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Photo of an ambulance entering a Naples hospital

At the entrance of a Naples hospital

Mariateresa Fichele

Ciro was waiting for me at the hospital entrance. He had been told the psychiatrist was coming.

"Dottoré, please let me come up with you, I need to see him and tell him I love him."

Two days earlier, he had found his father lying in a pool of blood. He did not understand why his father had done it, he just couldn’t wrap his head around it.

Because his father, Antonio, was a decent person. A hard worker.

Then the pandemic hit. His job as a street seller did not earn him enough to feed four children. So he had to turn to loan sharks.


But the payment deadline came. And it was a definitive one.

Antonio had woken up in the middle of the night, desperate, and decided to get out of the way to spare his children a whole lot of trouble.

But then his son Ciro found him in time, and saved his life.

When we went upstairs, father and son hugged each other without a word, and remained silent for quite a while.

“Ciro, the problem now is that I'll have to look you in the eye and atone for what I have done. And from then on, there will always be a wall between us."

"Papà, walls only serve one purpose in a house where there is love: to hang pictures on them."

Learn more about Worldcrunch's exclusive Dottoré! series here.

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