jan windle

The Via Cavour is silvered. The cats are sneaking home. Only the gutter’s oily puddles retain color in the dawn light. She waits with the heavy suitcase while he fetches his scooter. He loads the baggage on to the seat so he can push it down to the Piazza della Libertá where the hired car waits in the underground carpark. The top-heavy load sways and wobbles as together they guide it.

In the Piazza the grandiose arch broods across the deserted one-way traffic system, the lights wink and change unnecessarily. Now she realizes that she no longer knows the way to the Subterrano where she left the hired car yesterday. She’d circled the Piazza a dozen times to find the way into the one-way street where the vehicle entrance lay. She makes a guess and they struggle across the piazza into a side street. Nothing looks right. She stops him with a sign and gets out the map.

No matter how they twist and turn the tattered page, they can’t orientate themselves. Time is passing, in this Fellini film environment, faster than real time. He goes back to the top of the side street to see its name, returns and grabs the map, pointing to a street at right angles to where they stand. She’s sure he’s wrong, but follows. The echo of their progress is amplified by the high ornate buildings above. Now there’s an occasional three-wheeler on the street, an early cyclist whistling as he passes on the other side. The silver sky has a tinge of gold between the buildings. The time is passing, the plane is waiting. They double back, try another street. She sees them as through a lens, an odd couple, no communication except through looks and touch, but a common aim – her welfare. Despite her panic, she’s excited, moved and for a moment she loves him.
Jan Windle