by Daniel Day
Ghosts don't walk in the daylight. They are lonely creatures, caught between here and there and then and now. They walk in the darkness, always alone. Anna, the author and artist, penned the final words of her story. The coloured houses received the warmth from the sun and breathed in the scent of flowers. The houses looked pretty on that Summer’s day. The prettiest of buildings often hide the ugliest of secrets and these have ugly secrets indeed thought Anna to herself.
Anna sat on the stone bench and tears escaping from their hiding places exited her eyes. Sighs betrayed their owner, and Anna looked at the scene through the prism of memory. It could make a nice photograph or painting, thought Anna as she observed the unfolding moment, brushing aside her tears. Photographers take the tools of their trade and attempt to hold a moment in time and artists likewise. ‘Folly, folly, all is folly’ Anna said loudly, smiling to herself. Shutter and lens cannot hold a moment, no more than the brush and palette can hold it. A moment may grant the explorer a sudden pulling back of the veil, only to leave her possibly more lost than before. Anna’s thoughts rambled on as she looked at the street.
Anna saw the young man approaching. He was whistling; so few men whistle these days, thought Anna. That tune is an old tune for one so young to be whistling, from the pearl fishers, the famous duet. It was Enrico's. He also used to whistle, and he loved that duet. Anna closed her eyes and hummed the tune. Can you help me? Do you speak English? Anna, startled, opened her eyes and gasped, Enrico? It can't be!
“My apologies, Madame, I did not mean to startle you.”
“It’s okay, said Anna, you reminded me of someone I used to know a long time ago.. Can I help you?”
“Thank you, my name actually is Enrico. I am looking for the family of Anna Rossini; she was a dear friend of my granduncle but sadly she died during the war. It broke my granduncle's heart .He never married and when he heard that I was coming to this part of Italy he asked me to try to find members of her family.”
Anna looked long and hard at this young man and thought to herself; I am truly a ghost of times past, walking in the daylight.
Anna motioned to Enrico to sit beside her and she took his hands in hers. ”Enrico, I…….”
They had not noticed the birdsong dying nor the sudden stillness of the air. They failed to realize that their time, their moment, had come to an end. The village was swallowed in an instant as the earth quaked.. Unfinished conversations now hang in the air where once pretty houses stood.