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Dottoré!

Delusions Of Grandfather

"And where is your grandson?" — "Who knows. He must be old by now."

Delusions Of Grandfather
Mariateresa Fichele

“Dottorè, do you know that I am a grandpa?”

When Gennaro told me this, at first I thought he was being delusional. But then I looked into his eyes: They were lucid — not because of the drugs his psychiatric treatment required, but from some strong emotion, something real that had at last lit up in his gaze.

Gennaro had to have a grandchild somewhere, and therefore also a child.

Yet, he had spent his life in a psychiatric hospital until 1994, and when he left the hospital, there was no trace of his previous life.

"And where is your grandson?"

"Who knows. He must be old by now. Maybe he's a grandfather himself. I've only seen him once: My son brought him to meet me outside the Leonardo Bianchi psychiatric hospital, when it was still open. He was ashamed to bring the baby there, it was the first and last time he came to see me.


“He told me, ‘Do you see that? He looks just like you!’

“I should have been proud, but instead I ran away, because I was afraid. Afraid that maybe, besides my looks, that baby had inherited my mind too.

“But I dream about him at night. He's not crazy and he's doing well. And he asks me, ‘Why don’t you leave that place? I am waiting for you!’

“And I answer: ‘Genná, I’m coming, don’t worry!’ Because, Dottoré, in my dreams my grandchild has my name, Gennaro, and he knows that I am his grandfather, and he loves me.”


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