My Italia is still not entirely herself this evening. Of course she is still beautiful even after all these months, even with her slightly tattered mascherina half-covering her face or strung beneath her chin; at turns dangling imperturbably from a suntanned ear. She is beautiful even with a little extra worry on her face. But she’s still quieter than I know her to be, and there are so many gaps around the tables on the sidewalk, empty of the more cautious who stay at home most nights; empty of her American cousins who should have already come to tell her all the stories she’d almost forgotten over a prosecco or campari soda, making her laugh with their old-fashioned words from great-grandmother’s dialect.
When we meet under the trees in the half-empty piazza, she is unexpectedly self-conscious: should I lean in? Should I step away? She laughs nervously and I laugh nervously. In the end we each extend an elbow, touching them together, lingering for a moment, as if it were a kiss.
I added this blog as a way to share some thoughts and experiences around the impact of Covid-19 on my life here in Southern Italy. These posts have been a near-daily practice during this time and are largely unedited, most having been first posted on Facebook. They are of course in order with the most recent entry on the first page. I invite you to explore previous posts or even start from the beginning.