Going to the castle made me sad. Not because I didn’t have fun. I had a lovely time.
But I knew it was all going to be over soon. My aunt and uncle and cousin had to drive back to their village, and the next day we’d leave for the Amalfi coast. I’d be back again – I was sure of it (Rand had already declared it himself), but this trip to Frigento was winding to an end.
When I was a kid, I remember positively bawling when my aunt and uncle had to return to Italy. Whenever anyone came for a visit and then left. I’d desperately wish to be a grown-up, because they never seemed to cry at the end of a trip. I mistakenly assumed this was because goodbyes no longer made them sad.
But that isn’t the case. As an adult, you just get better at not collapsing into a heap of tears and snot. Most of the time, anyway.
And so, because my heart was heavy and distracted, I hope you’ll forgive me for not fulling recalling the history of the castle. I know that the story was sad. I think that Frederico the II imprisoned one of his sons there, as well as his daughter-in-law, and the couple’s young children died there.
Maybe. I don’t really remember.
What I do remember was my uncle digging around in the grass because he thought he had found some wild asparagus.
And my Zia Rosamaria pointing out the “spontaneous flowers”. Which I soon realized is how Italians say wildflowers. Fiori spontanei.
Spontaneous flowers. It sounds so wonderful and exciting. Like a pair of carnations that get married in Vegas on a whim.
I remember Rand fitting in like a local. Talking to my Zia Antonietta, and using his hands just like a real Italian would.
Navigating over the rocky terrain in a tailored shirt and wingtip boots, because what else would you wear to go hiking?
And I remember seeing all of my uncles, walking in a row.
So I hope you’ll forgive me for not really remembering the castle – those other images are the ones that remain in my mind. And right now, an ocean away from all of them, that seems like the more important part.