The next twenty-four hours are a blur. Eugenio drives me out to the airport. Before long, I’ve boarded the flight and I’m on my way to Italy, alone. I’m numb. I ponder the double loss I’ve suffered in the last three months. It’s surreal, like it’s happened to another person. I stare at the small tray of aeroplane food that is in front of me. I play with the paper napkin and then stop when I realise I’ve started to tear it up into little bits. I have no interest in the food. Then, from my subconscious, I remember Esther’s last words before I left Salisbury.
She’d hugged me fiercely when saying goodbye that afternoon, “Remember to bring Vera back with you. You’ll be doing me a favour. She’ll be accompanied by my mother, but, I think Vera—even though she’s only just turned ten—will be looking after her Nonna. Having you there will be a real balm to them.”
I’m glad to have something positive to think about. Truthfully, I’m dreading all that lies ahead of me. It had been a traumatic couple of days before leaving Salisbury, crowded with well-intentioned commiserating friends.
As I arrive at the apartment in Via Principe Amadeo in Torino, I am taken back to my youth. I stand and stare as I get out the taxi. I grew up in this building. There is the lavanderia located at the front of the block. I walk up the front stairs and into the entrance. Across the hallway is our one-bedroomed apartment. There are so many memories here.
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