Monday, April 2
Baia di Puolo
We decided to go for a ride on the bike with no destination in mind. We drove through Sorrento, dodging the pasty tourists, huddled together in protective groups. They were mostly wearing shorts , tee shirts and straw hats, but it wasn’t very warm. I had a sweater, coat and a scarf on and was cold, but maybe that was due to speeding along on the back of the bike.
As we drove out of the town centre towards Massa Lubrense we stopped to look at the view. There was a small beach way below us which might be nice to visit. The road wound down steeply through olive groves, becoming narrower as we reached the bottom. Suddenly it looked familiar, “I think I’ve been here before!” I yelled, trying to be heard through two helmets and the wind rushing past us.
We left the bike parked by a little café that was still closed from the winter and walked past an orange Fiat 500 parked next to a boat on the sand. I looked around, “no, I was wrong, I haven’t been here before, I don’t recognise anything.”
He gave me a strange look but I ignored him and went off to take some photos.
We walked past a small row of cafes and bars, all in the process or reopening for the summer. Walls were being painted, tables varnished and floors scrubbed. Small fishing boats puttered in and out of the bay and a few seagulls flapped around overhead. As we came closer to the end of the beach I realised that I had been there before.
“Wait! I remember this….there’s a small hidden beach over that wall,” I pointed ahead of me. “I went to a party there with Andrea one evening.”
“ Yes, I know, you told me already,” said Carlo.
“I told you? When?”
“The last time we came here together.”
“I haven’t been here with you! You must have me muddled with someone else.”
“No, it was you. This was where I told you that I wanted to have children with you, I can’t believe you forgot.”
I think about this for a bit while we climb over the wall to the small hidden beach, but have absolutely no memory of being there with him. There is a big black rock in the middle of the beach and the water is crystal clear. We stretch out side by side and lie there for a while until the stones become uncomfortable and we stroll back towards the bike.
As we drive up the narrow path a sudden memory flashes back: winter, bitterly cold but sunny. Carlo and his old blue Vespa, black gloves and numb fingers, whispered promises and stolen kisses. So we had been there before, it must have been in that period when he was teaching me to drive his Vespa, when Skye was only an hopeful distant dream. I twisted round and watched the beach recede behind us, as we headed back up through the olive groves and along the coast searching for somewhere to have lunch.
at 1:41 PM