Antonio and Luigia invited us to their home. Up in Ciorlano, you have a view of all the towns below. Antonio pointed them out to us and told us their names, which I’ve forgotten already. I remember Capriatti but there was another one in the middle that whenever Elida tried to say it in Italian, both Antonio and Luigia giggled. I guess whatever she was saying sounded like “chicken” to them.

The town was eerily quiet. I asked Luigia what people did for work. Did they work in Ciorlano or commute to the other towns? Luigia said that not many of them had work. We walked into their home. To get there, we had to duck under supports to the ceiling.

Inside their home it was neat and tidy. They had an updated kitchen. At the table, Luigia brought us beer, cafe, her homemade sherry and a slice of her bundt cake which she proudly told us was “American.” Antonio sat there and made jokes with us. It was amazing how we got along — us speaking a few words of Italian and them finishing our sentences. Us understanding what they were saying and then we’d say it to each other in English. Then, they would venture with a few words of English and we’d finish their sentences. We passed the time pretty well, enjoying the new information we learned about one another and forgetting that there was a language barrier at all. It was just newly-found friends enjoying drinks at the table. It made me think that immersing myself in the culture wouldn’t be too much — I could figure out the language. I would enjoy the novelties and challenges of a new culture. And I would love the people.

When it was time to leave, you could tell that Luigia was sad. I don’t think she gets many visitors and Ciorlano has that feeling that anything new is a rare pleasure. We invited them to visit us, but they gave us that look that said it all — it would be too expensive, too out of their means. Luigia is a diabetic — it would be difficult.

We came down from the mountains easier than we went in. I wondered what it all meant. I wondered if our family would live there or not. What is our purpose? What are we supposed to do? What do our hearts say? What are our responsibilities? What does it all mean –the stars in the sky, the castle in ruins on the hill, the piles of twaddle we write, the little efforts to better your life, the choices we make, the illusion of destiny? Elida and I had journeyed to the destination. We had made it. We had gotten the information we sought. Now what?

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