Calum McSwiggan

Goodbye Frascati

In Eat, Love on June 28, 2012 at 5:36 pm

Frascati by night

‘Goodbye to the town we lived in, goodbye to the place we met, goodbye to our future, goodbye our regrets’

– Jools Holland

Leaving day is usually a day of excitement, a day for looking forward to the future, and a day for embracing a new adventure, but when I was gifted the opportunity to go live and work near Florence, I felt nothing but a cold dark emptiness.

I had only spent two short weeks in Frascati, yet the relationships and memories I’d forged made it seem like I’d lived there a lifetime. It had been the closest thing to home I’d felt in as long as I could remember. When I left Derby, the place I’d lived for six years, I struggled to find any kind of emotional response, but now I had found my home away from home, I didn’t want to leave.

I couldn’t walk down the streets without being invited in for coffee by a friendly face, it was a place where everybody treated you like family, a place where everybody was your best friend, a place where jobs offers were handed out like candy- it was the most quintessentially Italian town I’ve ever visited and I didn’t ever want to leave.

I peered out of the carriage window as my train began to pull away from the station and watched my host family blowing me kisses from the platform. I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the window and saw that I had splotches of strawberry gelato on both cheeks from where my Vietnamese brother had kissed me goodbye. I smiled at first, slowly and unsurely, and then my lips began to tremble and my whole face went into spasm, I swallowed hard as I felt a lump beginning to form in the back of my throat, and then looked down into my lap, desperately not wanting them to see me upset.

It was only when they were completely out of sight that I let myself collapse into a fit of heavy yet silent tears, I bit down hard onto the insides of my cheeks to try and stop myself but it was useless. The sun beat down on me and the tears fell from my eyes faster than I could catch them, melted hair gel ran down my forehead and streaks of strawberry ice cream drizzled down my cheeks, and before I knew it I was hiccoughing and sobbing noisily in a crowd full of confused and petrified Italian men.

I thought of all the good memories, to try to compensate for the sadness of leaving, I clutched the turtle pendant that now hung from around my neck, I spun the friendship bracelets on my wrist, and gently massaged the cigarette burns on my arm- I was decorated with memories but they only made things worse.

And so I sat there and let it happen. I stopped holding back. I therapuetically cried my heart out in front of everyone, listening to beautiful music and watching quaint villages and ancient aqueducts slowly tumble over the hillsides. But I wasn’t sad, not really, I was just so thankful for such an amazing experience, and although I didn’t want to leave, I knew deep in my heart that one day I would definitely come back.

Goodbye Frascati, I’ll miss you, I’ll miss your teenagers with loose morales, and most of all, I’ll miss your wine.

  1. I Love You

  2. Bit slow reading this. But nice! I miss Frascati 😦

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