Ondine is a girl from the lake

“Ondine is a girl from the ocean…” a Jimmy Buffet look-alike sang, clinging to a stool too high for him.  A guitar in his lap, a baseball cap, a loud shirt hiding his big belly and all around him that sickly sweet smell of summer lake, warm prosecco and salame and cheese platters. Laughs, reddened skin and small lamps swinging tiredly in the dense breeze.

Behind his back, the typical but surprising show of an instantaneous sunset behind the mountains took place: pink- orange- purple. Tum. Tum. Tum. Ten minutes at most. And then pitch-black.

The woman, at home they called her Odissea for her tendency of loosing herself behind elusive thoughts, slowly drank her Corona served as they liked it there: lukewarm and with a lemon wedge inside the bottle. She sat at a dodged table and followed the music with her head. She was tan and sharp as one of those trunks pierced on local beaches after a storm.

She had driven all day, flying on that light and dancing silver asphalt ribbon, that connects the villages like pearls of a necklace. Some of them a little more than a pile of small colored buildings, but with names letting one imagine ancient paradises: Mondello, Bellagio, Varenna…

She had chosen an old motorcycle, with vibrations, puffs and roars witnessing a glorious past. With a furious sun on her forehead and the wind punching her hair, she had passed by the luxury resorts, the sailing schools, the shops selling fishing equipments and lastly the piers reaching out in the dark water.

And at last she had arrived. She left the motorbike under a tree with leaves wide and turgid, and following only her instinct, she took first a side street, then a dirt road and lastly she walked towards a silt stripe. Finally she reached the point: a shy gravel beach projecting itself courageously towards the deep waters. It seemed to sink under each of her steps, taking her with it.

She knew, while she was advancing towards the horizon, that within few minutes her path would have been submerged. But she did not seem to worry and kept going self confident as ever, clutching her clothes with one hand and her sandals with the other. She smiled and from time to time she stopped and closed her eyes. She listened to the breathing of the huge blue lung. A breathing that reminded her of her father’s. She felt the water crystallizing on her legs and the small stone fragments sting her feet soles but she kept walking. Forward. Always forward.

And then she realized that the ground had ceased under her feet. She had reached the southernmost extremity. The arrow’s head. She abandoned her bundle, slightly arched her back and rose her arms, as if she aimed to spread her wings. She remained like this, focusing on the area where the lake and the mountains merge, careless to the dazzling light and the sweltering heat. Then she started to move her arms, slowly, not as if she were flying, rather as if she were crossed by waves: as if she were waves herself.

Who was watching her from the beach, had the impression of a shadow materializing on her side. A smaller figure, the one of a girl more or less nine years old who was clumsily mimicking her movements. From time to time she rose her eyes towards the adult looking for approval. But the woman was too taken by her dance to notice the small transparency beside her. Suddenly she stopped, dropped her arms and turned. She picked her clothes, took the hand of the small shadow, told her something and smiling started to walk back towards the far away music: “Ondine is a girl from the lake…”