It’s in the little things – that I begin to touch what happened. Over a month has passed since we had to leave our homes at three-thirty in the morning, grabbing what we could as we rushed over the stucco flakes and other debris out of our house into the dark morning to find the hotel in front of us already down, folded like a layer cake of cement and steel.
I have been so busy getting on with life – finding a place to stay besides our car farther and farther from home, going back for essentials – and the cat – with the firemen, getting on with work in Rome, and just getting on with life with the girls here in Montesilvano.
It’s the little things. Last night we were driving to Navelli, the family house there is in much better shape than our house in L’Aquila but the aftershocks continue and most people still sleep in tents at night. The girls missed their friends there and we needed to get some fresh clothes. A song by Irene Grandi came on the radio and we all started singing to it like in some cheesy movie and I started to cry – silently because I didn’t want them to miss a word.
The experts say that during earthquakes the best thing to do is duck under something that can protect you and wait it out. Which is impossible if you are a parent. As the floor rocked and everything shook and rattled and roared for almost half a minute, Silvia and I ran to the girl’s bedroom to get help them climb down from their beds. There’s really no room for thinking about what’s going on, being a father or a mother guides you.
A woman I saw on TV through the window of our cousin’s house (no one wanted to be inside so we watched TV from the garden), filmed in front of the pile of stones that was her house said something so simple yet full of truth.
“These are only stones, only bricks. I can put one on top of the other again. But my family and friends are the real bricks, and they are still here, and that’s what matters.”
And they are