Fyodor Mazzanti, was born to an odd couple: an italian father and a russian mother. He was born in Kazan in 1916, but a year after his family fled to the west. They eventually came back to his father's hometown, Laurenzana, locate in southern Italy.
The kid, born between communism and fascism, grew up with a lot of love around: his mother, an only child, gave him all that she could, including a younger brother. His father always came from work with candies or toys.
Lorenzo, his brother, and him, grew up happy. That was the most important. But their parents suddenly became enthralled by the governing party in the country. Soon enough, they were attending rallies and supporting causes they did not fully understand.
When he turned eighteen, he had the chance to leave the country to study and their parents wanted him to go to Berlin. They said the german language was the future and that he and Lorenzo should know all about it.
But Fyodor felt his place was in Italy, as his love for this country, his adoptive one, grew exponentially since he was a little boy. He wanted to study history or art. His parents finally accepted his decision and he went on to live alone in small flat above a bakery in Rome, in the Trastevere district.
Lorenzo turned eighteen the same year Italy entered the war against the Allies and he didn't let his parents say a word: he went to Sicily and boarded a ship from there, on to New York. Fyodor would only know about him until five years later.
The war ravaged the continent and it was worst for the Mazzanti family towards the end, when the allies bombarded cities all over Italy. Fyodor himself was saved by a lover, who kept him a little bit too long in her room, saving his life as a bomb hit his house.
In Laurenzana, his parents were safe and received the American troops by asking them how to get in touch with their son. No one knew how to help, as communications to the outside had been cut for months. And both mother and father suffered for the faith of their children.
As soon as the government fell, Fyodor travelled to his former house and found that no one was there. His family had disappeared, leaving no word or letter behind. He returned to Rome, finished his studies and went on to work with the Capitoline Museums. They were gathering a lot of damaged paintings and sculptures from every single part of the country.
He was happy for his job and now lived in a very nice house, near his first flat in the city. Every day he got to see great pieces of artwork. But at the same time, he thought of his family, the face of his mother when cooking a brilliant new dish, his father when carving a nice piece of wood and his brother Lorenzo playing with his favorite toy train.
He had looked for them all over, visiting Laurenzana often but he found very little information. A neighbor told him they had left after the American arrived, towards Sicily. Fyodor went to Palermo but the trail died there as no one knew if they had ever boarded a ship or if they had decided to go back.
Death was not an option, he thought. He felt of them as alive as every single moment he wasn't working, restoring old pieces in the museum or traveling for them, he went on to check every fact he knew about his parents and his brother.
He had even visited New York a couple of times, looking for his parents. He knew that was useless as many immigrants had changed their names when arriving through Ellis Island but he insisted without success.
Fyodor grew bitter because of this. His family had given him so much love as a child and then they just vanished. He was a grown man but he missed them all and not knowing anything about what had happened, was just heartbreaking.
It had affected his love life too. Women grew tired of trying to make him fall in love with them as he never paid much attention. His work was the thing that distracted him from the pain of having been left alone. Besides, he was afraid that if he had a child, he would do the same. He couldn't think of breaking someone into pieces like that, he just didn't want to do what his parents did to him.
In 1978, after more than thirty years on the job, he finally decided to step out to give room for a new generation. His eyesight was everything for him and now he was slowly loosing it. The staff of the museum made a party, with cake and champagne and all kinds of songs and music. It was the first time in years that he cried, in public no les. People thought it was because of his job, but that wasn't the cause.
During those years he had a dog called Caesar. A gray great dane that just loved him. As tall and strong as he had always being, it was the perfect pet for Fyodor.
Now, with all the time in the world, he decided to try one last time and he looked for the help of an institution to track down his family. He gave them all the information he had and they told him to be patient, to wait and that sometimes, nothing happened.
Fyodor waited for almost fifteen years until a young woman called Maria, called him to tell him she had found his file and that she had been investigating. She had found her brother. When he asked about his parents, she said they had died years ago in California.
Weak but now on the verge of finally getting answers, he flew to San Francisco and, with Maria, visited the cemetery were his parents were buried. He cried and cried, kneeling and just crying, without saying a word. Maria could only stand there.
The day after that, they went to Las Vegas. Lorenzo had become the owner of a fast food restaurant chain and now was retired in a house on the outskirts of Las Vegas.
They hugged and cried together and Maria smiled, as she was happy to reunite family.
Fyodor went back to Rome after a week and asked Lorenzo to visit him sometime.
Just a few weeks after that, he went to take a stroll around his neighborhood with Caesar. They sat in a park bench and watched people go by. And he then fell asleep. And died there, finally at peace.