by Melinda Gallo

Three bittersweet days

At the beginning of August, I always find myself feeling a bit melancholy. Sometimes I try not to let the sadness in my heart come out, but sometimes it gets the best of me. My mother's birthday was today, my grandmother's (my mother's mother) was yesterday, and my dad's birthday was Friday. They are days that I used to celebrate with them, but now that they're gone, I find them to be the most unbearable days of the year for me.

At a time when Florence is quiet and beautiful and the weather is just perfect, I find myself wanting to lock myself up in my apartment and not see anyone. Hardly any of my friends know about these three days that bring me so much sadness as I don't like talking about them. Luckily, many of my friends were out of town, so I've been able to keep to myself these past few days.

I had wanted to go to the chiesa (church) near our apartment where I ho ordinato una messa (ordered a mass) for my parents, but I couldn't bring myself to go. I did walk into the chiesa a week ago in the hopes of weakening the sadness that I feel, but that obviously didn't work.

Sometimes I think about the time my mother came to visit me in Florence when I was living here in 1998. She loved her visit of the city, but I don't think she thought it was a good idea for me to live here because I didn't have a full-time job and was earning only enough to enable me to live in Florence so that I could write. I'm sure she worried about me and hoped that I'd become more stable here.

I'd like to imagine that if she could come to visit me now, she'd be happy to see me happy in Florence with my life here, my marito (husband) and my friends. I know my dad would be happy for me because he said he always saw me in Italy even before I ever visited Italy. He thought my living in France was just a preparatory stage to my living in Italy.

In the end, I think it's better to have these three days together so I can remember all three of them at the same time. It can be intense, but when the three days have passed, the intensity diminishes and peace washes over me once again.

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