Eva Colombo, Donne d'acqua e d'inchiostro, capitolo sesto: Concia
Eva Colombo, Water’s and ink’s woman, sixth chapter: Concia
Stefano ( protagonist of Il carcere, novel written by Cesare Pavese, 1949 ) is an antifascist North Italian engineer confined to a little town by the sea in South Italy. He arrives there towards the end of summer and what seems a sort of “invisibility” of young women strikes him. The only girl he falls in sometimes is a bare – footed servant who carries water with a terracotta amphora similar to her, similar to that used by Stefano to drink in torrid afternoons. Torrid afternoons that he spends alone in the half – light of his miserable slum, clasping an amphora and dreaming of that bare – footed girl. Her face is dark and goatish, her hips are meagre and strong. Stefano clasps a slim and dark amphora and drinks a water that tastes of goatish: a wild and sweet taste which reminds him of the girl who carries water. She lives in a grey – stone house similar to others in town: houses silent and apparently dead, all windows always closed. But the girl’s one has something different: a window always open, a window decorated with geraniums which, thanks to a perspective effect, seems full of sea. Stefano noticed this window just arrived in town: a bright rectangle so sharp and intense as a prisoner’s sky. Since bare – footed girl uses an external step – ladder linked to this window to go in and out the house, Stefano in his dreams framed her in this window of sea and geraniums. One day, chatting at the tavern, he discovers her name: Concia. Autochthones consider Concia just a goat, a mean sexual instrument that everyone can carelessly use; only Stefano, the foreigner, sees Concia’s deep identity. She is the life force that makes sky, sea and geraniums breaking through dead houses. She is water, but not tasteless and colourless water. She is water that has no fear to be contaminated for fecundating dryness.