A warm scirocco blew across the vineyard stirring the grapes to agitation. Clouds tinged ochre by Saharan sands turned a verdant scene sepia. The Italian dream I had always yearned for was temporarily tainted in southern hues. Yet there was still a splendour to the place even in such unusual circumstances. The hillside lay ripe against the rolling scene, birds chirruped, people sang, and I noticed none of it.
I’d watched her from the moment she undid her braided hair and stood facing the breeze. She had done so every day since and I’d watched them all. Raven was the hair that flowed about slim shoulders; raven would be the colour of my dreams. She worked the crops with an unabashed joy laughing and joking with those about her. She was always so happy. The light reflected off her perfect, olive skin, as I watched on enraptured too shy to call to her, too ashamed of my inadequacies to stand before her. The hours passed as a Zeffirelli movie, a perfect representation of Italian life. But I was not Italian and never would be.
When the church bells tolled to signal the day’s work over that most beautiful of creatures skipped away never knowing I’d even been there. It was my cue to leave. My time amidst serenity was over: England called me home. I would return to a concrete London unchanged in all but outlook knowing I should never see colour again. Goodbye, my Isabella. Goodbye.
(Image courtesy hdw.eweb4.com)