E Luccevan Le Stelle

The Sferisterio.

We go night swimming in the lake in Brown County, Indiana the summer of my seventeenth birthday. It is late — the moon cast its blessings on the water like the petals of distant stars. It slips into the curls and folds of the water, and then emerges again, whole. I slip my body underwater, deep into the shapes that are meant for me, where the water moves aside and lets me glide deeper down, until I’m up again, my hair pressed to my face and my legs kicking violently so as to stay afloat. Later we will sneak into town like outlaws, just for the thrill of it. We will drive there, ducking in the back, some of us lying flat like pieces of plywood as the bumps of the road jolt us. Oh how alive we are! I can still feel the way the breeze hits my body as we move, the way my hair, which is dry now, forms curls across my face. Our bodies are young and in love with the summer. We are still so new, even if we don’t know it yet.

(I tell you all of this, using words like luna and lago and notte and giovane, on the drive to Spello, taking the long road down from the mountains to Umbria, both of us looking out at the olive trees that line the hills in rows of silver green, the fields of sunflowers that still have petals dressed in yellow sunlight peeking up; and you will listen and talk to me, and we will contemplate together the life I had before you. The girl I was back then — before there was ever an us — there was just a you and a me — as Spello with her honey colored towers and ancient city walls comes into view. Soon we will step into the cool quiet of the Baglioni chapel — as if Pinturricchio painted the gold detail on Mary’s lapis lazuli veil just for us. And we will get lost in the alleyways with their stone arches, their flowers all a bloom. What does it mean to fold life in half like this, to show two pages when there once was one? Later we will sit outside, my legs sticking to the chairs at the outdoor opera house in Macerata — it is humid and never-ending hot — and we will watch as the lights go out, as night falls; as Tosca begin on stage. We will notice, right at the start of Act 3, the stars opening up above us, unfolding in constellations, in the kind of summer night that is clear enough for us to see Cassiopeia and the Big Dipper and listen to E Luccevan Le Stelle, that aria and the sky and the way July slips into August on the last night of the month. And the knowledge that I will be leaving soon for America without you – August will bring that too. But for now we will listen and wait. You will squeeze my hand, lace your fingers into mine.)

The moon casts its blessings on the city in petals of stars.

Today I’m listening to: E Luccevan Le Stelle sung by Placido Domingo. (and I’m packing my bags for 10 days back home. Happy August everyone!)

Published by Jackie in Italy

I'm living in Le Marche Italy. It's 2020 and we're all on lockdown (update: still blogging even though lockdown is over). Welcome to my blog.

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