Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Running to the sea

This strange piece got its inspiration from this post from my good friend Lizzie Gudkov and one italian song i like (Il pescatore / The fisherman by Pierangelo Bertoli and Fiorella Mannoia).  So here we have

Running to the sea

The first sun rays reach a tiny two stories house and they are enough to stir some life in it. The little noises of someone getting up and ready in an hurry can be clearly heard. They seems to be the sounds of a lonely life, the shower is used only once and only one cup hit the sink a few minutes later.

A young woman exits the white house and she is almost outside the gate when an afterthought hits her. She go back in the little garden to take a rose then she sprints back to the gate and the street beyond it, Almost running she starts her downhill journey, pushed by some physical need to reach the sea. On her way she is oblivious to the beauty of the village she lives in: oblivious to the gardens and their many flowers, to the scents coming from many lavender bushes and basil plants sprouting all around. Now she is really running, sporting one of her many white sundresses, today is the one with the deep red flowers, more vivid than the rose she is holding in her hand or the carnations adorning most of the windows and balconies all around.  A few of those windows opens at the sound of her passage but no one seeks out for the source of the hurried clogs sound anymore, everyone got used to it many weeks ago.

She reach a small square, just a little more then a hairpin bend and turn toward the church doors grabbing the handle just seconds after the old priest unlock the door. She avoid him by mere inches and goes to the altar where she put her rose in the vase in front of it. She reach the nearest bench and starts to pray, or at least she tries to. She seems to be unable to stay put and keeps stealing little glances toward the little window on her right, where just an hint of the sea is visible. She can't resist anymore and raises herself up, straighten her dress and exits the church restarting her hurried descent while the sleepy priest goes back to his morning rituals after a last look in her direction.
In a couple minutes she reaches the promenade and her first full view of the sea. Here she does her second stop climbing on the low wall dividing the beach from the promenade itself and stares at the sea as if searching for something, something far away.
While she is lost in her search the village comes alive: the newsagent has just finished to put on display the newest magazines and is now approaching the coffee shop bringing a couple newspapers with him and foretasting his first coffee of the day.  Several other shops are opening and restocking the shelves. Between opening a box and moving a sack the owners greet each others and the regulars approaching the nearby minuscule train station.

There is only one place that is already in full swing if not even past its peak hours: the harbor and this is where the young woman is drawn now. She jump back to the walkway and restart her run, her hair wild now, moved by the wind from which she is no more shielded by the houses and the narrow streets of the upper part of the village.
She quickly reaches the harbor, where she don't even notice the smell of fish strong enough to cover the salty sea one. Some of the captains are still negotiating the fish prices with the local restaurants and fisheries owners. This port and its ships are too small to be of any interests to the big industries and so the fish is sold and consumed locally.  No one seems to be surprised by Lucia presence, a couple of the fishermen are almost waiting for her daily visit.  She pass the fish crates as if invisible and goes straight to the ships. She recognize all of them but stops at none and keeps going forward, past the last one, up to the end of the pier, still looking around for something that isn't there. At the pier end she finally stops, lost again in her search. A few of the fishermen, while disembarking from their ship stop for a moment to watch her, some with sadness in their eyes, some appreciating her lovely legs and others falter with a hint of fear in their step and end up being pushed forward by the ones that got used to her presence or had more pressing things to do.

She finally ends her contemplation of the sea with a shiver when a bigger wave spray her a little and with a sigh and a few glances back over her shoulder begins her journey back. One of the older fishermen stops her and they talk a little. With a smile she finally accepts a little plastic bag with some of the best and freshest fish available, "For little Giovanni" he says.
She enters the port authorities offices where today she finds her childhood friend Andrea that gently assures her that there are still no news, his ship is probably still at large, maybe they even decided to extended their expedition to not come home with void hands. She leaves the offices with promises of prompt updates if they'll ever get some. This is a way better result than yesterday, when the career obsessed, newly appointed and posted officer almost threw her out. Before descending the few steps to get back to the pier she rises her eyes to the church bell tower, called here by the 7am bell strokes. Those are the same sounds that awake Giovanni in his little bed and as most of these past mornings he starts crying when his pleas for mummy goes unanswered.  Even if she was already awake it still takes some time to Granny to reach him with her calming hugs.

Lucia is now on her way home, with a second plastic bag in her hand, this one filled with bread and some vegetables she just bought. Halfway on her ascent she meet her mother and Giovanni on their way to the kindergarten. She wonders why he has puffy eyes and seems to be angry at her but a furtive look toward her mother does not brings an answer. "Giovanni, i know. i miss him too but as I've told you he is a fisherman, maybe even the best one around, he has to go fishing even if this time he went far away and for much longer than we are used to. Hear me now", she adds, "this afternoon, after school. we'll go to the harbor together, maybe he'll be back by then." The kid seem to be a little puzzled and looks at his gran as if to seek some explanations but she only shake her head, sighs, take hold of his hand and drag him away.

Lucia arrives at home, starts making herself a coffee and wonders about her mother behavior, it almost seems as if she wanted to scold her for something wrong she said to Giovanni.  A few minutes later she comes home and tells her nothing was wrong, she only noticed they were almost late and had to get going.

The morning goes back to the lazy rhythm of the household chores, completed in almost silence but then the phone rings and Granny rushes to get the call, a call she was expecting, it's her daughter lawyer. Her closed door trial just ended and the result was the one she was told to expect, fifteen years of a criminal mental health clinic, after all Lucia killed Antonio, her own husband.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Well paced story, leading the reader to think that an "obvious" ending will happen (the husband is at sea, the continued waiting, and so on. However, that "obvious" ending ends up becoming not that obvious with a totally unexpected twist!! Great job, Qt! I'll post a link to your story in my blog!