Quando mi sona svegliato ero triste.
When I woke up I was sad.
The sun was shining, but I was seeing it through a different window. For a moment, I listened for the sound of you humming a favorite song but heard only silence. There was no smell of strong coffee to greet me.
Fuori, la strada è tranquilla.
I open the window and look out at the square. The tourists of August are gone. No children are playing. They are back in la scuola in the new part of town.
A small breeze rustles the poster pinned to the message board on the other side of the square. It is for a marionette show that has already taken place.
The tables are out in front of il ristorante although there is no one to fill them. I consider going down for coffee and a pastry, but can't bear the thought of the pained smile Giacomo will put on for me.
They tell me to move on, to put you in the past. How can I tell them it's impossible? Without you there is no future for me. Without you, I am a violin with no strings. I'm a hollow shell that can't make any music.
I fill the stove top espresso pot with water and coffee, light the gas burner and wait for the thick, brown liquid to sputter up. The pot fills and I realize I'm still staring at it even after it is done. I shake my head and fill my tazzina. There are only a few packets of the raw sugar you love left, so I drink the coffee black.
I dress and go down the stairs to the street. I walk down the hill from the old town towards the new, from our dream to their reality.
Ahead I see the busy viale. I stop and turn down the side street that leads to the beach. I know it will make me late, but I'm not ready. I need more time.
It takes me fifteen minutes to walk to the water. The beach is nearly empty. Only a few people are laying on the sand, on our beach.
For a minute, I can imagine you lying on the Moroccan blanket reading a romance novel. I'm on my side looking at you. You are on your stomach and a strand of your long, brown hair slips down. You brush it back, glance at me and laugh.
You just smile and read as I trace the curve of your back.
I'm thinking of this when a soccer ball bounces near me. I turn and see three young men looking in my direction.
I look at the ball and kick it back to them.
“Gracie!” they yell and turn back down the beach, kicking the ball as they go.
I can't put it off any longer. I turn away from our beach and walk back toward town.
Too soon, I'm at the ospedale. I walk into the lobby. The nurse at the desk barely notices me. I take the elevator up and get out. I walk down the long hall, past the window with the newborns behind it without looking at them. I turn at the end of the hall and push open the door to the ward of no hope.
The dottore is in your room. He's wearing a white coat. You are in your bed. I can see your chest slowly rise and fall to the beat of machine next to you. It's tube is in your throat, filling your lungs with air.
The doctor looks at me. He doesn't know I'm wearing your favorite shirt, the one you bought me in Rome because it made my eyes look more blue. I can't speak, so I take your hand. It's limp in mine.
I fight back tears and lean forward to kiss your forhead.
“OK,” I whisper. “Si, va bene.”
And then I can't stop the tears.