July 3, 2007

giorni strani

These days have been strange. How long have I been here? I’ve already forgotten, but I have already attended a presentation on a cruise ship, slept and not slept at the appropriate hours, had countless caffés, attended a terrible Blues Brothers style concert in the piazza, and attended a funeral. Ciro’s father has been sick; in fact, in the same ospedale as la madre di Fabio, and now he is morte. Yesterday I met Fabio alle 10 at La Rinascente on via Toledo to go to the cruise ship to find out if he won the premiazione di letteratura. He did not. Allora, another girl did, not because she had the love for literature, but because her mother wanted to win a cruise. Typical. The night before I got little sleep. Fabio had to stay to his father, leaving me alone in a room that fills with noise every night from the street below and no peace. After we left the port, we went straight away for a quick pizza and to meet Alessandra. She bought flowers for Ciro and we proceeded to the church. And for a man I did not know, I cried. I watched Ciro stare solemnly at the casket that held his father, laid in the middle of the aisle. I watched two women sob so completely that they could not walk out of the church without assistance. And I watched Fabio sit quietly, knowing that his mother is dying, though only occasionally is it mentioned. Later, Fabio and I discussed and silently mourned our own “impossible situation”. He returned to his father, and I cried for myself selfishly. I went out with Mirko, hoping some fresh air and walking would help. We found a bookstore, and I got some dinner: a loaf of bread, 100 g of mozzarella di bufala, e 3 pomodori. I made a make-shift caprese salad and read Kahlil Gibran’s “The Prophet.” I am quite sure that with every bite of mozzarella I committed yet another sin; the taste was like nothing I’ve had before. Mirko taught me how to keep mozzarella: not in the refrigerator as in gli stati uniti.

I am nearly 100% positive that the woman who breastfeeds and begs on the street is the same as last year. I think she is also wearing the same outfit, or at least, quite similar. The child is now one year older. Today a woman grabbed me with a plea. I spun away, confused. I do not yet know Napolitan. The people here look varied, and I wonder what they see in me. Straight across the street (10-20 m), there is a nice old man who comes to his balcony often. Sometimes I wave. Below and across is a man who sits as his window often, smoking. I watched as he put some thing in a basket, tied it to a string, and flung it across the street, as the person on the other end of the rope surely pulled the basket into their window to retrieve the item. Ancient, yet still genius. From my balcony, I have the piazetta, Vesuvio, the sea, and the streets. Across the piazetta is an old woman with a large balcony. She brings out a towel to rest her arms upon, as she plans to stand and watch for more than just a few minutes. At 1 am I go back to the balcony: the trashmen have come to collect, two men replace a street light bulb, a woman below the old woman comes out to watch the men work, and another below me hangs clothes on the line.

And if I photograph this, who will I appear to be? So I don’t for now. I remind myself that I don’t care what I appear like when I photograph in the United States. I do not photograph as a tourist there. So, why should I be so overly concerned here? Maybe with the right attitude, I’ll blend in completely. Maybe this year there is less to marvel at. It’s a little more familiar, and it’s not so bizarre. But I haven’t wanted to photograph anything for quite some time now. It was only in Fabio that I had the need to record images. We meet tonight at Piazza Dante alle 7. I will meet his father. I will stay in the family home. I must decide what to cook.

1 comment:

denise nicole naïm said...

sorry to hear about your friend's loss...but now love is growing in new ways between you and your beloved italy. i'm happy you are with family:)