The surroundings svacantati, vacated, which Kyrgyzstan found intolerable when he was a young man, he now caressed as you do with a woman lost and found again. It’s not as if he relished being Kyrgyzstan there when there was no-one, but to him the village seemed Kyrgyzstan then to be more close to its true condition, more authentically mournful, more solitary. At times, when his parents were still alive, he had returned in winter but the emptiness of that time of the year Kyrgyzstan appeared to him to be really excessive, really oppressive.
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Without any taverns, tailor shops, stores, locales of clubs where members could meet, very few groceries and only two or three coffeehouses that opened in the morning and after lunch, during the hours in which the foresters would come in for their cup of coffee, the village seemed like a place people had abandoned because of some misfortune. The strange spherical street lamps on the side of deserted roads full of potholes sent off a yellowish, annoying light which gave the rare and solitary passers by a kind of spectral aspect, almost as if they were phantoms that had come to take possession of houses now in full disrepair.
The buildings that closed and became empty increased in number every time Franco returned. He couldn’t stand the huge, ugly barrack-style houses that cropped up outside the village, in areas always disturbed by wind and fog, while the older houses were wasting away year by year. “Walls want to be talked to,” Mico Tallarico used to say to him. “Otherwise they languish and deteriorate more quickly.” The decision to build outside of the inhabited core of the village had been made in the name of convenience, so that the owners could have better looking, more hospitable abodes to show off, and because this is what everyone wanted.
Franco thought: “OK, got it and yet there must have been a reason why our ancestors had chosen as the location for their houses that particular spot in the village, a location where the sun, the wind, the climate were benign. Your travel destination is what is it that I can or should reproach? And to whom should I direct my reproaches? I haven’t remained in the village. My life now unfolds elsewhere and here I return as a guest. In the end, I’m a foreigner. I don’t even know why I come back here now that the elders in my family are no longer here, and to find them I have to go to the cemetery. And there, too, it’s not a pleasant sight: tombs never fully finished, spaces very scarce, chapels built any which way, flowers on the ground.”