Meanwhile Back at the Castle


This is the Castello Normanno in Adrano, Sicily. My cousin Anna Maria took me there on an overcast spring day when I didn’t have a whole lot to say, or maybe I was so exhausted from speaking Sicilian—from reaching so far back into my memory bank—that I just didn’t have any words left.

When I first saw the castle, I had no idea what it was and Anna Maria tried to explain but I couldn’t understand. (She is of the younger generation of my cousins that went to school and speaks more Italian than Sicilian, which I can only half-follow.) There are so many ruins in Sicily. In the middle of downtown. In the middle of fields. And the Roman and Greek ruins are spectacular, to be sure, but there’s something about the Norman ruins, like this one, that were particularly haunting and beautiful to me. Maybe because they seem so out of place amidst the palm trees and enormous pink flowers. A million miles away from home. Which of course makes no sense because Sicily was home to the Normans. Well, these Normans anyway.

I’ll write about that day with Anna Maria, the whole history of the thing. How my cousin Angela lives in Adrano but we couldn’t go see her because she was fighting with my Aunt Maria. How Anna Maria walked me down the main street with all the jewelry shops selling mountains of Italian gold. How all the old men in the square watched me pass as though I was an alien. Someday. When it’s ready to be written.

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