In Italy they say, “If you look back, you’ll go back.” So today we’ll take our last walk on the lungomare (the boardwalk), breathe in our last deep lungfuls of sea air, and spend our last coins on frivolity and lemon soda.
I find it difficult to leave the sea behind me. As I said on Monday, it gives my childhood—and every glorious summer since then—back to me, and who wants to walk away from that? It’s the same when I drive away from Manzanita, Oregon or from Pawleys Island, South Carolina. This melancholy is in no way unique to Italy. It belongs to oceans and seas everywhere. So we soak up every last drop until we have to get in the car and leave it, as the Italians say, at our shoulders. Come with me—
We walk arm in arm down the bricked boardwalk above the beach and the lazy tide. We toss a 50-cent piece in the binoculars and look west toward the marina then straight out at the horizon where a bird dives for a silver fish. We feed another machine—against our better judgment but just for the fun of it—that tells us how much we weigh. And whether or not the results are accurate, we laugh, because here, now, we know it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter at all. (Besides, for those of us used to pounds, it all looks so harmless in kilos.)
It’s almost time to go, so we use our last euros for a couple bottles of lemony gazzosa, the Amalfitano lemon soda, even though chinotto would be the more local choice. Then we sit facing the water because it’s there, and because there’s nothing more magnetic than that constant horizontal line. We don’t have much to say. It’s easy to read each other’s thoughts in such moments. And words would only spoil it anyway.