I was homesick leaving Positano. It seemed strange leaving Ron and Becky and heading back to Scalea instead of to Talent. I listened to music on my ITouch on the train, ignored the people around me and wallowed just a bit. All was quiet on my way from the station because it was mid-afternoon. And I knew that I really needed to make contacts after dropping my suitcase. I couldn’t mope in my apartment.
As I was hanging out some wash, here came Miss Cranky. My approval rating went up even though she needed to dodge the water from my dripping bath towels (I’m not good at hand wringing). So as I walked by her in the Piazza on the way to the Internet, she was voluble (although, as usual, I couldn’t understand her) and smiling. I told her I was on my way to call my husband and she waved me on.
As I was working on the internet I heard, “Lynda, Lynda,” and Giuseppe, the landlord’s son and his cousin (uncle?), my neighbor ran up to me, saw that I was on Facebook and insisted I search for them. They wanted me to friend them so that we can chat this afternoon. So they pinned me down to a time, waved “Ciao”, and ran off. At least three more times during the evening I heard the young voice, “Ciao, Lynda”, as he waved to me from different spots in town. At one point he asked me if I walked up and down the stairs. (Duh!) He was obviously drawing attention to his friends that he knew an American lady who lived in his mother’s apartment.
On my way back up the stairs from the Internet I greeted Antonio and stopped to talk with Teresita.
She is such a delight to me.* She’s a combination of Mom and Leelah. She looks like Mom to me. But she’s a porch gardener. She is always sitting with her cane; digging, repotting, watering or just enjoying. One day (with her cane propped against the wall, she was dragging boards from a stack. When I offered to help she waved me off impatiently. She will let me carry her water buckets if Antonio isn’t around, though.
Anyway, yesterday she was sitting on her porch by her front door gazing at a small coleus. She told me that it was a begonia in Italy and that she had raised it (I think) from a small cutting. She was transfixed and fully enjoying the fruits of her labor.
Lavinia is often late to the Passeggio when she tells me a certain time. I had given up on her last night.
Both of her sisters have left town for the winter and I didn’t know if she would come by herself or if she expected me. On my third pass, though, I saw her approaching our bench. There was a couple sitting on it but she scooted them over and made room for me. Once more we went through the introductions. The woman was incredulous that I was traveling alone and had a husband. She told me that my husband would have a companion when I returned home. I told her, “No, we’ve been married 50 years already, I don’t think so.” She still thought I was crazy.
Soon our unidentified friend came to sit with us. Two other regulars approached to greet us; expressing amazement that I was still here (or had returned, I couldn’t tell). Lavinia told me to be sure to come back tonight and I walked her halfway home.
This morning I started to the market for some of the wonderful produce.
Mariucha saw me passing by and invited me in for coffee. She showed me her garbanzos cooking on the stove. I think she is expecting her grown children. The pot was huge. She talked to me for 20 minutes and from everything she said I learned only the following: Her son owns her house; her pension is only 500 Euro per month; she makes all of her Christmas presents because she can’t afford to buy presents on her income; her husband is dead so she is dedicated to her children. And she had surgery on her hip or her butt about a year and a half ago and it still hurts a little sometimes when she sits down.
Mariucha was walking down as I returned from the market and gave her a bit of a chocolate bar I had just bought.
My friend from Annapolis wants to share her favorite restaurant so we are heading out in her crazy car today sometime.
My sauce is on the stove. The water’s hot for my makeshift shower. Life is good and God is in his Heaven.
I’m going to enjoy my last week here in Scalea.
Later *I am sad again this afternoon for my friend Teresita. I have known that her daughter died and that she is tremendously sad. One day when I asked her how she was, she began crying. Today when I sat with her she began telling me that she wants to die and that she asks “El Signore” why she can’t go now. I told her that I pray for her and would be still praying for her when I go home. Also, told her I believe that God is cradling her in his arms and holding her here for a reason. She cried intermittently but finally pulled her rosary from her pocket. She had a smaller one and handed it to me. I admired them both and gave them back. She wanted me to keep the smaller one.
She wants me to pray for her.
I do, and I cry for her.