The travelling husband is going out for dinner with his high school friends. A “down to the memory lane”dinner they organise every summer, and every summer they ended up to eat, drink and stay out more than they should. “More then they should “not because of the wives complaining about it, but because of their bodies, that have all passed the middle age, complaining on the following day. The wives,well know by now to make sure there is enough alkaselzer in the house.
Us girls are home alone for the evening and we decided to go for dinner at my parent’s and stay overnight. If, in fact, one grandmother is still on strike,the other one seemed to have regained her energies and she is ready to go back in the game and pamper her granddaughters and daughter this time.
The plan was to leave the beach a bit earlier then usual so to have time to take a shower and get appropriately dressed an groomed by a reasonable time in order to get to my parent’s house before dinner time,because it is a house and not a restaurant!
Of course, at 6.30 pm we were still at the beach, or to be precise in the water. The idea was to have a quick last swim but instead I have been trapped in a conversation that I could not possibly end quickly.I indeed would have and hardly tried to,but everything I said generated more questions. Reincarnation,karma,black and white magic: how in hell would my daughters think about these things while just having a quick swim?!
In fairness I only have to blame myself when I told them, last week,we went to Salem and briefly explained its history. Obviously talking about witches and wizards opened a pandora box of universal proportions and they had a whole week to elucubrate their theory and questions.We went from why there was ever a witchhunt; to what are black and white magic, passing through if ghosts really exist. Daughter number one knows for a fact that if you die with unfinished business, you will wander around until you sort them out. Daughter number two got a bit confuse between life as a spirit and reincarnation but before I could even say a word, daughter number one, who clearly knows her stuff, said in a slightly lecturing tone that are two very different things,obviously : Reincarnation is when you resurrect after you die, usually after three days at springtime; Being a spirit or a ghost instead is when you are dead but haven’t gone to the underworld yet because you still have something to do.At that point, I stopped imagining a little army of Caspers floating around running errands and I instead started to imagine the girls coming up with all this publicly,or worse with my mother in law .Their paternal grandmother,in fact,is a devoted Catholic and still has not digested the fact that her only grandchildren have not received the first communion, and is continually trying to save their soul giving them Holy Mery charms necklaces and father Pio prayers cards.It was time to give the girls some religious brief guidelines and which place fit the purpose better then a crowded beach?
Futile to say that when we got out the water, it was me to feel like I had resurrected only merely for the fact I had survived that conversation and managed , I think, to make some clarity in my daughter’s confused heads.
Already considerably late in our schedule we wrapped up our things and went home.With extraordinary harmony and efficiency by 7.15pm we were ready to go.Nona’s home is thirty km away from our holidays home, and even if we got ready at a record time there was not a chance to be there by 7.30pm,but when we rang to apologise and say we were leaving now an incredibly relaxed nona said not to worry as she was still out for a ride on her bike herself:We were fine as neither the dinner nor our nona were really impatiently waiting for us yet.
We drove my granddad car, he technically still has his licence active,but family gently forbid him to drive because he is a real danger on the road, for himself and the unlucky ones who might cross his path. He refuses to sell the car and we suspect, looking at the few bumps on it, he is still driving it up the slide in the early hours of the morning when the traffic is very quiet. Anyway, he graciously lends us the car every time we are in italy, after strongly recommend to be extra careful at not to lose the key because it is the only copy he has left. Not that he lost the other one,it is simply in some very safe place he can’t at the moment remember.
We are now on the road, with the comfort of the air conditioning.I normally hate airconditioning but with 38 degrees still at this time in the evening and with the 80%of humidity,air conditioning becomes something vital and tonight in particular.The traffic is jammed and we are stuck in a long queue of cars that are not moving.
Slowly but surely we reach the next roundabout, and I can detour through a countryside road that allows us to avoid all the traffic. The positive side of coming back on holidays in the places where you grew up is that you know every possible shortcut.You might get confused because where once there were green fields now there are apartment blocks, but still you know your way around. We took a detour and escaped the traffic jam making it to our final destination safe and in time for a gourmet dinner and a nice family evening but,most of all,we made it carefully avoiding any dangerously engaging topic of conversation.