La Custode – The Guardian

Eva heaved herself out of the chair. She wobbled towards the entrance. It was getting harder and harder to stand up she realised. Even with the stick she knew she was shuffling. Shuffle, shuffle, plant stick. Shuffle, shuffle, plant stick. She made her way slowly to the door. Her sandals seemed to have a mind of their own slipping and slidding for no reason. She opened the heavy metal door.

There was a fair-skinned woman stood outside. She was wearing shorts and a sleeveless shirt. She had pink cheeks and reddish-brown hair. She’s mad thought Eva. It’s a cold day, we’re still in May. She’s dressed for high summer, must be foreign. Good grief she’s come on a bicycle. Lock that bike up well she advises. ‘They’re all thieves round here these days, can’t trust anyone’.

Are you interested in Giorgio Bassani then, she enquires of the visitor. There’d been many more visitors since they put in the new memorial a few years ago. Flipping nuisance in Eva’s eyes. Out of the door, turn right, first left, straight to the bottom, past the tomato plants and he’s on the right. You’ll see the stone there.

She realises that she feels like a chat. She smoothes her hair net and adjusts her rollers. I’m eighty five years old she announces. The woman appears to show an interest. Been here fifty years, me and Rudi. Well it’s just me now. Rudi passed away the summer before last.There’ll be no more ‘custode’ when I’m gone. I’m a dying breed you know, she cackled to herself.

The visitor made her way into the bright sunlight of the cemetery. The sparkling white marble of the tombs reflected the sun’s rays and were dazzling.  A large family mausoleum on the far side of the garden attracted her. She glimpsed inside. A large plaque in Hebrew and Italian read,  ‘Polvere sei e alla polvere tornerai’. From dust you come and to dust you will return. A cheery thought indeed. She wondered if this would be Eva’s final resting place.



6 thoughts on “La Custode – The Guardian

  1. Janet–I love how you create stories from the things you see as you travel. I Googled Giorgio Bassani. He is described (among other thing) as an “international intellectual.” Kind of like you!

    Mary Lou

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

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