What do you do?
I glue pieces of glass, what’s your name?
Gaia. Can you show me how you do it?
Come up. Climb the stairs inside of the building with your friend, come out the window and I’ll show you.
Gaia pushed the door and entered the building, Julia followed her up the stairs.
On the second floor Gaia looked at Julia, uncertain. Julia turned her gaze toward an open door. Gaia ran through the empty apartment, cans of paint and towels on the floor. Through the window she saw the artist. He saw her too and called her. Both girls climbed over the sill.
Let me show you. I found all these pieces of colored glass, he said, pointing to a number of steel boxes on the scaffolding, which contained fragments of colored, opaque glass.
I got the broken glass at the glass factory and I divided it in boxes by color, then I broke it in smaller pieces. I got some glue and some charcoal to draw on walls. With the charcoal I made a drawing of a kid smiling. With the glue, I now apply the pieces of glass to the drawing. If I need something else, like a small balcony that was not there, I build it myself. All of this comes after I have mounted the scaffolding.
Only then the girls turned their eyes to the scaffolding. What looked like bamboo at a distance were cardboard tubes connected by metal joints. The man explained that the tubes had different diameters, as he threaded them into one another to transport them. A boatload of cardboard tubes supported the skinny man with a long beard, containers of glass tiles, jars of glue, bricks and stones and Julia and Gaia without trembling. Gaia wanted to know everything, what the man was drawing, as applied tiles, how did he get on and off, but when she saw Julia sitting on the scaffolding, she sat down beside her and waited for the man to return to work, to decorate herself one day a façade of a building with a picture made of small pieces of glass.
Orange juice, scissors and glue,
I was with Helen on the hill,
Pliers, hammers and bolts,
We stayed there all night,
And spoke through bread, honey and ginger,
Until it was day, and night again,
We counted the stars, until we run out of numbers,
Orange juice, scissors and glue.