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I know better than to do it this way.

I’m supposed to invite people toward the end of any travel so that I can leave when they leave. Having guests in the early part of a solo trip makes it very difficult to get back into the swing of solitude.

We’ve been to the train station so many times: picking up, delivering.  This is the first time I have been all alone on the binario.  Waving goodbye.    I haven’t recovered completely from putting the first three on the train.

Waiting for the right train

Waiting for the right train

Walking to the station one more time.

Now I am losing them all.  Early this morning we walked Aisha, Robert, Grace and Bryce to the station.

Robert told me that we must hurry in order to get on the wrong train.  Haha.

The night we picked up these four at the train we had broken a fan and were worried that the store would be closed by the time we waited for the delayed train.  We walked that night through the dark streets with Robert carrying that HUGE bag.

Duffel Bag

Robert and his giant duffel bag.

It was so hot that I was stopping at every little store, checking for fans.  Who knew then that we could shop til midnight here?

Cole, Griffin and Seiji put the second fan together in no time.  The first one had taken over an hour because they had to disassemble and reassemble several times.

The fans were lifesavers, keeping the air flowing in this humid climate as well as creating white noise to cover the disco music that thrummed from beach until all hours of the night (morning).  “Tchê tcherere tchê tchê, Tcherere tchê tchê, Tcherere tchê tchê, Tchereretchê Tchê, tchê, tchê,”

Kellee, Karen, Seiji and Miyako boarding.

Now I’ve just left the last four.

I have come back to the apartment alone.  It seems very large, very quiet…and very dirty.

I begin restoration by sweeping up the rocks. I think of everyone running through the house in their swimming suits, heading for the beach.  Now I would welcome that slight irritation when there were small pebbles (this is the sand of Scalea) even in the toilets and the unused bidet.

Drying hair after the dye job.

As I am washing and hanging out sheets I am sad that there will be no bodies sprawled across every bed.

Manicure with polish from the mercato.

The abandon of the young as they sleep tugs at my heartstrings: on their backs, on their sides with arms flung wide, pulling a sleep sack over their face to hold the mediterannean sun at bay when they want to sleep in; their cute butts hanging out of their sleep sacks.

Electronics in the “boys'” room.

These rooms held laughter, manicures, and hair-dyeing sessions. Electronic games, card games as well as movies and hilarious YouTube videos.

Hanging on the balcony.

I mop the kitchen floor which I thought was stained.  Actually, I’ve found that it was really dirty.  And a lot of food passed through here.

The sight of sweet nectarines bring memories of the dozens eaten in the last days.  I toss the leftover pizza from our last night out.

What will I do with the rest of this giant watermelon?  (Grace and Aisha visited the kitchen regularly to cut huge bowls of watermelon which were devoured in minutes.)

Watermelon and cards. Sticky combination.

If I cut it up and take it to the neighbors, I will have to talk and I’m wallowing in my grief right now. No one else is allowed.  Actually, it is the middle of the night at home so no one can be reached to hear any whining I might do.

Okay.  I could go downtown, but I would be reminded of Aisha, Grace and Miyako dancing on the street to the music of the concerto.  Or of Aisha or Robert continuing down the street with the weird move of their legs.

The Italian women (Le Sorelle) making fun of Bryce’s socks which would be stylin’ in his home town.  Him lifting his T-shirt (a la Korean men) and saying he has to cool off. Robert who posed for a photo in the same pose.

Ally walking next to me.  Cole walking with his arm around me.  Griffin bouncing from group to group as we walk down the crowded streets.

Robert moving down the long table to sit with me.  “You look lonely down here, Grammy.”  We watch Bryce and Seiji wearing their sunglasses like the rich and famous.

Dinner at the trattoria with Kellee, Allyson, Cole and Griffin deep in philosophical discussions, wide=eyed as the antipasti kept coming and coming.

And I have to go out at night and empty the garbage.  Bummer!  (We can’t empty it in the daytime because of the heat.)

Waa, waa, waa.

This isn’t permanent loss.  God willing I will see each of these young people again in the coming months, if not weeks.  Yet it is grief.  It is a hole in the pit of my stomach that needs the sound of young voices.  It is an empty apartment that a week ago held 10 people.  It is thinking about dinner and deciding to stay in because I don’t want to go to any of the places that will bring back memories of great conversation and shrieks of laughter.

Everything must end.  I know that.

It’s just that I have had more extended and continual fun in the last 12 days than I can remember in all of my life.  I have my 9 granchildren, my daughter, and her partner to thank for that.

Thank you.

P.S.  I am really fine.  Just very sad.  And my daughter-in-law will be here in two days.  More good times to come.  (Actually, she is here before I posted this:)

Welcome to Scalea, Nannette