“There’s a way to settle the adopton issue,” Sylvia said. “Giovanni moved the family to America in 1973, didn’t he? So therefore the man had to apply for passports. And for that he needed birth certificates. All these documents should be at the Municipo in Barano. It's that big white building near the piazza. There's a cafe near the entrance.”
So simple, so obvious. And yet it never occurred to me.
Either Vittoria was adopted as she and the others claim, or she wan't.
It scares me. But then I am determined—no, compelled—to go where the facts lead. Truth is the foundation of fiction. The whole truth, however unpleasant it might turn out to be.
* * *
Between the lines there’s a message from Sylvia and the rest of them. And that is: Don’t you think, James, that it’s time to move on?
Before I met Vittoria I dated a woman who had lost her husband to Leukemia. Three years after the man died his oil portrait remained above the mantel of the living room fireplace. His clothes still hung in the big closet off the master bedroom. She’d sprinkled his ashes to the side of a path in the woods surrounding the house, where they’d stroll hand in hand after dinner. She’d go out there alone two, three times a week to relive those tender moments. One day I gently suggested that she might focus more on the present, rather than on the past. A week later she said it was time for ME to move on.
I didn’t quite understand then, but I do now.