This chap obviously had the capacity to recognize the sound of a foreigner’s footsteps from behind a closed door and a fully shuttered window. He peered out at me just as I raised my camera. I saw his questioning glare at the side of the viewfinder: “Who are you? What do you want?”
I pretended that my subject was to his left, off down the deserted street of that lonely island. Click-whirr. Click-whirr. Then I lowered the camera, smiled, and said, “Buon giorno!”
What could he do but repeat the word?: “Buon giorno.” Retaining his glare, of course.
Episodes like these reinforce the feeling I get in encounters with Francesca, and with Giovanni and the rest of Vittoria’s family. They go to extreme lengths to convey to me that I’m nothing but an unwelcomed interloper, a usurper, a person they know is bent on overthrowing their cherished & established order. Which is one of secrecy and silence. And they are extremely well defended. In this country they’ve had centuries of practice resisting invaders.
After a while I feel like saying, “All right. You win. There’s nothing I can do to penetrate the walls you have erected around yourselves.” And it doesn’t help that Vittoria in effect endorses the concept by her retreats. She speaks to NO ONE. Not even me, her lover. It gnaws at me, it makes me crazy.
Then yesterday the ground trembled, and Mt. Epemeo—the allegedly extinct volcano—suddenly burst forth an eruption of huge dirty clouds of noxious gas, and spewed out a wide river of white hot lava, which rolled down the slope and…
Well, all right. That’s way too much of a metaphorical stretch.
I lost my temper yesterday. And I did not restrain myself with Francesca, nor with Vittoria who came online afterward. I just let all my frustration and anger flow out of me. I trembled as I made that keyboard clatter.
In the middle of it I rose, seized my coffee cup, and hurled it across the room. It shattered against the wall, leaving a brown splotch on the white stucco. Ceramic shards skittered across the floor. I was about to kick the chair as well, but I got hold of myself. An hour later I was right back at my machine-gun keyboard tapping.
But wait. I’ll reproduce the ridiculous episode in my journal tomorrow. Because right now I feel hollow, and bruised, even though I was doing all the ranting and raving. I need to take a long walk. And then a soak in the thermal pool at Hotel Royal Palm.
Tomorrow I’ll feel better.