User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active

17th of March.

‘Fratelli d'Italia

 L'Italia s'è desta’

Everyone in the streets is singing and dancing, proudly wearing the three coloured flag. I enjoy the company of my friends under the sun, as we sip wine and love the chances life has gives us.

 ‘Silly girl, always using the imagination to escape the reality’ a sudden voice, forces me to look in the mirror. I am in my bedroom, tired from another 14 hours of sleep, in the same pyjamas I am wearing already for 3 weeks, and the only sound coming from the empty Parma streets are the ambulance sirens. The flag on top of the Regio theatre seems oddly out of colours, almost white, probably trying to escape and become a mask desperately helping one more sick patient.

 It is funny how many things we take for granted, just because we never knew what it was like not to have them. I never fully appreciated the little chance I had to walk around the tiny city streets, wander through the coloured houses, the smell coming from the shops, these friendly people always ready to greet you with a heart-warming smile. I was busy running, planning, saving for all the plans that were put in hold.

 Now I wish I would have slowed down a little, stopped in front of that favourite gelato shop more times, taken some more coffees with my roommate, drank some more wine with my friends. Now I wish I could feel the wind coming from the river, filled now only with the tears they cannot shred in funerals. I wish I could feel the smell of flowers, feed the little birds by the lake at Parco Ducale, or just smell the fresh coffee in my room from the bar downstairs which until a month ago I only complained about.

More than anything, I want to hear again people’s loud voices, laughing and calling each other in distance, because is there really Italy without all that?

 I leave my bed, in another desperate attempt to hush all the voices in the back of my head telling me how things could go wrong in a million of ways, and I stare out the window. An old lady, dressed in her best Sunday clothes on a Tuesday, waters her plants, she than speaks on the phone, probably assuring her daughter for the millionth time she is okay, and then sits close to her husband, resting her head on his shoulder. Their eyes meet mine, and they both smile and wave.

In a very simple gesture, they give me all the strength no well-being course and internet imposed social gatherings could. I smile back, and that night I have the best sleep in a while.

18th of March

 I wake up energised, I too wear my favourite dress, and start making lists of all the things I wished I did but never found the time. Writing this, learning a language, watching that movie I postponed so many times, or just breath, because this will too go away. I call my loved ones, to talk about the sky, poetry and the future until I rest my head in their shoulder as well, while another plane takes off freely.

At 5pm, I open my window, take a coffee and wait. The old lady sits on the other side of her balcony, as she tells me how her daughter is a medic, and she is calling her every day to make sure she is safe after another 14hr shift.

 ‘You know my advice to her?’ she asks

‘Still put on a lipstick every morning, do a small prayer, smile to that person giving up on his last breath and be Italian’ And without really waiting for an answer from me, she continues ‘Look at the flag, I always liked it on that theatre. It is where my husband took me for our first date.’

 Maybe it’s the tears I have in my eyes, or maybe another trick from my brain, but it is shining at full strength, and in the mix of its bright colours, you can see the cheering songs of Napoli, the claps supporting those in need, and the faces of the real heroes not giving up on Italy. And a part of my fear is lifted, and hope takes its place, as I whisper a promise to myself, to cherish everything, because life gave me a lot indeed.

 And my soul is not inside the room anymore, it is also at full bright, all the colours of the city flashing in front of me.


I walk out of the building and I hear a familiar laugh, I run freely toward the old lady, and hug her. Because for the first time, in a country picking up the shattered pieces, a hug meant more than any word.



My name is Andia Fule and although a lawyer by profession, often the only way to express myself is through written words. 

This year, I moved to Italy to work for an European Union agency and I arrived here at the beginning of February, the situation caused by COVID-19 started at the end of it and the lock down came few days after. I live in Parma, which unfortunately is in one of the worst impacted regions. 

Furthermore, I spent two weeks sick, and even if I did not get the chance to be tested so far, it was a pretty hard situation. 

It is my first time writing a part in English, as generally I use my own language, but it came from the heart as it is very personal, and I believe it represents what Italy (as well as most of the world)  is going through right now. Also, a look of the country through the eyes of someone foreign who happened to be here, beyond all conclusion and judgments made. To clarify, it starts exactly on the 17th of March as it is Italy's unification day. 




Donate a little?

Use PayPal to support our efforts:


Genre Poll

Your Favorite Genre?

Sign Up for info from Short-Story.Me!

Stories Tips And Advice