It was one of the usual Sundays with lunch at mom’s house. I sat in my chair, enjoying the taste of the chicken soup I had eaten. I was wearing my favorite tunic with a dream catcher. I felt comfortable and warm. In her apartment it was always bright – the windows from the south side provided light from dawn to sunset. Ideal conditions for a short nap.
From lethargy, I saved myself by focusing on my mother’s humming. She sang mormorando “Va pensiero” and brewed coffee. I struggled to get to walk towards my old room. As I stood at the door, I smiled as I saw that there had been minor changes again. Mom liked to rearrange the furniture, buy new curtains and change places of trinkets (small souvenirs) on a tiny segment.
On the shelf where the three-leaf plant stood so far, this time there were books. Between Princess Diana’s biography and Johannes Paul II’s travel album, I noticed my old school atlas of the world. Although I haven’t seen it in years, I immediately recognised it by the cover of the washable wallpaper. I took the book from the shelf, like the crumbs of memories from years ago – with great emotion.
I started to thumb over the yellowed cards. They smelled like rubbery wallpaper and moved my thoughts to geography lessons. I’ve always had trouble remembering land names, but I liked to find them on maps.
I put the atlas on the carpet. I found a map of the world. I thought, that maybe life will take me somewhere far? I was curious to see where I would land in the future. I closed my eyes and aimed my index finger at the piece of paper. I opened my eyelids and saw the tip of my finger on a blue background. Well, not bad – I shouted towards the living room – soon I will live in the middle of the ocean.
My husband, a sailor, approached with curiosity and raised my hand, looking at the marked point on the map. With a laugh, he told me that this is not the middle of the ocean, but a tiny island – Madeira. I took the magnifying glass and looked at this tiny dot carefully. I very consciously anchored this moment in my memory: the smell of coffee, the rays of the sun falling on a table with a crochet tablecloth and the texture of the wallpaper surface when I closed the atlas.
Today, after a few years, I sit with my computer in a tunic with a dream catcher. While drinking papaya and orange juice, I look forward to sunrise on the island. It turned out that the ilha dourada where I live is so tiny that it was not marked on the world map in my atlas. It emerges from the Atlantic right next to Madeira.
Mom is no longer between us, but I can still recall in my ears her humming “Va pensiero”. The smell of brewed coffee spilled around the room. The windows of our house face south. Behind the mosquito nets you can hear the melodies of birds. It’s a start of a new day.
I’m careful what I’m asking for…
* Ilha Dourada – golden island