by Yvonne Allen,
Eve closed the taxi door, took her suitcase and paused, distracted by the beauty of the street. What memories! she thought.
'Signora', a young man's voice cried out, knowing that it was too late to avoid the collision. Thankfully, her suitcase took the brunt of the bike's impact. He offered to help the elegant lady to the hotel which was covered now, as before, in all it's bougainvillea beauty. She declined, telling him that she was perfectly fine. He smiled, cycling down the sunny street and Eve watched him go. It could have been Giovanni thirty years ago, she mused. I'm being silly now, she reprimanded herself. She felt a sinking feeling as she entered the hotel, unsure that she was doing the right thing.
Picking up her key, Eve found herself standing at an old oak desk. It was the same one where she had stood thirty years before. The dark interior, in contrast to the sunny street, held a charm for Eve that no modern building could. Wood, flowers and beeswax, lifted her heart. Very little had changed. The open, metal lift seemed a little scary now as it rattled it's way to the first floor. Her room overlooked the courtyard, the open window framed by swathes of pink and orange bougainvillea. She remembered clipping flowers into her hair and wearing a simple white muslin dress. Some evenings, Eve had returned to her room with a flower which Giovanni had picked for her. Perfect evenings, that were life's sweetest memories. Her heart felt broken now, as it had when their relationship ended all those years ago.
No time for thinking, Eve reminded herself, washing and dressing quickly. She walked through the archway to the local hairdressers, anxious to look her best. It was not so easy to look in the mirror now, time had not stood still for Eve. In contrast, everything around her looked much the same, which she found disconcerting. Wearing a dark green dress, Eve travelled a once familiar route to Giovanni's Mother's house. The funeral director stood outside, flanked by two large circular laurel wreaths. They look like Emperor's crowns displayed on giant easels, Eve thought. She joined the people waiting to pay their respects. She walked through the courtyard, and noticed that the old fountain was still working. She remembered him, splashing water on the new dress she had worn to meet his mother.
Eve entered the dark drawing room greeted by the heady scent of lilies on a warm evening. She walked to the coffin and stood there for a very long while. Time stood still and Eve held Giovanni's hand one last time. 'I'm Gianni'. A suited, dark haired young man was offering her his hand. It was the same hand which had steadied her earlier in the street. 'I'm Giovanni's son,' he explained.
‘I'm Eve Philpott,' a surprised Eve replied. Gianni smiled, 'Did you know my Father'?
About the author
Yvonne Allen grew up in the seaside town of Cobh on the Great Island in Cork Harbour, Ireland. She is a member of the Cork Co. Council Writer's Collective. Yvonne is a graduate of University College Cork where she studied History of Art and Archaeology. She has a huge interest in maritime history and enjoys living in a town with a big history to tell. Cobh (Queenstown) was the last port of call of RMS Titanic.
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