Ragazzi, lo sto scrivendo ovunque e quindi lo metto anche qui: la vostra affezionatissima andrà a Sibenik. Oh yeah!
Your mom is fuming. You’re feeling guilty and so am I, but, let’s say it: It’s not our fault. She isn’t mad at us. Feeling better? No, huh? I understand.
Today will be remembered as “The Day When Little Gabe Kovac Discovered Ethnical Discrimination”. I’m not funny, I know. Kovac. It’s not exactly the typical American name, is it? Some of your schoolmates don’t like it, don’t like the sound of it (even if they hasn’t even tried to pronounce it correctly). And they thought you had to know about their disliking. So they wrote “We don’t want you! Go back home, bloody terrorist!” with red spray paint on your locker... how cute...
You didn’t want to say anything to us, but we do know you and we understood there was something strange about your eerie stillness. You are normally like a tornado when you come home from school, you tell us everything, and it’s almost impossible following your train of thought. But today you didn’t say a word. You just sat there, staring at the void and you were so pale you gave us a scare... You know how much we love to be overprotecting... so you tried to tell us, but you were too shocked and your mom started making questions over questions and you panicked and I panicked and she panicked and we created a beautiful happy family moment. At the end you started crying and, in between sobs, you have been able to spill out the story.
I don’t know how I felt in that moment. I’m so proud you have my name, but this hurt you. And I know I should have imagined it. It happens also to me at hospital: Patients who want another doctor, cold glances. I’m used to it because I know I’m not a terrorist and I’m an innocent man just caught in this growing xenophobian wave. I can do nothing about it. But you, welcome to reality, baby! Remember when I said: Life is a dangerous path? Right, here we are. I’d like to say you’re not going to see that again, but it’s not true. Ignorant intolerant people, they’re everywhere. And it’s not something you can relate to one nationality only. Every person from every corner could hate you because of the man you are. Trust me: I witnessed human hate among my own people and it wasn’t a beautiful thing to see. Oh no, I swear.
I’m feeling sick at the moment and it’s a good thing your mom is so angry. She wants to speak to your principal tomorrow, and to your teacher, and, if she’ll be allowed to, to all your mates. She said it is a big scandal because they should be happy they know a boy who has a kind of different culture. But no, they have insulted him and have insulted his father and his family and... I think she thinks all croatian population has been insulted. Do you think she’s exaggerating? Maybe a little, yes, but she’s right: They have insulted you and I’m not going to forget this. Not in my whole life. You’re my son.
Your mom’s reaction underlines how much she loves you. She’s like a tiger protecting her cubs and she’s ready to hurt everyone who’ll hurt you again. Now, she’s on the phone, complaining with the principal. If he doesn’t listen to her, he’ll be a dead man walking.
Let her protect you (and me too... she’s talking about Croatian culture, now... what...?) and listen to my last advice. Some kind of people will hurt you anyhow for every reason: Hair, clothes, name, job... there are endless possibilities. One thing only Gabriel: Respect them. You’re not inferior to anybody, but you are neither the best among everybody. Look at everybody in the eye, you have dignity. Be proud of who you’ll choose to be. Respect yourself and your own timing. Listen to other people: They could say something interesting or important. Follow your dreams, they are not silly or insignificant. Believe in you and in who you love. Love with all your heart. Don’t be scared of living. Don’t be scared to be happy. And, help. Give your help, it will repay you. Oh yeah, one last thing: Smile, baby, smile.
... you’re calling me... what? Ice cream? You know I always agree when it’s about ice cream. I’m coming. Let’s the others see nothing could really hurt the Kovacs...
I love you, baby.