There was nothing normal about the day he was killed. But no day had been normal for quite a while, so his murder wasn’t entirely unexpected. Ominous signs, panic attacks, anxiety, and even tears had become my parents’ constant companions. No one could say exactly when it started. Or maybe they could. Perhaps it was the evening that my father came home, shaken, and announced, “Gemma, Pinelli is dead.” Or the day that graffiti calling my father “Commissario Assassino”–Inspector Murder–started to appear on walls throughout the city. Or the morning that the ferocious press campaign began, filled with violence, sarcasm, threats, promises, and taunts. And then there were the political cartoons. Not long after I was born, the newspaper for the militant left, Lotta Continua, printed one in which my father is holding me in his arms, intent on teaching me how to use a toy guillotine to decapitate a doll representing an anarchist.
The details that I have collected over the years and filed away in my memory have transformed an ordinary day into a fateful one. Foretold. Almost expected.
You could say that my parents had been preparing for the tragedy to explode for some time. Unconsciously. Almost irrationally. When I try to imagine those moments today, those days of wavering between composure and despair, I find it hard to breathe. I struggle to understand how we were able to survive. First together, as a family. And then my mother, by herself.