Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Flavia - A Sketch From the Past

This drawing was done by my friend Flavia in Taromino on Sicily in the early 1980's. She did this on a sketch pad sitting on the wall by the beach. Being a raven haired, dark eyed, young woman, to me she was the epitome of the artist, capturing the light while at the same time capturing my heart.

Flavia was just 17, you know what I mean? I was almost 10 years her senior,  so we weren't lovers or anything like that. We were just two people trying to talk in different languages, never really getting past looking into one another's eyes and the pages of the dictionary. And that was fine with me. Now, Platonic love can either break your heart or inspire a poem, a song, or just a memory. In this case I got lucky - I got the memory.

Her family was very courteous and nice to me, insisting that I eat with them while in port. This was their family vacation, a month which they spent at the beach after slaving away in Palmero all year. I was there for a week on the Mississinewa, an oil tanker of about 30, 000 tons displacement, and was their guest nightly at the hotel they were quartered in. I had become a friend of their daughter and that was reference enough for them.

Neither my lack of Italian, nor the limited English they possessed, kept the conversation from flowing with the wine over dinner. With the aid of the by now venerated dictionary, there was much to talk about. Through that we spoke of politics, the American President, my travels, the fathers work as a banker and Flavia's ambitions to become a successful commercial artist. Mama just smiled and indicated that I should eat more. I would bring some small gifts each night as a token of appreciation for their hospitality.

Flavia had never been to America, or NYC, and did the drawing from her head. She asked me if it was fairly accurate.  I told her it was perfect. And then, as if it were nothing at all she gave it to me.... and I still have it. From her head to my heart.... and I can still feel the warmth of the Sicilian sun and the breeze as we sat on the wall about 40 years ago....

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