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John Palcewski's Journal

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I Don't Know You
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Two, three months went by without further word from Vittoria. Plenty of time for me to think about what she and her friend Giacamo were up to in Milan. I read her last note over and over again. It was good bye, no other way to interpret the words. I wanted to write to her, to negotiate, but there was no return address.

Then at three in the morning a telephone call. An echoing feminine voice in a heavy Italian accent. She said her name was Anna. Anna? Yes, a close friend of Vittoria, calling from Rome. Anna thought she should let me know what had happened. I sat up, turned on the light, tried to clear my head.

Vittoria was in a cab, heading for a photo shoot at the Trevi Fountain. A lorry broadsided the vehicle. When she awoke in the hospital, she couldn’t remember her name, where she lived. Her bag contained no identification. Giacamo and Anna and the other girls didn’t know where she was, until a month later when they saw Vittoria’s picture in the newspaper, with a caption that said, “Do you know this woman?”

They hurried to the hospital. Giacamo tried to talk to her, but Vittoria sent him away. “I don’t know you,” she said. “Leave me alone.” Anna was there a few days later when Vittoria’s husband arrived from America. Giancarlo rushed to her bedside. Weeping, he explained that he had come to take her home.

“No! Go away!” Vittoria shouted. “Who is this person?”
“He is your husband,” the dottore said. “He has documents.”
Vittoria looked at Giancarlo, and shook her head.
“How could I have married such a man?”
Nevertheless, she was obliged to go with Giancarlo. She had no choice. He was, after all, her husband.

A few days after talking with Anna I dialed Vittoria’s number.
“Hello, I’m James,” I said.
“Who?”
“James Stephens. Before your father took you to a monastery in Italy we were lovers.”
A long silence.
“You’re kidding me, right?”
“Not at all.”
“This is crazy. First a husband I’ve never seen before, now a lover. What’s next?”
“Let’s meet. We can talk about it.”
“Forget it. I don’t know you.”
“Just coffee. What would be the harm? I might help you remember something.”
“What was your name again?”



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What is the significance of "similia similibus?" Doesn't it mean "likes by likes?" Is the building a homeopathic hospital?

The significance is that Vittoria and James had a life before her accident & amnesia, and now they will have a life afterward, which will strangely parallel the earlier one: Likes by likes. In his attempt to help her remember he'll recount or in effect replay all the events they shared.

Interesting thing about amnesia is that in the state of not remembering, one's tastes remain the same. Which is to say that while Vittoria does not "recognize" her husband, her reaction of distaste to him mirrors her feelings before the accident.

James hopes that even though at the moment they are strangers, the same phenomenon will obtain.




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Re: Similia, Similibus

Before I stumbled upon Live Journal I never talked about a work in progress. I don't know why this fourm seems to make such inevitable discussions comfortable. Any thoughts?

Forgot to mention that the photo is of the former residence, here in Forio, of Dott. Tommaso Cigliano, said to be the first physician to bring Homeopathy to this part of Italy.

Fascinating, compelling, sexy. Love the photo as well.

Big friendly hugs,
Jacqui

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