8. Our Generation

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On Friday we decided to skip school. Dario just showed up in my room at 7am, fell on my bed and said "we're not going to school today". I nodded with my eyes still closed and he fell asleep. He didn't explain anything, but he didn't need to. I knew him and he knew me and he knew that my basketball match today meant a lot to me. He knew that my dad would have come to pick me up from school before 11 and he knew that his parents would never do that and he would miss the game. It was the first of the season and it's not like it mattered because I was a competitive guy or some shit, it mattered because I loved basketball. It mattered because I loved the adrenaline and the energy of a heated crowded court.

My mum woke us up at 10am. Sometimes she worked at home in her pyjamas, alone with her computer and cheap candles that smelled like shampoo.

"I need them to focus," she said. "Translating a book is like writing one."

I rolled my eyes with a smile, "Yeah sure, mum. Whatever makes you happy."

She frowned teasingly and put her arm on her hip. She always did that when she was angry but not really, laughing but not really. "Someone's feeling a little cocky this morning, huh? Dario, how can you even stand this guy?"

Dario shrugged, playing along. "Sometimes I don't even know myself, ma'am."

"Oh shut up," I pushed him. He started laughing and my mum smiled. Sometimes I hated how these two teamed up against me, they were supposed to be both on my side.

"Come on now, stop messing around and eat. I didn't let you skip school so you can lose the game."

"It's not about winning," I said. "It's about having fun."

"Yeah, yeah," she muttered, "don't tell me you actually believe that shit."

We ate our cereal and we drank our milk and my mum gave us a ride to the gym. Gaia was there. She skipped school too. She was there for me and she was rooting for me and god that shirt she wore was so beauti – oh fuck. They scored another goal. Those bastards. If they thought they could use my distraction and win the game while I lost myself in the paradise of Gaia Monforte, they were wrong.

5 – 3. We won. Like I knew we would. We went to celebrate at a restaurant because everyone was dying of hunger. It was my sweaty teammates, Gaia, Dario and I. Usually these type of events were exclusive only for the team, but Dario was like everyone's brother, even if they had known him for a day, and Gaia, well, she was Gaia, you'd have to be blind to object her presence. We had a no girls policy when it came to our basketball team parties, bu she was an exception. She wore Chicago Bulls shirts and she ate like an animal and she sat like a guy and her hoarse voice was like a melody when she cursed. I knew it was stupid to be jealous of my teammates who had no chance with her and who didn't know her as much as I did and I knew she would forget their names the following week, but god damn it she was so different with them. I wondered why she was never so nice and cool when she was with me. Still indifferent and brutally honest, she was more playful when she talked to them. When she talked to any other guy that wasn't me.

We spent the day together and it was alright, I guess. But when the clock struck midnight, the real fun began. We ate like pigs and with our stomachs full, we roamed around the city like a theatre troupe. We called other friends that brought other friends and between vicoli, we rolled some joints and smoked and drank. And it was fun. Blurry faces surrounded me and there was this girl that wanted to wear my hoodie and sit on my knees and she smelled too much of vanilla and almost made me puke. Dario couldn't stand on his feet and his eyes were red like the sunset sky, and so many girls laughed at his jokes and he didn't touch even a single one.

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