THE LAST CALL
She had long contacted that association___FOR CITIZEN’S RIGHTS____which claimed to be able tohelp people who were suffering psychiatric abuse and other malpractices by health care. She was suffering much more than abuse. Since too much time she had been subjected to a dictatorship, which probably wasn’t only psychiatry to inflict her. That it was a very unjust and very much oppressive dictatorship, however, there was no doubts. And in this overpowering regime, that denied her the most basic rights, the much celebrated and self celebrating psychiatric service had ( played) an important, indeed strong, role.
Nicole had spoken to those of FOR CITIZEN’S RIGHTS on the phone, she had sent them emails to which they had always replied. Sure, she needed help. She couldn’t stand being subjected to a surveillance regime 24 hours a day. The truly aberrant regime to which she was subjected , in any place she would be, yes, even when she was walking on the street, did not limit itself to a continuous surveillance, it intervened in her life, in what she decided to do, it hindered her.
But there was even worse. They , those of the abject regime, had come, she did know how it was possible, to make her suffer even physical violence, such as blows on her head, wounds on the fingers of her hands, compressions of legs and other parts of her body, and all this happened when she was in a room , under a roof, among four walls. It was something that really drove you crazy.
If she dared to protest with those who should have been her family, it was even worse. She received a burst of psychological violence capable of landing a building, but even a mountain, while there was no lack of beating, as she was shouted that those were all her fixations, that there was no regime, that there was no controls or mistreatments acted on her.
As when she had tried to denounce what was being inflicted on her, even then, the result, after having to be said: “ Here there is nothing to denounce”, had been that the regime had become more cruel, it had raged even more on her.
From the association ___FOR CITIZENS’ RIGHTS___they had always listened to her, they had always answered her, they had also advised her about what she could do. Then she had undergone a forced hospitalization. She had been locked up in the psychiatric ward. Oh, and to think that in the wonderful country where she lived, they were so many very respectable people, not only the psychiatrists, who boasted of having abolished asylums!
The forced hospitalization had been carried out as a very kidnapping. With the presence of armed municipal police officers. Oh, but sure, when you make a kidnapping, you have to be armed. With the injunction: either you come of your free will, or we take you away by force. In the ward when she had been locked up, she had felt very bad, so bad that she had thought she was going to die. She had been so much bad, probably because of some substance , perhaps drugs, that had been given to her. She, terrified, had still called on phone that association___FOR CITIZENS’RIGHTS___where she had found the voice mail. She had recorded her message: “ They locked me up , here in the psychiatric ward. I feel so much bad, that I think I will not go out alive from here. Do something, please” No one had replied to that request for help from her. Yet, until then, they, of the association ___FOR CITIZENS’ RIGHTS___had always answered her phone calls, and they had called her soon after when she had left her message on the answering machine. Here, since then , when she was still locked up in the prison ward, from which she had truly thought she would never come out alive_____she had already seen ( figured) herself put into those big , dark bags, swollen with what they contained, that she had seen taken out of the hospital stealthily….oh, but sure, she would not only have been taken out, she would have been made disappear_____(since then,) Nicole, after leaving that prison ward, she had tried several times to get in touch with For Citizens’ Rights, without ever succeeding in it. Every time she had phoned, she had found the answering machine. Every time she had left her message, her request for help. She had begged, implored they would call her back. But they had never called her back. The same ( thing) had happened with the emails she had sent them. No reply. Then Nicole had gotten a new cell ( mobile) phone, with a new number , with which ( from which) she called For Citizens’Rights. And she again had found the answering machine, where she had left her heartfelt requests for help, to which no one answered. Her phone calls went always unanswered, exactly as her emails. What to do? Nicole decided to resort to ordinary mail.
