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Peering Into Darkness
forioscribe


Peering Into Darkness


Capri. First a coffee and a banana split brought by an insolent waiter at a crowded waterfront café. Surrounding me were people laughing loudly and talking in German, French, Spanish, Italian. Along the quay trooped hundreds and hundreds of tourists, an endless flow. The harbor was a literal traffic jam of multi-decked cruisers, yachts, three-masted sailboats, rubber dinghies, tour boats, ferries. Here and there tanned young sun-glassed men gripped the rudders of motorboats, and slim girls sunned themselves on the decks, glistening with oil, eyes closed. Some of these babes were bare breasted and proud of it. The bill? Eleven Euros.

Then a ride around the island with a couple dozen others in an open boat. It was very much like the cruise I took around Ponza not too long ago. But then the Ponza waters were much less crowded

Steep vertical rock faces, crystalline blue sea. A lone fisherman on a ledge pulled in a glinting silver fish, and tossed it into a bright blue plastic bucket. The captain of our boat whistled a greeting. The fisherman did not wave. That part of the coast was free of villas or beaches, and I wondered how he got to his little perch on the enormous cliff.

The captain stopped the engine. We were among a couple dozen other boats, waiting for our turn to move in close to peer into the chilling darkness of a grotto.

Toward the end of our circumnavigation of the island the sea became rough. The boat rose and fell and rocked prodigiously. One of the tourists leaned over the starboard side and vomited. The faces of the others showed they were about to do the same.

* * *

I imagine when Vittoria returned from hiding yesterday she, her father, mother and sister (and perhaps others) did what they usually do in a major crisis: sit around and talk about the weather for a minute or two, and then fall silent. What’s the old proverb? “La migliore parola e' quella che non si dice,” the best word is the unspoken word.

Right now Nonna is in the kitchen, rattling the pots and pans. The scent of bubbling tomato sauce and garlic and basil fills the house, and creates the illusion that all is well. With a full stomach and a glass of vino, what’s to worry about? Time for an espresso. And then a nap.

I was not notified that Vittoria had reappeared, most likely because Giancarlo was home. And when Giancarlo’s home Vittoria avoids using the computer because the Lord of the Manor does not like her IMing or e-mailing God-knows-who. She figures there’s no sense rubbing the poor guy’s nose in it. Besides, her parents are there. And too much is going on. Way too much.

But all this is speculation. Vittoria may still be missing.

The only fact at hand is that she’s scheduled for surgery at 0900 today, which is six hours from now.

Shall I take another day trip to keep myself from crawling up the wall?