at all costs from the monotony of the countryside’s life.  Campaign which was beautiful with its irregular plains, staggered here and there by sweet slopes and broken into two by overgrown rocks in an ancient riverbed of a millennial river called the Gora, reduced to nothing more than a placid creek who after having fertilized and made productive sandy lands that wetted, gone pouring itself toward south into the wide bend that the muddy Tevere formed about thirty kilometers from there before to go to divide into two the city of Rome. The young girl did not have the culture so matured enough to appreciate those natural beauties in which she had lived until then. The well-groomed vineyards which descended gently downstream, the orchard of peaches and apricots which in spring exploded in a leafy green, neither the field of hazelnuts with its pastel tender green leaves and not even the magnificent vegetable garden rich in salads, and all that fighting cocks that the husband to her sister sold weekly to the San Cristoforo’s market, bringing her a small gift each time. In her young mind with no experience of life, the most beautiful thing was the short black serpentine that ran every morning stretching in the distant plain opposite the splitting of the plateau, with the suffering puffs of a dense dark smoke which floated across the fields at his passage in the clear windless days, until the train disappeared in the brief horizon, already yellow ocher of mature harvest. Rita lived at a house shaded by three large almond trees at the side facing the sunset, a great pergola in the center and an ancient fig tree that had sunk deep roots along the edge of the earthwork bordering the bailey of the side wall facing the east. The girl saw it from the little window into her bedroom on the mezzanine floor, and she felt the smell of it already at the beginning of the spring. A sharp odor which, with the advancement of the beautiful season, had the flavor more and more of the sticking milk of the still not ripe figs. His grandfather had planted it ninety years ago, seventy years before, at the eve of his departure as an emigrant in far-off American lands.  The old man sat almost all day on the straw armchair to smoke in front of the big chimney and when the summer arrived, his grandchildren moved it under the pergola from where he could observe the whole countryside around. He always told her something about his existence lived in the exotic countries, those rare nights that were found themselves to the fresh air under the bright light of the stars and that one red which broke the dark, of the Tuscan cigar which he pulled out of the mouth to feed the fire every time. Rita had regularly wondered herself why the grandfather would smoke it by invariably holding the part through the fire in the oral cavity, and these naive reflections had repeatedly distracted her from following the thread through the story. Not overly interesting to her, too young yet, so that to not even know which world would be around the plane, where every morning passed the train of her most acute desire. Instead, her sister, along with her husband and son, listened ravished  the venerable old man, although he would already report them those narratives, but in a more succinct way, so that the second and, most importantly, the countless other times, he told them, proved more enthralling for some details, which went back to his memory. They could not have been inventions because the fantasy of a ninety-year-old man had no wings to fly, but it had contracted itself like his body. He is still carrying on a walk, although bent like the trunks tipped forward of the oaks more exposed to the winds. They were only fragments of memories, which floated through his mind and with the narration, he managed to capture something, as we do with the slotted spoon to pick up the last flocks of frying from the pan.        The married sister exhorted Rita to be more careful, suggesting her that those things her grandfather was telling, should be of education, given that she had had a little of it. The young girl had just learned to read and to write, but she did still spell the letters to put together a word. There were no schools to the countryside, neither she had habitually attended the elementary school of San Cristoforo when a child, with some regularity. Only the first three years, taking advantage of the cart of the estate manager of the great agricultural farm, bordering on their small metayage farmyard, who accompanied there his son, belonging to her brother-in-law only to the vegetable…