In Vittoria’s best dreams she is alone, and comfortable in her solitude.
When Giancarlo brought her home, they all were waiting for her. Her mother, father, brothers, sister, uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews, nieces. A noisy mob. Each room of the house was filled with people talking at once. In the kitchen pots simmered, and the big dining room table was covered with various delicious dishes.
“What are all these people doing here?” she asked Giancarlo.
“They are your family,” he replied.
Her father embraced her, held her tightly. “I am so happy to see you, cara,” he said.
She disengaged herself. “Who in hell ARE you?”
“I am your father! You must not speak to me that way.”
“Go to hell!” she shouted. “Leave me alone, ALL of you.”
She slammed the door to her room, and would not answer when they knocked, nor would she come out.
They all were just worried sick, and were walking up and down, gesticulating, wringing their hands, but the doctor reassured them. She’s got no physical damage to her brain, he said. She’ll gradually recover. Don’t worry. It’s just a matter of time.
“When you begin to remember,” I said, “it might be a good idea not to tell them.”
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“There’s an advantage in their remaining strangers. If they believe you don’t know them, they have no power over you.”
Early on she talked of being free and autonomous. Entirely her own woman, rather than in the middle of a bunch of busybodies who watched every move she made. She told me she would find a way to break free of them someday. That was her dream. She would do it. Soon. “For sure,” she said. “You’ll see!”
Here, by pure accident, was a great opportunity. I thought hard: What could I do to persuade her to seize it?