Franco Battiato sounds at Paula's house. It's seven o'clock in the afternoon and just a few rays of light. That feeling of loneliness likes it as much as it anguishes him. It reminds him of those afternoons he spent listening to "Centro di gravità permanente" sitting in front of the window. At the time, I was in my twenties and studying architecture. He did it in Palermo, where he always wanted to live, leaving behind the comfort of Madrid and the tranquility of his family. He grabbed a small suitcase, kept a few discs and planted himself in a new city. Now, three years later, he has returned to reunite with Marco, a young Italian who upset all his plans upon arrival. He met him on the steps of the Teatro Massimo. He sold yellow roses and she was late for the opera. He was running so fast that he did not see him pass. So they collided. From that simple brush of his hands came a spark that he could never control again. His honey-colored eyes gave him all the security that was missing and what, in principle, seemed an unfortunate bump ended up becoming the most important adventure of his life. "Che non mi faccia mai cambiare idea sulle cose sulla gente", he sang in her ear a few months later and just before catching the plane back to Spain. Since then, he has not heard from him again. Neither his look nor his flowers. For that reason, he has returned to the place where they met in the hope of getting stumbled again and making that anecdote the perfect excuse to be reconquered. He has it clear, although he still does not know if he will dare to carry it out. «I only ask you to send me a signal. It's been a long time and I do not know if he'll remember me. What should I do? "He writes in a letter to Juliet. He needs his advice and can not wait any longer. On the other side of the paper, it is Esther who reads it.
She is one of the few women in the world who has been able to put herself in the shoes of this Capulet. Every day, he receives the letters from those who ask for advice from the popular lady of Shakespeare and, as a tale of the sixteenth century, he answers them in his own hand. It is one of her personal secretaries and, although the myth of Juliet continues to flutter over our heads, each time she sends a response it becomes a little more real. Almost all of them arrive in Verona by postal mail. Some with such short addresses as: «Juliet, Verona, Italy» or «Juliet, Shakespeare, Italy». Once there, the Club di Giulietta is in charge of receiving them, organizing them by language and distributing them among their collaborators. Esther is the only Spanish. «Nine years ago, I myself wrote to ask for advice. And, although at the beginning I did not pay much attention to it, over time I realized that it was the best they could give me. This is my particular way of returning the favor, "says this 44-year-old from Jerez. He did just see "Letters to Juliet", the film in which Amanda Seyfried finds, in the famous courtyard, a text written 50 years ago. It's from Grandma Claire that, even though it's been so long, she's still looking for her lost love in adolescence: "I do not know how your story ended, but if what you felt was true love, then it's never too late."
«No one knows my identity»
That intense feeling has not yet arisen in Esther. "I'm single, yes," he jokes. «I have never had luck in love: who I fall in love with does not like me and who loves me I do not like it. Still, I do not lose the hope of finding it someday. Maybe it is not coherent that someone who has not been fortunate to give advice about it, but I think the sticks they have given me have helped me to get ahead. " Therefore, understand all those who suffer and try to advise them as best you can. In all your letters, always leave something of itself. He talks to you one on one. Being aware that, in reality, there are more similarities than differences between them. So many that the emotional bond saves a little bit of the 300 letters he has answered since April 2017. In total, more than 50,000 arrive in the Italian city, of which around 10,000 are answered. «The time I dedicate to them depends on each one. The majority comes from Argentina, Mexico and Spain and, in terms of ages, they range from adolescents of 13 years to adults of 60, "he adds. In fact, the worries are also different: the young people fear not being pretty enough, the 30-year-olds do not want to be left alone and the elders seek to solve their problems as a couple. "Do you think there are people who will never find a partner?" Pablo insists. "How should I act if I find it again," Angela urges.
Like Esther, Shakespeare never visited Verona, but managed to recreate to perfection one of the sweetest and most tragic love stories ever told: "Romeo and Juliet." With the dream of recreating that atmosphere, Ettore Solimani decided to respond to the first letter that was found in the tomb of the girlfriend in 1935: this is how the Club was born and a tradition that is now international was established. «I do not respond directly. It is my Italian colleagues who send my reflections. No one knows my identity or that I write from Seville, "he maintains. Magic is above all. For if there are two symbols of eternal love in this Valentine are precisely the protagonists of the masterpiece of the English playwright. As one of his verses says, both were born under unfavorable stars, and although his love did not have a happy ending, his death purified and banished the hatred of the heart of Capulets and Montagues. "Sometimes, more than giving advice, it's about giving encouragement and strength," concludes Esther, who responds to Paula as if she were one of her friends. From Palermo, she still does not know very well what to do. Maybe she just needs to tell a stranger her story, someone who does not judge her. Because, after all, love gives us life. And his absence kills a little each day.