Elena M. Wagner
MILANO, Corso Venezia. I remembered this man. And his dog. And maybe, I especially remembered the two blue (like the blanket) heart-shaped bowls. After three weeks, I walk this way again and I see him again. I meet him just before Piazza San Babila: he’s sitting at the usual place and leaning his back against the wall, covered by a giant billboard, of a new store. He looks like 50 years old, more or less. This time I get close and I drop a few coins in the bowl. He’s reading a book but I can’t see the title. He stops reading and looks up:
– I remember you. Are you here for a long time?
– About four months.
– Where are you from?
– Russia, St. Petersburg.
– And how long have you been in Italy for?
– Almost two years. I spent one year in Venice and then I came to Milan. I was an orchestra leader. I can play the piano. – While he’s talking to me, he stands up and then he moves his hands pretending to touch the keyboard of a piano. – But in Milan I found a job in advertising, I was working on the computer. Then I lost the job and I did not found anything else. And now I’m here with Romeo. He is Italian and we speak in Italian. – He smiles. – We’ve been together for nine months.
– And what’s your name?
– Alexander Sasha. And yours?
– We’ll give you something Elena, Romeo and I. – He bends down to go through his bag. – Here our photo, we took it a few weeks ago.
He gives me a black and white picture of them smiling. It was shot right here, in this point of Corso Venezia, and in the background there is a little piece of Piazza San Babila. Behind the photo, a date written in pencil: 30/5/2011.
– What a beautiful, thank you. Can I also take a picture of you? Do you mind?
– Sure, why not? Standing or sitting?
– Up to you.
Thus Alexander sits again next to his Romeo. The leash is always well tied to his wrist, even if – I’m sure – Romeo would never leave his Alexander. So I snap a few pictures that I promise to give them the next time we will meet again.
Alexander & Romeo – 8th July 2011 in Milan, Corso Venezia near San Babila