“Something told him that something was coming to an end. Not the world, exactly. Just the summer. There would be other summers, but there would never be one like this. Ever again.” ~ Neil Gaiman, Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
After twenty years, I finally returned to Termoli. It felt like a homecoming of sorts. It was bitter and it was sweet. I regret that I waited so long to return. After all, A passed away ten years ago. I wanted to come then to pay my respects and to say goodbye, but life and situations got in the way, and this year was the first time that I saw a clear path back to this magical place. It was as if all the stars aligned just so that I could make this journey.
His parents met me at the airport. I saw them as soon as I exited the terminal. I saw the love and happiness in their faces, and I felt the love and joy in their warm kisses and embrace. We all cried tears of happiness, tears of pain, and tears for the loss of A, our beloved, who connected us then and who still continues to connect us all.
We swam in the sea every morning, and we dined al fresco in the evenings. After dinner, we walked amidst ancient fortresses and breathed in salty sea air. We drank strong cups of espresso, and ate glorious fresh food from the sea. The sun was strong and beamed upon us every day. At night, the skies were dark in the way that made the stars seemed brighter.
I will always remember A. He will forever live in my heart. Without him, I never would have known of this beautiful place, and I would never have had the honor to meet his beautiful family and friends. He is what brought me to Termoli. I have tasted a slice of heaven, and I know he is in his own personal heaven watching over all of us.