She wrote a letter asking WHY she had not been able to get in touch with them . She was anxious to know if her messages on the answering machine, and the emails she had sent them, if they had listened them, read them. In her letter she still asked for help. She also asked to be able to meet someone of them in person. Then she ( Nicole) sent her letter as registered ( letter) with acknowledgment of receipt. But, although she had received the receipt, confirming her letter had been delivered to the addressee , she did not received even one word of reply from FOR CITIZENS’RIGHTS. Nicole was much more than worried, she was scared. She needed help urgently. The regime to which she was subjected became more and more oppressive. Not to mention that she was curious, impatient to know WHY they, from For Citizens’ Rights, never had answered her phone calls, her emails, her letter too. She couldn’t figure out if her requests for help had not reached them, or if they had reached them , and it was they, of FOR CITIZENS’RIGHTS , who had not answered, or, rather, it was their answers that hadn’t reached her. She had to know how things were. The address of their headquarters, the one to which she had sent her letter, she knew it. Their headquarters was in Milan, a city almost far from where she lived. However one day Nicole took the train to Milan early in the morning. During the journey she had not only the sensation of being under close surveillance by officials or…servants of the abject regime that oppressed her, that crashed her. So she was with her heart in her throat for the whole journey . She was really afraid of being killed before she got off the train. Nicole got off at the Central Station and she took a taxi to go to the headquarters of FOR CITIZENS’RIGHTS, which was almost near, but she feared that if she went on foot, they would at least attack her to prevent her reaching her destination. The headquarters of the association was in a narrow, almost dark street, crowded of old buildings. Well, she rush at number 17 in via Rosmini. But where she had been sure she had found the office of ___For Citizens’ Rights___there was instead a clothing shore. Bewildered, dismayed, Nicole had asked those who passed by on the street, and in the nearby bar, she had also entered the clothing store to ask where the headquarters of the association had moved., since she knew it had to be there, at number 17, in via Rosmini. The answers she received disconcerted her even more. Oh, but what was she saying? But what association she was talking about? They had never known of the existence of an association called…how would it be called ? Citizens’ Rights? Ah, never heard of it. Was she sure she wasn’t wrong? Indeed there was also someone who asked her if she felt bad, looking at her as if she were raving. She felt terrified, shocked. But how? She had made that long journey in vain? Indeed it was even worse. She had left looking for help and here, even there, hundreds of kilometers away, she was considered a poor madwoman (fool), just like in the damned city where she lived. Embittered and frightened, Nicole hurried away, almost ran away from that street, walking towards the station, where she would have taken the first train that left, for where it didn’t matter. If there had been a place where she didn’t have to suffer the oppression of the abject regime which continued to tear her life, she would have gone THERE.
Just before entering the station she felt herself being pulled by the elbow. A small, old woman, all bent over, folded in on herself, who moved with difficulty, indeed she barely stood upright, was staring up at Nicole, pointing her straight nose and outstretched chin at her. “ Hey, listen to me” the old woman said, in a faint, yet shrill voice “I heard you when you were looking for…for Citizens’ Rights headquarters ….ah, what bastards all those you asked , there in the street…they told you that they had never even heard of…this association. Ah! Do you know why they said you it?” Nicole , shaking her head, looked , completely in disbelief, at the small old woman. “ Ah, it was ( had been) they, people who live in that street, who have their shops in that street, who had sent away that association which you are looking for! It was ( had been ) they who made the office of the Citizens’ Rights to be closed. Do you understand why those bastard people had said you (that) they had never heard of this association?”
The old woman grabbed Nicole by the elbow again. “ Oh, but WHY those people send them away? Why were they able to make their headquarters to be closed? HOW could they, people of that street, do it?” “ Eh, HOW…it doesn’t matter how…What matters is that they managed to send them ( the Citizens’ Rights) away….Eh, those people accused them ( those of F.C.R.) of fraud and other crimes…of course they were all made-up accusations. Ah, but you know how these things go….They, those of the F.C. R. had to leave, had to shut down” “ Oh, and I need their help so much…I wonder how I will do, now” Nicole complained. “ Ah, my dear, I came after you just for this ( that’s why I came after you)” The old woman said, with a sudden flash in her little eyes, shot out. “ They, those fine ( good) people of the For Citizens’Rights____ah, I knew them and I can assure that they are very good people____( they) had to close not only their office, they also had to end their association, and therefore all that it dealt with…” She, Nicole looked dazed, astonished at the small old woman who stopped talking and, remaining silent, put a finger on her mouth. Then, with a snap of her back, she tried to straighten up, and she blew her ( Nicole), in a whisper that seemed a whistle : “ Oh, sure, officially they had to close ….but, here it is..” the old woman put her hand in the pocket of her long, large skirt and took out a little piece of paper, which she, with her trembling hand, reached out ( handled I to Nicole. “HERE, here ‘s the phone number to get in touch with them…Ah, not many people know it…it is a secret number, do you understand? “ Nicole nodded. “ Well, I know only their phone number. How, where you can meet them, they will say you…Good luck, my dear” The old woman said her, before , all bent and contracted, taking a few steps to get on board a big black car, leaving her stiff.
