April 9th, 2004

Saccharine, Melodramatic Words


At spiaggia d’ Citera yesterday morning I spent a long time contemplating the incoming waves. On an idyllic impulse, I reached in my bag for my cell phone. I punched the speed dial for Vittoria’s number in America, and listened to her recorded message. At the beep I said:

Sweetpea, twenty-five hundred years ago an Etruscan sat at this spot on the beach and watched the breakers rolling in, as I am watching them now. Twenty-five-hundred years from now someone else will be doing the same. This place is timeless. Also timeless is our connection to each other. We have always been together, and we always will be. . .

Totally ridiculous, I suddenly thought. Vittoria doesn’t remember who I am. These saccharine, melodramatic words will only add to her confusion. I mumbled something about always thinking about her, and hoping we’d talk soon on IM, then shut the damned thing off. I found a stone bench where I brushed off the sand from my bare feet, then put on my socks and shoes and headed toward the hill.

Beside me suddenly appeared Lucia, a plump woman in her late 50s whom I’d hired briefly four years ago as a translator. We shook hands and exchanged greetings. She said she was here on Ischia for the Easter holiday and in a few days will go back up north, to a little village near Milano, where she works in a children’s library. Last summer she was deeply intrigued by all the publicity in the Italian press about my Vittoria and the adoption story.

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