Day 10 After the Fall
Sunday morning I awoke to an email from Mike saying he had booked a flight to Rome, departing Monday (the next day) and arriving Tuesday. I danced down to my breakfast of melba toast and cappuccino, pocketed some yogurt and a slice of sweet cake for Jay, and spoke to the kind lady of the inn about booking a room for Mike. Yes, she had a single room available, for how long? I booked it for a week – and then skipped off to the hospital.
When I told Jay Mike was coming, a delighted, relieved smile spread across his face. I am sure he was as eager for different company as I was for support. By now, we had little to talk about. The future seemed foggy at best, we’d exhausted speculations about the insurance claim, and we spent hours together each day, under the wacky eye of his roommate, who seemed to have nothing wrong with him except a broken arm and a rather intrusive curiosity about us. Not that anything was really happening in either of our lives. I told Jay about my discovery of the children’s park, but he did not seem very interested. Thinking he might just feel envious of my ability to get out for a walk, I dropped the subject. I did not want to talk about my fears, as there was nothing he could do about them.
The day dragged. I went back and forth from the hospital to La Collina several times. When I found myself getting cross and tired from sitting, I would leave for an hour or two, then feel guilty and hurry back.
Shortly after lunch we spoke to Mike on the phone: the insurance company had approved the claim! Mike did not know exactly why, and I was puzzled that they had not informed me, but they were now saying they did not need the reports, or if they did, they would obtain them. It seemed Neil – or the administrator he’d contacted – had succeeded in pressuring them into dropping this insane demand. I thought of poor Giorgio driving to Citta di Castello the next day – and on my next trip back to La Collina I emailed Janet telling her we no longer needed the report and could she tell Giorgio? She did, but he seemed very determined to complete his mission. “No,” I wrote. “We don’t need it. I don’t even want it and there is no need for him to travel anymore on our behalf!” Janet promised to try to stop him.
Another vase of flowers arrived, this time from the Stratford local of the Stagehands Union (IATSE) – obviously Neil had also arranged this. Jay barely had time to glance at the flowers before the nurse ordered me to remove them from the room, for fear of infection. My camera matrimoniale at La Collina now sported quite the floral display.
At this point, I was receiving dozens of emails a day and sending out regular updates to a list of 20 or 30 people. Sometimes I found it all exhausting – I’d race in to my room, strip off clothes soggy with sweat, boost the AC, read emails, compose responses, dress again and race back. On the up side, people were now writing funny emails, which I read aloud to amuse Jay – and I gained enormous strength from the outpouring of support. It sounded like the whole town of Stratford was waiting with bated breath for news. One friend described a group of people on break outside the theatre, all checking their phones for updates, then sharing excitedly. “The operation was a success! “He’s hallucinating!” “The claim has been approved!” I was in constant contact with all of our children and pretty much every day Jay spoke to one of them, which cheered him immensely.
Scarlett arrived mid-afternoon for her final visit. She was leaving to drive back to England the next day. We’d been in daily phone contact and I felt bereft about her leaving, although I knew she had to get back and I would not have dreamed of asking any more of her. Besides, Mike would arrive soon
She visited with Jay and then the two of us went for a walk. I wanted to show her my park, but alas, it was closed on Sunday. We continued along the narrow road, peering at it through the fence, and soon found ourselves wandering amidst the community vegetable gardens. There were dozens of little fenced off plots, filled with gorgeous tomatoes and beans and lettuce and peppers, mostly being tended by men, who nodded and said Buongiorno to us. It was perhaps the closest I came to experiencing real Italian life.
Scarlett was very pleased about Mike coming – and it sounded like she was ready to go home. I knew the feeling, just did not yet have the means. I bid her a very fond farewell and then went…back to the hospital.