September 2023

Back to Issue 14

Coasting Along in Sicily

By Allan Lake

 I can’t say what was so good about

this morning. We woke to blue sky

and calm Tyrrhenian Sea, had breakfast

then went to the beach, which is just

across potholed Via Trazzera Marina.

Council has no money, I’m told.

Capo d’Orlando is not Melbourne

and certainly no upmarket Taormina.

People who were born here can forget

the beach until there are horror storms

that threaten to remove it entirely.

My partner is back ‘home’ for a lengthy

visit, with me, her non-Italian consort

who finds himself on the island, again.

We walked, examined stones, murmured

or were altogether silent. It’s not easy

to find one who can walk with you,

without words, without even thoughts

of things that ought to be said.

After that the drive to a nearby cafe for

espresso and cornetti. We’d earned it

but just how was unclear.

The playwright once wrote:

There is nothing either good or bad

but thinking makes it so.

Exceptions come to mind but I think

whipped cream-filled cornetti are good.

Her cafe-owner second cousin was

puttering about, looking forward

to being crazy-busy in summer and

preparing to harvest the annual wave

of terrorists, known as tourists who

need pizza and granita while occupying

every square meter of sand, parking space.

By arriving in early May, we choose

to avoid all that and settled into vacant

plastic chairs to again speak only of

inconsequential things, content just to

be in moderate spring sun, without clocks

or phones to answer. And the machiato

was just as we like it. After the usual

physical farewells, we went to a bakery,

bought a loaf of bread before returning

to an apartment that has become –

at least for me – an unlikely home.

I thought it was, just possibly, one

of the best mornings of my life.