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Calypso of the Appenine Way

Calypso of the Appenine Way

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Published by John Wallen
post-structuralist novel.
post-structuralist novel.

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Published by: John Wallen on Jun 21, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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11/14/2013

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What more to say? I saw her again twice before
leaving for England: both times on the same day.
The night before my departure, I had arranged
to see Paolo Rossini, an old friend from nearby
Montecchio, in the great central square of Parma,
where all the tables had long since been laid out
under the starry and mild Italian summer nights.
On the afternoon of that same day, I had gone to
the ‘Oktoberfest’ for a drink and a chat with the
Sicilian owner, Paolo Corradi, and his sons. We’d
been sitting talking and joking together when
Eleonora suddenly appeared from around the
corner, coming from the direction of the university.
She was alone, and wore dark sunglasses. As she
saw my face through the window, she turned her
head and I made a sign of acknowledgement. She
stopped suddenly, took off her dark glasses, and
walked along to the entrance of the birreria without
once looking at me again. I sat inside the cool
building wearing my own dark glasses and, although
I was looking straight at her as she approached, she
probably couldn’t have seen my eyes. She popped
her head around the door and made a casual
remark about the ever increasing heat, to which
Paolo grunted and concurred. After this she left, and
I could see a strange and self-satisfied smile playing
around the corners of her lips as she disappeared
past the glass walls of the birreria.

Calypso of the Appenine Way

147

It must have been about nine-thirty that evening
when I approached the central Parma square in the
company of Paolo Rossini. As we neared the serried
ranks of tables and vibrant, animated people, I could
see Eleonora bending down and talking to someone.
Fabio and Elvira stood a respectable distance away,
waiting for her to complete her conversation. Paolo
and I took our seats at one of the few vacant tables.
After a moment, she finished talking, and I saw the
three of them begin to drift off towards her home. I
was sure that Eleonora hadn’t seen me, but felt
equally certain that she would soon be appraised of
the fact of my presence by Elvira, who had
undoubtedly seen me.
It would have been about an hour later that I
saw Eleonora passing before my field of vision. I
was sitting with my back to the bar, facing Paolo and
the main thoroughfare. Eleonora was walking by,
just a little beyond the last rows of tables laid out in
the vibrant Garibaldi Square. She was walking
slowly and somewhat self-consciously along,
swinging her arms from side to side, and smiling
straight ahead into the heart of the summer night.
The course of her direction was so obviously
arranged to perfectly bisect my range of vision that I
could not doubt that all aspects of this masque like
procession had been exactly planned.
Following Eleonora came Elvira and Fabio
walking together some distance behind. Elvira was
looking wretched—though Fabio was attempting to
make a little desultory conversation.
Slowly, ever so very slowly, this strange and
unique procession passed around the outskirts of
the crowded square, actors on the stage of some
continuing aesthetic drama, being minutely observed
by their tired, but still receptive public.

John Wallen

148

And so it would always prove, I suddenly
thought. There was a fundamental basic principle
operating in each of our lives—and mine had its root
in Eleonora. Always, I would find myself in search of
her enigmatic loveliness, and always, it would be
necessary for me to feel this heavy burden of
suffering in my heart. And time and time again I
would lose her, only to discover her unsurpassed
and unsurpassable opulence anew. The lines of fate
were fixed—if contrary—and the sumptuous truths
and secrets which lay inside the concurrence of our
mutual hearts would always reverberate as on this
summer night, proving perpetually too strong and
beautifully insinuating for rational explanation.

Bangkok-Doha, 2007

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