Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Mothers & Sons, V
The day went on like this: three German groups, two French, a group of Scotswomen in English. The guide did not stop even for lunch. Servi did not get off the bus. The woman changed languages but not the intensity of her presentation and the veracity and firmness in which she projected it: the Vatican, the Pallazo Nova, the Pantheon, the Coliseum, the Circus Maximus, the Forum, a roll call of Roman antiquity in four languages and four gears, with marginalia presented by the bus driver, who grunted and groaned at the woman’s whispered commands. This was the same will which she had used to drop off her reluctant son at the day school. The impulse which Lot’s wife succumbed to, but not this woman.
Then it was all over. Servi was once again alone on the bus but no other group came on. The woman was in front of him, casting him a wan smile, an expression which all at once seemed to inform and confuse him about her motivations and drives. She threw a bag over her shoulder and placed both her hands firmly on her hips.
“Now you have to get off,” she said in English, only to finish in Italian. “The bus goes back to the garage and I must go fetch my son.”
“I can come?” Servi asked.
“To the garage?” the woman answered, raising her eyebrows.
“No, to get your son.”
“Suit yourself,” she said, turning away. So Servi followed her into the street.