Knight without sword
The young doctor is waiting nervously, as if the curtain of the Scala of Milan were going to be drawn and his mouth was dry. He tries to appear calm, more than anything because he is a novice among cousins donuts that unfold behind the scenes like the stars that are in a firmament that have threshed to their last corners. The years of experience in relaxed postures, in the laughter that is marked and in that casual air of the nobility when it is in palace are noticed to them. Quite the opposite of him, who clearly seems to be the peasant who wants to rub shoulders with the best, but who plays in another league.
All have been summoned at the same time. All arrive a little late, kissing and greeting each other as good people do, exchanging phrases about the overload of their consultations, the madness in which they live day by day, the absurdity in which everything is becoming and the apocalypse that is guessed behind the corner. The usual, the same thing that was heard twenty years ago. The apocalypse takes its time, it does well. The young man is greeted with the condescension with which the new generations are allowed to lean out at the table of the elders. Their nervousness is black highlighting over the immaculate white of the experience of others, perceived from miles away.
It seems that arriving late was the right thing to do, because the previous procedures are delayed, as planned, as happens every year. There is a group of new residents listening with their eyes wide open and their brains giving smoke to their companions, writing down the characteristics of each tutor, of each health center and doctor’s office. It is a conclave to which access is forbidden to anyone who does not wear the cardinal’s resident chapel, an initiation rite where the most confessable secrets of those privileged who sleep in the Olympus of the tutors are burned at the stake, but who, like the ancient gods, keep dark secrets, badly disguised weaknesses, defects that break divine harmony, and that can only be transmitted by word of mouth in whispers that should never leave that room.
And while the candidacies to Pope and to devil, and to the acolytes of both, are distributed, a small representation of that bonfire of tutorial vanities patiently waits for them to be given the foot to make their triumphal entrance before the trembling lambs, some paid from their superiority, others calm in the daily life and he, apparently only he, nervous before the court that he believes will judge him mercilessly according to the dark and unwritten laws by which those young puppies choose tutor.
And in his nervousness, the inexperienced candidate begins to talk to the most veteran of them all, someone who was already able when he was one of those voting puppies, and tells him the endless number of ideas he has if finally elected, tells him projects and dreams, hopes and visions, with the ardour of naivety, with that hint of candidness that has everything revolutionary, while the old tutor smiles with the smile that excites enthusiasm when he is sincere, and lets him finish the nervous verbiage, because if there is something that you of age it is tempo. So when the embers of the fireworks are extinguished, with the softest voice he can put and the real desire to be as harmless as possible, he nods and says:
– All that is phenomenal, but in the end they will choose me, do you know why? Because I’m in the city and you’re in a town half an hour from the hospital.
The doctor takes a few seconds to fit the crochet to the jaw, and in those seconds in which he staggers over the canvas, the doors of the conclave are opened, the cardinals parade greeting the waiters, who joke about the little miseries they hope have remained in the drawers, as they head to the ward. The young doctor still sounding seems to have regained his determination while taking his place, but a glance is enough to realize that the last trace of candidness of his internal revolution has been taken away by the memory that had almost forgotten the day when it was he who was sitting on the other side and all the practical, logical, sensible, cold reasons, without a hint of romanticism, without a hint of rebellion, without a hint of beautiful madness, that had led him to make the choice he made at the time.
So he listens to his companions speak, he hears them introduce themselves, he envies their ease, the security of having their seat reserved at the table of the chosen ones, and when his turn comes, he still wants to believe that there is room for his enthusiasm, to welcome some insurgent with his head full of birds, and he releases his speech like a James Stewart in Knight without a sword before the American Senate, with such vehemence that at the end of an instant he almost waited for an audience standing on its feet, applauding sickly.