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I am in the middle of the school year and working at the Listening Desk, affectionately called CIC.

Every year, everything changes in this job.

At first I thought it was for the transition from activity in presence to lockdown, for online interviews while they were all at home and then for those carried out when already you could leave home again. But then every year it continues to amaze me and test me. It will be for something else that the CIC experience is different every year. Maybe these high school kids who only think about struggling with impossible physics exercises or history questions or thinking only about love adventures or having cocktails downtown, are not just that. They feel, they react and they move inside for much more.

Perhaps war, perhaps politics, perhaps drought are stimuli that make them react in some way.

Use all these “maybe” is just rhetoric, do not be offended!

I’ve met guys who ask. And they ask very deep and very difficult questions. Not in the sense of a quiz or an elaborate existential issue. But vague questions that can only be indirectly grasped by what they can say at first: how do I go into the future if I am anchored in the past? If I don’t see a person anymore it’s like they’re dead? What happens when someone dies? But what do I do with what I have lived with who is no longer there? What has taken away those who have left? How can I fall in love if it ends? 

Do you understand my difficulty? The questions are really tough.

Do you understand my difficulty? The questions are really tough.
But the difficulty is that I am not asked this way. The first great work to do at the Listening Desk is listening. And so to understand that is to guess that behind what I am told there is actually a different question. And then help the kids to ask it this way. It means that you have already worked out your malaise to be able to ask the right question. It means to have started again your ability to understand what you feel.
And then I… generally then the school year ends and the CIC goes on holiday with the students (more or less, because the door at the bottom is always there to receive the requests of the children). So is it true that then everything ends? That it is useless to try to talk to someone? Or even make the beastly effort to correlate the pain, confusion, anxiety, coldness that you feel with those questions?
I ask myself that sometimes I worry. After all, the CIC is not like a path of psychotherapy regulated, so it can be said, from a setting that is from a contract between the parties, from an agreement that we find ourselves regularly, to a predetermined appointment, even after the holidays for example. Then not everything goes smoothly in these cases but that’s another story (and we’ll have to talk about it).
CIC is a matter of freedom. A free relationship where if you have something to say or ask, come to me or come back next week, in two months or even next year. The CIC tried to keep me in a free relationship like this.
The questions that children ask themselves can also remain without precise and thorough answers at first. Sometimes what remains are these questions. They remain free.
And then in the years to come the boys can take them everywhere and place them again and again to someone doing their own research.
They can ask me or someone else again. I’m not jealous.

Maria Giubettini


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