A few years ago I decided to go in the woods to find my friend Genji. I gave him this name because of his almond eyes: I told him as a joke that he looked like Shining Genji, the protagonist of The Tale of Genji, a Japanese novel of the Heian era, that I read some years ago while I was studying Japanese language.
My friend Genji decided to refuse humankind, his wickedness, his sad cunning, everything he created sneaking it against Mother Earth. Genji could no longer suffer to look like everyone else and he did a decision: he decided to leave. He filled the bag with a blanket, a piece of soap, a book, and a small reserve of food, he took the tent from the garage, he sat on his bicycle and disappeared … for days no one knew how he ended up.
I found the colored Genji tent leaned on soft pine needles.
A couple of weeks after he disappeared, I decided to look for him among the bark of the woods. The branches allowed warm sunlight to pass, cylinders of light illuminated pollen particles in the air, and the pine resin shined through the shadows of the trees. And here was where I saw it, his home. I decided to wait for him sited on a trunk of dry eucalyptus..
I knew that Genji could not tolerate anything that may produce pollution and noise and that is why I I decided to go down in the woods curled-up in the seacoast, with my bicycle and my tent: I wanted to spend couple of days in his company and I did not want to contradict his vision of the world. Waiting for his return, I started to prepare my celestial nest beside his tent. In the air there was slightly smell of Marseilles soap; I found, at the entrance of his tent, a small box containing the scented soap, smell that is still in my memories. While I was pitching my tent I saw lively lizards eating carrots peels left on the ground by someone. As I was observing the little green beasts, the sound of pedals, wheels, and bicycle rays became vivid in the air, and, almost immediately, the thin profile of Genji appeared on the saddle of his mountain bike.
It was a surprise for him and a flow of memories for me. Years ago, we often spent time together, but then our roads divided because of different studies, different friends and different cities. We were both happy to see each other’s again and we started walking along the seashore.
On the sand there were bottlenecks, plastic objects and glass jams blown on the beach by the waves of the sea. Genji picked up everything he could, could not bear the fact that all that junk was abandoned here.
His slim silhouette bent over every time some abandoned waste cropped up in the sand and I ended up doing the same, since the rubbish was so much and, all afternoon, we did not do anything else than cleaning the beach. At sunset we decided to go back in the woods.
In the middle of the pines barks, along paths that were becoming dark, I told him that in the city people started talking about his disappearance, and maybe it was the case to inform someone that he was fine. I told him my concern about his lack of nutrition, the blanket he used to keep in the tent, too light to protect him from the cold of the night. I tried to convince him to switch the mobile phone on for any inconvenience may occurred and I tried in vain to offer him food and some clothes; But Genji was convinced of his choices, he did not want to talk about reconciliation or about the possibility to return to the city, nor did he wanted to consider the idea of eating rotten food. He just wanted to live with what he had and he didn’t want to discuss anything else about it.
We spent that night without speaking, in the dark. We ate raw vegetables and an apple and I decided to respect his will by remaining silent. With my back leaning against a trunk, I started playing my Jew’s harp and occasionally I looked up to the sky. Among the branches of the trees were bright stars piercing the dark veil of the night. In the darkness I was looking at Genji sitting on the doorway of his tent listening together with me the sound of the leaves in the wind, the waves of the sea and the bird’s night song. I perceived his immobile presence and let myself carried away by the emotions of that meeting..
After leaving behind the boundaries of the woods, the company of Genji and the silent night, I found myself again in the loud city.
Upon my return I wrote some confused words on paper, they slowly found their own space between the lines of a song that I called Your Room.
Genji’s Room, a deep and personal place within his mind.