living on a happy street

During the school year, each weekday and precisely @2pm, a couple hundred Italian teenagers wrap around the front of our building and turn left beneath my balcony, where inside I’m often typing away. They head toward their buses, and home in Torbole, Mori and Rovereto I suppose.

They’re so loud and lyrical and I love the distraction. They attend the kind of school popular in Italy and Germany, technical and vocational, just up the street, a large building covered in lemony yellow. It’s where I take Italian. (Got a ‘buono’ on my certificato last yr, think that means a B ☺️)

Today it’s absolutely quiet and very hot, a few motorcycles and vespas tool up and down, the odd German tourist in their convertible Merc. Not too many bicycles at this time. I’m walking the kids after lunch in slow motion underneath the Tigli trees – mind’s empty and spent. At the end of the street is a playground where parents deposit their kids every now and then. They scream and laugh, dance and play ball in circles. There’s a small building to one side with bold letters, “TEATRO”

But today the high black gates are open and the doors to the ‘teatro’ open wide. I stop. I see a Japanese guy outside, practicing, singing, falsetto, he’s nervous, walking back and forth, Italian gestures. When I approach he’s happy for the distraction. He pets Gigi and Gaston and shows me a pic of his pups.

He mentions something about a competition for tonight at the castle (there’s musical festivals everywhere this month here in Riva), but now at the TEATRO, informal environs….yet I see an entire orchestra stuffed into that room. I stand for a while and think about taking a seat in the little room overlooking the orchestra but don’t dare. Gigi and Gaston lay down at my feet as I stand in the shade outside. We listen as the music starts and stops, it’s so tranquil, not loud, and then a baritone voice starts and stops, hidden from my view, singing for a minute, then again for 2, this time for at least 3.

My eyes are closed, a few tears flow down my face – a little bliss. Then. Everything stops, people clap. The baritone, the man comes out and towards the open doors with a huge smile, and bows to the few people seated in the little room, then looks at me and I look at this African and he gives me that prayer gesture with his hands, we smile and I turn around….

…the kind of moment that lingers….

Published by baileyalexander

An American living in Piemonte. Sailed across the Atlantic aboard our 43 Nauticat in 2002 and spent over a decade living in Rome, Paris, Prague, Malta, Venice and Bucharest before settling in Piemonte, Italia.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: