Mom, Dad, my husband and I rode with Ottavio to the mall. The parking garage was full of small cars that we could see over. This must be the thing Italians do when it rains.
We found one another at the entry and from that point on went together in a crowd -into small bookstores, into a teenager’s clothing shop where Eugina bought a jean jacket asking Zia what she thought. We felt absorbed into their culture, the five of us along for the ride. The family walked around an appliance store similar to Sears. Books, electronics, the entire family as one pack went through the store. My brother, husband, Roberta, and Gabrielle discussed CD’s and Gabrielle bought a Red Hot Chili Peppers one. Some things were called a constant like facebook, and not face di libro, which they got a laugh out of.
Our whole group was tired I think. We drove from the mall along the coast of the dark tropical high pine trees, the giraffe type that looked pruned 30’ into the air. Ottavio drove us by Beta Fence, his place of employment, and drove so fast down that road. He talked of biking the hills, su, ju, up, down, up and down. We all met at a little barista, this Sunday evening on a parallel street to the beach, in one of those shops we saw when we walked into town Thursday. So I had coffee. The Italian relatives had lattes. Americans had beers. Our lunch had been so filling we all nibbled on appetizer snacks, which were enough. Roberta asked again why we’d come to Italy and we’d said to find family.
They had hosted us all day long, all of them. It was hard to express how grateful we were! We stood, went back upstairs, outside, then swapped numbers. Maybe someday we could skype. The two young girls, Gabrielle and Luana walked us home back to our hotel. Luana in her thick heels just as Maria Pia had done through the cobblestone piazza at San Gabriele. Gabrielle hugged Luana. The beach sounds were lovely and I wondered how often our families visited their own shore. Luana, Sivana, Maria Pia, and the two girls were so loveable. I’d always think of baci, baci, kisses, kisses they would say. Our entire last two days were like a dream and I didn’t want to let it go. We had to go? We all knew we’d be back to our family, the town, the mountains becoming us. We watched our last few relatives walk back to their cars a few blocks away. What a lovely two days that we couldn’t have planned. Gabrielle had even said himself that surprises were better.
Photo of mall by Progetto CMR Massimo ROJ Architects