Yesterday on my way to town I stopped by the garden. That’s me in the picture, watering the olive trees last summer. Elena happened to be there, standing next to her new white truck, talking on her cell phone. She smiled broadly, and threw me a kiss. I waited until she finished her conversation. I saw the place was now vastly overgrown with weeds and stands of cane. Lots of lemons still hung heavily on the trees, and on top of the low stone pumphouse sat Maurice, a half-wild cat who looked like he owned the place.
Later Elena told me about renting one of her apartments last week to three Americans—two girls and a guy—who apparently stayed inside the whole three-day visit. They drank, danced, broke bottles, and made a huge mess. They never bothered to visit the Poseidon Spa, or the spring at Nitrodi, or the big mushroom-shaped volcanic rock in the bay at Lacco Ameno, or the Villa Arbusto museum to see the famous ancient Greek Nestor's Cup, on which is scratched one of the earliest examples of alphabetical writing, or even Castello Aragonese atop a a massive trachyte crag opposite Ischia Ponte, where Renaissance poet Vittoria Colonna held literary court and wrote achingly lovely verses to her always absent husband.
No, those wild kids weren’t at all interested in any of this. “So I wonder," Elena said, "what was the point in their coming all the way from Boston to Ischia? They could have done the same thing at home, at much less expense.”
Then Elena described the accident that occurred yesterday in Panza, a small village south of Forio. At three in the morning a guy fell asleep at the wheel of his Mini and knocked down a portion of the green tuffa wall surrounding one of her villas. A great advantage of living on a tiny island like this is there are never any secrets, and nothing--absolutely nothing--goes unnoticed. Within an hour Elena got telephone calls from neighbors who reported the accident to her, along with the guy’s name, his address, phone, and license plate numbers. Plus when the sun rose the guy’s father called and apologized for his son’s irresponsible behavior. A couple of stonemasons, he said, are on their way right now to repair the damage.