Wednesday, April 14, 2010
A trip to the Loggia
Dolo`ra placed the coverlet on the bed as Mingu's mother had instructed, and climbed up into the big matrimonial bed for the first time. She crossed herself, closed her eyes and began talking to her dead sister Graziella, whose place she was taking.
“Non era il mio desiderio, sorella mia! It was not my desire, sister! I wish this had never happened."
With her arms crossed over her chest, in the dark, she recited every prayer she knew.
What happened next she never talked about. Never. For years, she didn’t remember whether she was alone all night, whether she cried all night. Her wedding night was just like any other night, she thought.
Mingu dreamed of his Graziella, and of the child he would never see. He lost his dream of raising horses, owning his own stables and ranch, of bringing up strapping young boys like his brothers.
In the morning, Dolo`ra woke her sister Lina early..
"Get dressed. We're going to the Loggia."
“Am I going to get my own bed?”
“Didn’t you notice? You already have your own bed; I sleep in the matrimonial bed.”
“Am I going to be sent to an orphanage? Am I going to be sent away?”
“We are family. Nothing will separate us. Nothing!”
“Tiu`do ran away.”
“Boys have to do that, leave their home, all the rules of growing up they had at home; then, when they miss home-cooking, when they miss their families, they’ll be coming back. You’ll see, he’ll return this summer or next, all grown up, all ready to go to work and act like a man.”
“I am scared he’s never coming back.”
“I remember when Mingu did the same thing, when he joined the army before he proposed to Graziella.”
“I don’t care about Tiu`do becoming a man. I want him back home.”
“He missed his old life, was stubborn. I guess he had to. We all do what we feel is best. But, remember, we are Rapolla! It means something! It will mean something when you are ready to get married. If you are virtuous, and act right, you can have the pick of any young man. You’ll see!”
“Sister Anna Maria told me I have a calling.”
“Nobody can tell what your destiny will bring. At your age, I wanted to be like Pa`pa, learning about the business.”
“What did he Papa do?”
“We owned lots of land. Pa`pa managed them, overseeing the planting, the harvest, the production of wine, the sales.”
“He couldn’t see!”
“That happened later.”
"I wish that Mamma and Papa were still alive. And Graziella too! And that Tiu`do hadn’t run away.”
“Yes! I know!”
Dolo`ra was hoping to meet the new owners of the Loggia, and share the secrets of the gardens with them. Secretly, she came to see the place one more time before it changed forever.
"Are we staying?" Lina asked, confused. The trip took a good hour on the buggy, and they needed to find water for the horse before they could return. But nobody was there to meet them. The Loggia was deserted.
"We can't stay long. Go on, take a good look. Remember this is where you came from. This is where your roots are. "
Everything was overgrown. The girls took cuttings of roses and snips of herbs before they returned home.