Nicole immediately called the number written on that piece of paper. Oh , this time finally they answered her. It was not the answering machine voice that she heard, but that of a woman who said her name was Mary. She, Mary, wanted to know first of all, how Nicole had gotten that number of phone. Nicole told that she had come to Milan , to their headquarters, since for years she had no longer been able to get in touch with them. They, in fact, had never answered her phone calls, or her messages, or her emails, and she, needed very much help….Oh, she hadn’t understood WHY they , for years, had stopped to answer her requests for help….. As Nicole kept talking, frantically, anxiously, her telling became more and more tangled. Mary, after having listened to her, insisted again with her question: she wanted to know how she, Nicole, had gotten that phone number, that is, WHO had given it to her? She, Nicole, as if she didn’t care about that question, or as if she didn’t even hear it, kept telling again oh, how much bad she felt when, after the long journey she had faced, since she needed urgently their help , she hadn’t found their headquarters there, at its address… As if the For Citizens Rights was gone! Indeed, as if their association had never existed! Mary had to repeat her question several times before Nicole spoke of the small old woman , who had approached her in front of the station, and who had given her their phone number…Ah, the old woman had said it was a secret number…
After Mary got ( had gotten) the answer to her crucial question, she seemed very willing to listen to Nicole and to what she was asking. But , of course, they remembered her, she assured Nicole. But she did not answer Nicole, who kept asking if her emails, her messages on the answering machine had been received by them. She needed to know it! Nicole cried. But Mary didn’t even seem to hear her repeated question. Then Nicole, breathlessly, more and more impatient , began shouting that she needed help ! But she needed urgently help! Oh, they, of the For Citizens Rights could help her, couldn’t they? She could count only on them to try to escape the oppression, the absolute domination of the abject regime that was( had been) inflicted on her. Nicole asked to be able to see them, to meet them. Where they were? Could she go to them? Mary said her that she couldn’t give her their address. In fact, in order to be able to meet each other, many precautions had to be taken. Since she( Nicole) was subjected to a regime that controlled her step by step, and they__of the F.C.R.___had to worry of not attracting the attention of those who had made not only their headquarters to be closed down, but also their association ( to be ended). However, Mary had then said, they would find a way for her ( Nicole) to meet them. But precautions needed to be taken. She had to arm herself with patience, not be in a hurry , and she would be able to meet them. Where was she now? Yeah, she was at the station. Well, from there she had to go to Vittorio Emanuele square. When she arrived in that square, she had to call them again, and they would say her which way to take to be able to go to them . Mary also advised her to take the longest and most tortuous way to reach Vottorio Emanuele square, in order to be able to confuse, and even lose those who followed her. For the same reason, during her walk, she had to stop , from time to time, and , to disappear from those who followed her, she had to enter doorway of some building, such as a church.
Nicole followed the instructions , so it took a long time for her to reach that. square. Among other things , she was not at all sure that she had not been followed. And this concern, indeed fear, was the first thing she said to them ( those of the F.C.R.) when she called them from Vittorio Emanuele square. Even who answered her____this time was a male voice, who said his name was Peter____ seemed very concerned that Nicole had been followed. Ah, she had to be patient. The precautions that had to be taken were never too many. They, For Citizens’ Rights, they were under fire. Peter said her that she had to go back to the central station and get on a departing regional train, from which she had to get off at the first station. “ Oh, aren’t you in Milan? Isn’t it in Milan that I have to meet you? Didn’t you say that it is in Milan that I would meet you?” Nicole asked, more and more disoriented and very upset. Ah, she didn’t have to worry, Peter said. As soon as she got off the train at the next ( closest) station she had to call them again , and she finally could meet them . She, Nicole came back by taxi to the Central Station , and she boarded the regional train leaving for Mantua. She remained standing on the train, ready to stand off at the first station at which it would stop. Her cell phone rang. They were calling her, the For Citizens’ Rights. They said her that she should not get off the train she was on. “ But how? But then I won’t see you? Oh, then how am I going to meet you?” Nicole, very upset, asked.
Just at that moment the train doors opened in front of her and a violent push knocked her off the train.