My character in 'Her and Her' was inspired by a real person. He used to dress up and fight.
Because he was very effeminate, he was thrown out by his awful family. He couldn't find work as a salesman or be accepted as an apprentice hairdresser in the respectable Messina of the 1980s.
While waiting for customers, he would perform on the steps of Piazza Cavallotti as if he were on a stage, and we kids/spectators on mopeds at night, on the pretext of having a laugh, were actually captivated by his shiny costumes and imaginary theatre.
A battery-operated cassette player for the soundtrack.
Then, in 1994, she died of Aids and panic broke out in Messina (Stella was excluded from the daytime world but in great demand at night).
Growing up, I became his friend. His life stories were both exhilarating and tragic. Between fantasies that transformed a bus shelter into a curtain and a tall lamppost into the afterlife.
And he confessed to me his dream: to move to Milan where a transsexual friend of his had been hired in a luxury hotel to work in the kitchen.
He told me: "In Milan, they are very open-minded, not like here, where we are all poor schmucks".
He never left and died in our beloved and hated Messina.
At Christmas time he used to amuse himself by saying to his many married customers: 'Thank you! Best wishes to you and your family too!".