I just found that in the back of a used book I’ve had for many years there is handwriting faded in pencil. It reads:
I didn’t mean what I said. The Italy thing just made me– I am sacrificing a lot for you. I wish I wasn’t but I am and the Italy thing. You didn’t tell me and you know that because you knew. That I wanted to be with you during that time.
One time in Italy we watched that young woman who came on to the bus. We were in Rome. And we hadn’t bought the bus ticket and we were afraid of being caught. And the young woman held onto the silver pole in the middle of the bus. She was wearing simple clothes and was thin. A long skirt. Brown hair tied up. She was sobbing, her shoulders were rolling forward like the break of a wave.
Do you remember this? She had one palm on the pole and the other over her face. And afterwards when we ran off the bus because police came on and we were afraid because we hadn’t paid, we were laughing and holding hands and our books and journals, we couldn’t stop with it. Wondering. What had happened. Boyfriend left her. Boyfriend slept with her girlfriend. Father died. Mother died. Boyfriend died. Just crazy. Just emotional. Pet died. Many people died. What now?
Later you and I went to a Cathedral and whispered to each other from either side of a great big cool dome. I love you. Later we ate bread and walnuts and honey and wine with our legs dangling off the dock into the river. And the water looked like oil and the moon looked thicker and more beautiful in the water’s reflection than in the actual sky. Boats were passing. You laid your back on the ground to look at the stars.
My God. How can life be so gorgeous? And how are we so lucky? And how does now, the memory feel like such awe, when then the reality just was what it was? The memory is the moon in the water.