“Now I need a hug too.” The drawn eye, of one who has been struggling to sleep for days. And that now would just like to get out of the cone of light. Also out of respect for the pain of that donna who now feels a friend. Seven days have gone by since a Monday like any other. In which you get up to meet a consolidated normality and then life overwhelms you, the cards on the table change. Martina Pigliapoco, a simple carabiniere stationed in the Belluno area, embodies the best face of the weapon.
He saved a forty-year-old mother who had decided to jump off the Tibetan bridge of Perarolo. Without follies or Hollywood gestures. Just trying to understand his pain. “Carabiniere hero? Well no. It took me two years and five competitions to get into the gun. I knew it was the right thing. Now, as my husband Riccardo says, everyone knows it ».
Twenty-six years old, he left Osimo to build his future. Shocked by the uniform?
“No. I don’t come from a family with a military tradition, I didn’t know anything. Then after high school I started thinking it could become my future. But I have always had a precise sense of justice. I never liked dull things ».
It wasn’t easy for her to get in.
“I’ve tried and tried again. But, with all due respect for the other bodies, I didn’t just want to be a soldier, I wanted to be a carabiniere ».
To make his dream come true he also accepted to end up at the foot of the Dolomites.
«The impact with a mountain village where depopulation is the rule in winter and there are less than a thousand inhabitants was difficult. But here, until last Monday, our priorities were other: solitude, the need for advice and support in an objectively difficult habitat. Proximity service, in short, that kind of closeness to people that made me passionate about this profession ».
We arrive on Monday morning.
«I get ready, I go out, it’s a normal day. A signal goes off at 112. Some people at the Perarolo shooting range see a woman hanging from a thin steel cable. My partner and I are on patrol. We park at the edge of the forest and start running uphill on the path. At the beginning of the bridge is the mayor of the town. I lead my colleague by maybe three meters. He looks at me, puts his hand on my shoulder and says only: go ».
Images of her sitting on the bridge go around the country.
«I didn’t know what to do, in our team there are negotiators but I didn’t have specific training. I didn’t have time to think, I acted on instinct. When the woman saw me she yelled at me not to go near me. I sat down to let her know I was there for her but I wasn’t going to do anything she didn’t want. The directives are there, but at that moment we are two women alone in front of an abyss ».
Four hours is an infinite time in such a situation.
«The perception of time in those moments changes. At first I was disheartened: she did not want to see anyone, as soon as she caught some figure besides me she was agitated and I had the constant thought that she would jump, or maybe slip. The cable was very thin, and I didn’t know how long it had been there. ‘
What resources did it appeal to?
“I thought about my mother. She and that woman could be the same age. I started to tell her my story, my relationship with my family, the importance for the children of having clear references in their parents. But she didn’t speak. She was silent for nearly three hours. After about two hours I started texting on whatsapp with a negotiator who gave me some suggestions. I could not do anything else, at every slightest disturbance, the woman was agitated. I asked her if she liked music, if she had a pet: I tried in every way to get her out of the dominant thought of suicide, to reconnect her to life in its reassuring simplicity ».
Was there a moment when he sensed he would save her?
“From the first to the last second I thought he was throwing himself in front of me. In the last twenty minutes she said to me: I’m tired. Then we confided everything. Economic problems, but not only that. I will not reveal anything: we have a pact of secrecy. At that point the fear was that he would not be able to go back. She was destroyed, she had spent at least five hours in the balance. I got up and was close to her, but I didn’t think she had the strength to go back to the net and climb over it. I saw in her eyes that something had changed, I reached out and she grabbed it. She did it all by herself, in a few moments ».
Then there was that beautiful hug.
“We cried together. We won together. He realized he was wrong ».
You also spent the afternoon together.
«I wanted to accompany you to make all the checks. I felt like I was next to her, after what we had both experienced. But I felt I had to write to my mother. She knew nothing, but it was also thanks to her that I had found the energy to speak to that woman. And then I wrote to my husband Riccardo ».
Will he see her again?
“I’ll see you again if you think it’s right. It is the worm that accompanied me during this week. I have always spoken with joy for the success of the operation but also with the fear that the story would awaken bad intentions in her. Even if he doesn’t feel like he’s physically present in my life, he’ll be part of me. “
Would you like to become a negotiator after this experience?
«I think I still have to do a lot of work in the weapon, but it could be a hypothesis for the future. Those four hours made me discover a lot about myself ».
In what sense?
«My colleagues affectionately call me a ‘popsicle’. They say I don’t get scratched. Instead I found myself empathetic. And also patient ».
What is your dream now?
«To be able to be approached in Osimo and really start living my marriage. I got married to Riccardo two and a half years ago. Distance in feelings is demanding ».
What will remain of this story?
«The eyes of a woman who, after choosing to die, had the strength to go back. Two of us won on the bridge that morning. And we will remain linked for life ».