“The magic book”
By LauraLME ©
One hot lazy Sunday afternoon of 1976 in a small town of the southern coast of Italy, my grandmother told me about the magic book.
I was 7 years old and right up until now – this day will always be one of my sweetest and most vivid memories.
The sun was going down and the sea was reflecting its rays in a spectacular way almost creating a light of its own, it was one of those moments when you are grateful to be exactly there, looking at that brilliant show of sparking water.
Nonna was sitting on the chair outside cutting vegetables in small little cubes of wonder so perfectly square! I used to look amazed at the way she was able to do everything so quickly and efficiently, making any task look easy and smooth.
Like every Sunday afternoon I was going through the pages of a book not really reading, day dreaming of jumping into those pages and become a princess, a fairy or a flower, completely immersed in developing some fairy tale of my own.
Suddenly my thoughts got interrupted by Nonna’s voice “Please read your book to me”, she said.
I felt so proud and timid at the same time! That afternoon I (slowly and carefully) read to my grandmother the story of the princess and her ladybird.
A wonderful smile illuminated Nonna’s face as soon as I started reading, turning her eyes into stripes of luminescent joy. Her eyes were so sweet and pure, twin lakes of clear blue water.
“Once upon a time there was a beautiful but very sad princess. She had been kept away from knowing the ways of the world, and she had been growing up in a very isolated castle, protected and shielded from harm and happiness. Her only companion was a ladybird who had entered her bedroom on a grey, rainy morning and stayed with her since.”
Now I must tell you… in Italy, some people believe that a ladybird entering one’s bedroom brings luck and prosperity and in this story that ladybird had brought some seeds from her traveling time around the world. The princess had planted those seeds into a garden. From each seed a beautiful flower had blossomed, each flower with its own colors and peculiar beauty except for one, a fluorescent seed that had flourished, or should I say “turned” into a book without pages!
The princess (me reading at the time and you reading now?) had wondered on numerous occasions what she could have possibly done with such a useless object. But the ladybird had told her to be patient and have faith, that book was going to become a real precious treasure to her. Since that day every time the princess smelled a flower she would fall asleep and start dreaming. In every dream she would learn something new and a blank page would magically write itself with an ink made of vital lymph, turning the book without pages into an ever-growing collection of wonders and notions, tales and stories from different places, cultures, traditions. The princess learned about richness and poverty, peace and war, privileges and degradation. She learned about despair and strength, sacrifice and dignity, she saw people struggling to survive, fighting for their freedom, they had no flowers to smell… their books would always be without pages.
The princess felt even more confused; she asked the ladybird why all this was happening and what she could have possibly done to make it better.
The ladybird told her – “Share. Don’t ask yourself why”.
Suddenly I stopped reading and raised my head up, I saw my grandmother smiling whilst washing pans and dishes, humming one of her favorite melodies and I asked her “What does it mean Nonna? How can I make it better?”
Nonna became serious for a second then she smiled and said:
“We are all the same, our life starts as a book without pages! Day by day, one page at a time, that book becomes our own very unique story, the magic diary of our existence.
Every blank page turns into a memory written by the course of destiny. Our eyes become the pathway to our heart, magnifying lenses on the microscopic sequence of fast ever-changing events. We learn to love and “share” … by sharing I mean whispering words of hope, silently writing verses of wisdom, letting people read our soul and meet our mind!
See my dear, you have just shared this story with me making me richer, making us both richer. As long as we keep intact the invisible wire of communication, we will all become stronger.
This is the only secret I do not want you to keep, the magic book of life is still unwritten for millions of people around the globe and our mission is to help filling it with pages. Don’t sell your time, don’t hide your feelings, don’t keep your ideas from blossoming into colored flowers. Somebody, somewhere might need your help to write their freedom, their love, their cry for help, their future”.
She stopped talking and she hugged me of a perfectly square embrace.
I felt settled and safe in a soft cube of peace and serenity while the sun had given space to a full red moon.
This unforgettable moment is a portrait painted on the canvas of life, written on the book of my being.
Many years passed by since that hot lazy afternoon of 1976…
I still sit outside on Nonna’s balcony every Sunday, I enjoy the sunset and read about the princess and her ladybird. Nonna is always here smiling back at me through the window of eternity, between the pages of my magic book filled with timeless memories.