Walking into the room shaking snow off the cherry red coat she was wearing, she looked around the feeling a little out of place. At that moment she heard her name being called from across the room and went towards the sound like a lost soul in the desert goes towards water.
“Ah Virginia, how nice to see you, but dear! Why don’t you take off your coat! Here, let me help you.” a tall pleasant woman said doing just that. “Now, let’s get you a drink!” the woman said as she handed the coat to a nondescript greying gentleman of about seventy.
Virginia took the drink her friend had offered and sipping it let her eyes roam around the room. The chatter of the people reminded her of the old rusty springs of her Grandmother’s double bed. Odd she thought, her Grandmother had passed away forty years before. People came up to her and they greeted and kissed her. They exchanged what is commonly called small talk and eventually drifted away.
“How have you been doing …”
“Isn’t that just terrible news about Anna and Mario …”
“Seems the government is going to fall again …”
Small talk for a small world she thought. After a few moments she found herself standing alone in the room and somehow felt more comfortable.
Her mind wandered and she imagined herself walking again in the woodlands of Tuscany among the trees of the Maremma. It was 1987 when she’d met Gaitano and they’d gone for the first of their many walks in those woods. The yellow ginestra flowers were in bloom then, he’d always loved those bright broom flowers. He’d pointed out the different kinds of bird’s nests to her; she’d been impressed by one huge nest that had been made in the bough of a large tree, she couldn’t seem to remember now what bird that had been.
She was pulled out of her thoughts when another guest entered the room. A buxom woman of around sixty with a carrying voice. They’d once been close friends a few years back, but she’d gone off to America and they’d lost track of each other as sometimes happens. As soon as she had hung her coat up she made a bee-line for Virginia.
“Ah, Virginia my dear! What a sight for sore eyes. I’m just so very happy to be back home!” she said as she kissed Virginia on both cheeks, “I’ve had a really harrowing time out in the sticks of North America, I can’t wait to tell you all about it. But first, tell me my dear, where is Gaitano that adorable husband of yours?”
A sudden hush fell on the room and even the usually self-confident woman felt the collective embarrassment and she realized that something was off.
This happened more rarely now that he’d been dead for nearly three months, but still, sometimes it did happen but it no longer bothered Virginia like it had done.
“Oh my dear Carla, you haven’t heard. He passed away last autumn. We scattered his ashes in the Maremma.” Virginia replied.
Carla with tears in her eyes embraced her friend.
© G.s.k. ‘16
(This is a work of pure fiction based on parties I’ve been to in my youth. Bastet)
hung, cherry, wearing, bloom, snow, springs, bough, trees, again, roam, woodlands, seventy