Seven Italian Postcards
Card 7: Besame Mucho

Aboard tram twenty-seven en route to the train station at Piazza Cadorna we held hands and watched a sleeping city ignore my early exit. Trains are fun when you're in love and going places together, but when they become the emblem of separation and loneliness I'd readily spurn them. What is sadder than a one-way trip with lovers parting at the end?

A Romani accordion player, a boy with big black eyes, climbed onto our car at one stop and coaxed his instrument through a wheezy rendition of "Besame Mucho" as he walked down the aisle, hoping for coins. I put a nice one in his cup and he planted himself in front of us, playing a second chorus. Who had taught him this sad lament, whose meaning he was too young to catch?

In minutes I'd be alone, and for many months after, and on this morning in Milan the poignancy of schmaltz deepened the autumn of departure, leaving this woman behind in the Old World even as I returned to the New. Hasn't it too often been thus?

Later, on the platform ready to board an express to Malpensa, I realized there is no escaping this city of circles and I should stay forever, like people captured in postcards. Don't we wish the wheels would stop? That we could never age? No chance of that, cara mia - nor is there time for enough kisses. Doors close between us and the train leaves on schedule, as already blue miles start to lengthen and accrue. Italy lives without me.


- MB, 2004, USA -

additional infos about the trip and the author
can be found here

this travelogue is part of the subside travelzine
about bookshelf links contact submit