All dying couples look for practical things that would give more substance to their unity. The gravity of the action depends on how inconsiderate they are: Some of them go and get a dog, others buy things – a house, a bigger car -, some get married, others open a shared bank account, but the thoughtless majority do the worst possible thing: they procreate.
When you suddenly find yourself with this thing in your hands – be it a puppy, a baby, a property certificate, a bible-long signed contract from the bank – you realize what you really care for. I guess that this is what happened to my parents when I was born.
Because I served as a big bang – after me, galaxies started drifting apart and getting bigger and bigger. They were completely unprepared to this and so it took them some time to fuck everything up in a more consistent and definitive way. I became a huge battlefield, trenches and all, for their recriminations. Obviously, what they hated in each other was exactly what they had first fallen in love with.
“Don’t smile so much” – said my father, because my mother’s smile was her most distinctive feature. “Don’t be so gloomy” – said my mother, because my father’s gravity was what she had first liked about him. Their sole purpose, for a few years, became the erasing of the other’s influence from my character. At age 5, I was discrete (you must be, with single parents), mature, obedient, never disturbed the peace and was used at being wrong, whatever I did and no matter how hard I tried.
At the moment of its biggest expansion, when I was 11 and we were about to move to Italy, my family was thus composed:
It was a real mess at Christmas.
After that, it started shrinking. When we left the country, my dad stayed in Bulgaria; my mother died 7 years later; and then a few of my grandparents, and so on. Nothing endured, nothing withstood the strain. The parental kind of love died away with time, everybody always had some very important work to do and postponed and procrastinated. So I unconsciously looked for a sit-com sort of putative family. Just anybody could do the trick, as long as they respected certain rules.
From high-school years till the verge of the age of reason, all my friends were from 10 to 15 years older than me. They all formed happy couples: softly spoken, harmonious, patient. He was always tall and strong, she was usually well dressed and very feminine, or intellectually stimulating. And I wanted to be like her, I wanted her to love me and approve of me, with all the subtle and hostile competition psychodynamics you usually put in place with your mother when you’re a teenager (“I can be like you, only better”).
Their authority was unquestionable. The power forces: completely unequal. And the more confounding the whole relationship became, the more I strived to conform to it – until I finally got rid of the phallic stage, some 20 years too late. I guess that this is the reason why I love Woody Allen so much. And also why I’m doomed to act like a five-year-old, now that I’m past thirty: it’s because when I was five I acted like a thirty-year-old.