The Palm celebrations left a bitter aftertaste in his mouth, like the one Father Fulgenzio described to him when the peach stones, the ones he found before one of them sent him to the other world, when he split the body to extract the soul toxic and almondy, the same flavor he felt as a child, when his mother prepared him orgeat syrup diluted with water and hydrolytin, when on Sundays he went to buy the “presa” from the grocer.

It was not so much that waving of twigs that annoyed him, as it had annoyed Don Antonio, his predecessor, the one who blessed the green while cursing the faithful

Come ahead, you sheep! The church is so big. Where are you in the evening when I say the rosary?”

Rather the thought that the blessed olive tree was transformed into the impalpable powder, after burning, with which to sprinkle the head of the parishioners on Ash Wednesday.

He consoled himself with the fact that the days were getting longer and that he would have more light available to read in the improvised garden in front of the gate.

He had taken up some chapters of Alessandro Manzoni’s novel, those where female figures were mostly present, including the Nun of Monza. He had even found a poorly printed and poorly bound booklet, which contained the passages removed from the definitive edition of 1840 and which concerned the Unfortunate.

The following day, Easter Monday, Don Fiorentino went down to the church early in order to arrange the confessional that would welcome the whispering of the pious women, intent on shelling out sins like rosary beads and which consisted of unlikely fornications, exchanges of dreams with reality and, more generally, non-existent things.

However, they were very present and alive in the mind of those who whispered them in his ear, through the old sanded grating of the kneeler. After all, the Confession was the first form of psychoanalysis known to man.

Don Fiorentino did not despise the psychoanalytic approach, far from it, but he was skeptical of its actual effectiveness. People could not go to analysis twice a week for decades to get better.

The suffering was at that precise moment and the thought that it could last even ten years troubled him. And then, what did it mean to interpret dreams? If there was something that bothered those nights when he slept it was dreaming. He was convinced that dreams were of no use except to give some sleep apnea to the restless and some occasional pollution to young children. However, he was determined to go back to bed, if not to sleep again, at least to stretch out his legs and get relief from that pain in his liver, which was becoming more acute every day.

So, when after dinner he went back to the church to bless the host and the wine for the Easter celebrations, he almost did not notice the short, elongated envelope that someone must have left, somehow, on the balustrade.

He opened it without paying attention, convinced as he was that he would find alms for the poor or an anonymous letter, of the kind he received every now and then and which carried, in uncertain handwriting but with unequivocal content, sentences like “Robbering priests. The masses for the deceased are not paid!”

He, Don Fiorentino, agreed with the unknown writers of those words. However, he preferred to accept the generous remuneration for the office, just to leave the faithful with the illusion of having bought Paradise. After all, it was not the soul of their deceased that needed to be saved, but their own. And so they did penance. And so the pink banknotes had the flavor of Hail Marys and Glory Bes to be recited and imposed as sanctions for less serious sins.

Once he had taken out the old, pale yellow paper from the anonymously greyish wrapping, Don Fiorentino was overcome by a sort of ancestral anxiety. He unfolded the paper, which had come to him upside down and read:

Mom died today. Angela.”

He rushed into his room, lit the cigar which vanished in large clouds of thick smoke, turned the desk upside down, saving only the ink bottle, and prepared to write.

Dear Manzoni,

Sciùr Lisander,

I am not proud of my spiritual laziness, but I am not proud of yours either. So, tell me why, except in rare cases, the women you describe in your wonderful novel are all so dull and self-absorbed that they all appear the same. Oh, yes, good housewives, of course, those good matrons who give birth to children to be sent to the fields or at most to bring capons to the Azzeccagarbugli on duty to curry favor.

Blondel, who you married in the odor of conversion, from the portraits that have come down to us, must not have been that great, either as a woman or as a mother. Tell me, in addition to ironing your dirty and smelly urine-smelling panties and underwear, is it possible that you have never cooked anything appetizing, ironed with love, a handkerchief cleaned and washed from the remnants of your humours but, above all, educated and corrected your children, by showing the non-existence of a passage in the shadow that you seem to have every intention of encouraging?

Ah, certainly not, dear Sciùr Lisander, you are a devotee of God, because God is above all a father, as you are. However no, dear Manzoni, God is a mother, and the death of the mother is the death of God, of every faith, hope or charity you want to talk about. And her mother denied her. Free-spirited? Of course. Ask that poor frustrated guy from Pindemonte.

However by denying Your mother you have denied God. The Lord is with prostitutes. And prostitutes have their many sins forgiven because they loved so much. However, you do not love at all. You embraced a burden of rules and impositions and, believing yourself to be the Cyrenean, yopu carried it with you throughout the journey of your life, which certainly did not have to be a Calvary, up to the comfortable cross of your advanced age.

Today my mother died. God died today. Lacrymosa dies illa!

With deep diregard.