Showing posts from June, 2017


And so it was that I went on reading, Vecchietta – reading to learn, reading to improve my English but most of all, reading to find, as you had once told me I would, that I was not alone in my sorrow – that others had experienced what I was feeling, lived through grief and regret and found their way through it. I did not go to your funeral, Vecchietta – I knew you wouldn't have wanted me to, for you always said that love should be shown towards the living. But I knew that, one day, I had to go to England, to embrace the land that had made you, to understand what had drawn you back to it and finally, to talk to your sister. She and your brother-in-law were not particularly pleased to see me but they were hospitable and polite. It was far more than I deserved. I saw the garden your room had overlooked, I heard the raindrops on the window and remembered you saying that people would come from all over the world to see sparrows if they were rare. Well, this Sicilian


You had gone, Vecchietta, just hours before, to that cold, grey, rainy country of yours. Your sister and brother-in-law had arrived in Sicily to take you home. That, they later told me, was what you had wanted – to live your last days in the country that had borne you, to hear the rain against the window pane and the sparrows in the morning once again – and perhaps not to create a fuss, Vecchietta. You wanted no fuss and ceremony at the end, you had once told me. Why, Vecchietta, did I not just get my van, turn around and drive straight back to Catania and the airport? I wanted to and if I'd known before I arrived in Centochiese I might even have got myself on the same flight. Looking for someone to blame, I cursed my local friends for not contacting me before I set off from Milan. Why had no one sent a message, told me on social media, called me? But we Sicilians are basically a word-of-mouth people, Vecchietta, as we have been for generations. We don't even expect to


I had been working on a large and lengthy job in Milan when your long message came, Vecchietta and I read it in the airport just before boarding my flight back to Sicily. Never had a 90-minute flight seemed so long! When I picked up my van at Catania, I decided not to go and see relatives there as I usually do when returning from a trip, but to make straight for Centochiese – and you, Vecchietta. Why, I asked myself on the journey, had I left it so long? Becaue I'm a fool, Vecchietta – yes, I, Cicciu the carpenter, who can fix anything, except my own heart, at last admit I'm a fool. When I left you, my love, I didn't think it would be for all these months – just long enough for us both to cool down, I thought, for my fear to subside. I honestly expected you to call or message me, ask for my help with things – which I would willingly have given – but I'd reckoned without your British pride and your sense of dignity. You once told me that a British per