Author: Antonio DIsi
Yesterday, I turned forty, without even realizing it. My life has become an endless sequence of days and nights, of bicycle deliveries, all dictated by an unrelenting app.
Every morning, I wake up not knowing what the day holds. The only clue is my smartphone, incessantly vibrating, announcing new orders to deliver. I am a rider, a modern-day knight. I pedal through busy streets and hidden alleys, delivering pizzas, sandwiches, or Chinese food to strangers who only smile if I arrive on time.
My phone is my clock, my calendar, my employer. I have no boss to look me in the eye, no office to go to. I work for a digital entity, an algorithm that decides my fate. I have no colleagues to joke with or coffee breaks to share. My life has become an endless race, a struggle to survive in the eternal present.
My nights are dark, lit only by the blue glow of my cellphone. Notifications keep coming without respite, and I pedal like a solitary ghost through the city’s streets. The past is blurred, and the future is an enigma. I have no time to reflect on who I used to be or who I could become, trapped in an endless today.
Tonight, I’m waiting for calls on a bench in Peace Square, the red one that seems to call out for tranquility. There’s a lamppost nearby, and during the wait, I can read. I take out an envelope I found in the mailbox this morning as I left home. It’s the electricity bill. I open it and stare at the amount with incredulous eyes. It’s enormous, a debt I won’t be able to pay or justify with my frantic existence.
I sit for a moment, thinking. It could have been the dinner with friends, I tell myself. We were at my place, cooking and joking, laughing like we did back in university. I had the oven on because I wanted to prepare dishes I hadn’t eaten in ages. Eggplant Parmesan like my grandmother used to make it. Lasagna from that restaurant in the Spanish Quarters, and the chef had revealed the recipe to me. That beautiful evening had given me a taste of a different life, of moments that seemed lost in my relentless rush toward the next order.
But the bill also includes the endless nights spent in front of the TV after Claudia abandoned our promise to move in together. It was a painful decision, a lump in my throat that I can’t seem to swallow. We shared dreams and plans, but reality seems to have swallowed them one by one.
And the nights are the worst. Loneliness creeps in, and the TV has become my only companion. When I return home, I turn on the screen and try to lose myself in senseless programs as if that luminous box could be the only refuge from the reality I’m trapped in.
Claudia and I had happy moments together, but my job as a rider has put our relationship to the test. It’s hard to plan for the future when my present is so chaotic and uncertain.
But as I gaze at that bill, I decide to call her. I ask if I can come over, and she accepts without hesitation.
I arrive in front of her door with my heart in my throat. When she opens it, her eyes are full of surprise and hope.
«Hello,» I say with a trembling voice.
«I’s been a while,» she replies, and in that moment, I know I’m in the right place.
We talk for hours about our feelings and fears. We share a hug that seems to erase all the past. And then, slowly, we draw closer, and our bodies find each other as if they had never stopped wanting.
It’s a magical night, a night where our love is reborn with incredible strength. In the warmth of her embrace, I promise her that I will leave that job and that we will build a future together. It’s a promise I know I can keep, a promise that fills me with hope.
But, as I sleep beside her, my smartphone vibrates insistently. A new order to deliver, an urgent request.
I wake up. I’m on the red bench in Peace Square. I get on the bike and ride with the bill flying away. Who knows where.