At 8.30 sharp at night, when the streets were empty and all windows closed, Signor Ricci went out for his daily walk around the neighbourhood. The doctor had recommended some exercise to help reduce the pain in his arthritic legs.
The otherwise filled with busy pedestrians narrow streets of Jesi, a historical town in the province of Marche, were now filled with memories and uncertainty. Day 33 and counting since Signor Ricci’s last visit to the bar at the central square for his regular espresso. What a new life! Day 33 and counting since his last play with his grandchildren.
This time he did not rush back to his house, but instead stood for a moment at his favourite crossroad, where the stairs to the castle, the stairs to the main square and the stairs to the cathedral met. The intense street light blinded him for a few seconds but also brought clarity. Ghosts from his life during the World War, the difficult birth of his son, the death of his wife joined a parade around him.
But he stood still. He remembered he had faced all difficulties in life with persistence, resilience and hope that helped him reach his 89th year and he was grateful. He drew strength from inside him and using his stick he forced all ghosts to disappear. He felt like an imaginary castle guard the came into town to protect the king and his loved ones.
Signor Ricci smiled and returned back home for his regular Skype call with his grandkids at 9.30 – he needed some time, every time, to figure out how to connect.
*Mynd taken in Jesi, Italy, January 2017*