The rain had just stopped, and in the late evening darkness the puddles on the street reflected the bright light of the shops. Matteo Verde was strangely quiet because not many people were walking about, and also there was no motor traffic. A construction crew had begun digging trenches for new pipes near the market and post office, thus the road was closed.
Maestro and I took seats in the empty Bar Roxy and for about two hours we talked, and often—with a clearly contented smile—he consulted his dictionary.
Together we followed a meandering path through an ancient, dark forest. Or perhaps a better metaphor would be an art gallery or a museum. We glanced at a succession of images full of meaning and color and texture and nuance. Philosophy. Theology. History. Love. And, of course, WOMEN.
There was deep mutual understanding, and thus a calmness in the conversation. Except, of course, when I launched into an explanation of this or that or the other. I spoke rapidly, and I gesticulated, like…an Italian! I seized a piece of paper and drew a sketch to illustrate my point. Maestro smiled.
Maestro’s son, Luciano, appeared. We were introduced, and exchanged greetings. He’s only 13 but he has a presence and charisma beyond his years. The light of intelligence shines in his eyes. Is this because he, like his father, is a talented musician? Yes. In the celebration of any art comes this peace, this happiness.
Luciano’s affection and love for his father, and his father’s for him, is as radiant as the sun. Thus his first name with the root of luce is utterly appropriate. The cheerful boy departs with a chocolate gelato, and Maestro and I resume our conversation.
Earlier Maestro had shared with me his deep concern about my finding the “right way” to help Maria recover from her traumas. He brightened when I assured him that I was not alone in this effort. A dear old friend of mine in New York has agreed to help. Maria and I will be her guests in the spring.
Leila Hadley Luce.