June 18th, 2003

Time For A Break


The municipal band of Forio insouciantly strolls the streets, playing traditional songs in this, the ten-day-long Festival of St. Vito, the patron saint of the village. They pass very near my table at La Piazzetta.

I love the little drummer boy in his peaked hat, his shorts and black knee socks, his energetic ratta-tat-tat. The dark-haired tuba players. The tall, thin girl with a flower pinned to her blouse. I can read the notes of the music clipped to her clarinet.

Vittoria remembers nothing of her family, who surround her at the beach house in California. “I am your brother!” one says earnestly. “I am your sister!” says another. And mama: “You must EAT!”

To Vittoria they all are strangers. Nevertheless on the telephone she recognizes my voice, and we speak of our love in another life. She describes her dreams. Intimate dreams. Were we intimate? Yes, my sweet, we were.

When will you come for me?
Soon. When the book is finished.
You are writing a book?
Yes, about your childhood here on the island. Which you asked me to write.
About me?
Have you written about us being intimate?
Of course.
Tell me.
In time you will remember everything.
But I want to hear it. Now.

The parade stops. They order aqua, espresso, and gelato at the Calise. After the break they’ll pick up their instruments and the lovely music will resume. I intend to wait here at my table until it does.