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Monday, July 27, 2009

The leather suitcase

My mother never spent too much money in presents for me.
I always got a little bit more than needed, but not too much more.
In my family saving was the meaning of life.
The conditio sine qua non.
You could live as long as you didn’t need too much, didn’t eat too much, didn’t spend too much.
Those were the first things you learned and you were expected to live by that standard.
This was my mother, this was my grandmother and this was probably my grand grand mother and so on...

But once, for my fifteen birthday, I got a wonderful luxurious present.
Something I wouldn’t have expected, something I wouldn’t have thought I could afford, something like I never bought and will never buy.
It was a beautiful, expensive leather suitcase, made with the most expensive Italian leather, something made for lasting all your life.
And it really did.
"this will be your friend, in every trip you will take, it will be a part of me who will travel with you".
My mother traveled very little and just when she was very young.
Then the war came and after the war a husband, and after the husband two children and after them, she, who dreamed of traveling all her life, didn’t feel like traveling any more.

But she traveled with me, everywhere, in everyplace where I went.
How are the people in England? And in the USA? And in China?
She thought that they must have been special, so different from us Italians.
How could I tell her that wherever I went, there was a little piece of Italy.
There was the Pizza, the Espresso, Spaghetti and Tiramisu.

"There are good and bad people, there are nice and ugly things"
"You never tell me about your trips, what you see and what you do..."

I never felt the need, because she was always there, in that beautiful leather suitcase...
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