A week passed. Then, two, three.
In my last conversation with Francesca I said, “Why don’t you call the police?”
She laughed. “And what will they do for us?”
“They'll look for her.”
“They will do nothing!” she shouted. “Nothing. Which is why we don’t ever call them.”
“How long do your parents expect to stay there at the house?”
“Until she comes back. Or forever.”
“I will wait.”
Sylvia and the professor tried to comfort me. It was their intent that mattered, the rest were mere words. They all amounted to the same thing. All we can do, they said, is accept whatever is put before us. There’s a reason for everything. Sometimes we find out what the reason is, other times we do not.
Uh-huh. Right. That really helps.
I thought of going to Ventotene, that little sliver I see each morning resting on the sea’s horizon. Vittoria said it was on that isolated island that many of her family’s secrets were kept. I could poke around, ask some questions.
Vittoria might suddenly appear on a dark street, and we’ll embrace, and…
I did not come to spend three years in Forio and end up knowing less than when I started. This ridiculous fact made me furious. And I still am. This can’t be the end of it. It just can’t.
Then it came to me. Not all at once, but a little at a time.
When I arrived three years ago, didn’t an old woman put the great metaphor right before me? Didn’t she give me the “meaning,” the simple explanation that fits all the facts? It’s all I will ever need to know:
Then she turns away.
* * *