by Elia Bonci
Elia Bonci is an Italian trans writer and activist, author of the novel Controcuore. Elia shared the following extract of Controcuore with Trans_Muted - 'Strategy B612'.
was thinking about you all night. I would put my face under my pillow and then clench my eyes shut, my teeth tight. I was trying to fasten the sound of your voice in my mind, a celestial melody that takes me to paradise, never to be forgotten. Then that damned pain arose once more, like the bile stopping a moment before burning my throat.
I wake up and feel different, a little lighter. You must have really done my heart good, you. I'm brushing my teeth and my head is tilted towards the sink. I've been brushing my teeth like this for twenty years, to avoid looking at myself. Avoiding the mirror as soon as you open your eyes is the rule. Because you can't fall as soon as you wake up. You have just opened your eyes and you are full of dreams, full of life and still the world does not weigh on your shoulders as it always does. You can't afford to look in the mirror in the morning if you are a transgender boy. You have to be strong. Still, today I would like to look at myself, I would really like to see what I look like, what men look like after meeting you. After meeting you, who makes everything clearer and cleaner in the world. But I don't look at myself, my drama is not yet over and I can't find the courage. I keep my head down and point my eyes fixed in the sink drain where I see the water disappear. I run a hand over the smooth skin of my cheeks. Not even a thread of beard covers my face and I suffer for it. I have been awake not even fifteen minutes and already I feel tired, my mind bombarded with thoughts. The only good thing is you, knowing that I can meet you again today.
Phase number two of the war strategy, which I call STRATEGY B612, begins when I drag myself in front of the mirror, as if I were a lifeless body. I have named it after the planet in ‘The Little Prince’, because just like him, I would like to feel protected and loved on my own ground, in my own body. It is here that I begin to compress, to eliminate, to suffocate and to take away the excess. I look at my feet, I look up to my neck but I don't dare looking at my eyes. I slip on the breast binder that makes me feel a little more like a man. I squeeze the binder until it compresses my lungs and I think it's bloody wrong but I can't stop myself. Maybe I want to choke on it. I put on a T-shirt and a pair of tight jeans and almost feel OK. But then I see them, those damn hips, that bastard belly that life gave me to hold another life. But what do I do with it, if I don't even want my own life? What do I do with this burden I carry on my belly? I do nothing, I remain motionless and then a tear falls. Every morning, on the right side of my cheek, one and only one. It must be that my heart has become a block of stone and nothing scratches it anymore. Not even suffering like this. I wipe away the tear by sliding my finger down my face. I like to imagine that I am drawing a black line like soldiers who go to war in the movies. I am ready for my battle and I smile. I slip on my black Vans, always untied. Bending down to tie them up would hurt, I would feel my breasts compress between the band and my chest and all my convictions and efforts would collapse in a huff. If I stumble so much I get up again, by now I am used to falling face first to the ground.
Translator: Ilaria Casciello
Publishing house: New Book Edizioni
Author: Elia Bonci