After an overnight flight, “Angelo, thanks for meeting me. It’s good to be here and best of all on vacation.”
“We’ll drive down to the coast. My apartment is small, but I think you’ll be comfortable.”
The drive was comfortable, but if you’ve ever driven in Italy, they all think they are NASCAR drivers. I decided I’d enjoy the views and not try to distract Angelo from his driving. There were a few times y when I held my breath.
Angelo was correct; the view as we approached Positano was breathtaking. The sea was unbelievably blue. I couldn’t wait to sunbathe on the shore. “The roads are very steep, but most of the people walk. Everything is uphill, so your legs will get a good working out.”
He was right; even though he parked on the street, we walked up several flights of stairs before we came to a two-story building that overlooked the sea. “The second floor is where my apartment is located. Let’s drop your luggage off and then we can go and get something to eat. Your treat”
Walking into his apartment, I was surprised at how big it was and how high the ceilings were. The best part was the balcony from the bedroom. I walked out on the balcony; I could sleep out here. The breeze and sights were fantastic.
After dropping off my luggage, Angelo gave me the keys. “There’s a bistro by the beach; let’s have lunch there.”
For me, this was breakfast, but I wasn’t going to argue. The walk to the beach was more of going down one staircase after another. We could’ve walked the roadway, but that would be a circular way to get to the beach, whereas the steps were more direct.
“Let’s eat here. You can watch the people on the plaza.”
A waiter came out, and we ordered an antipasto and coffee. While we waited for our antipasto, I looked around the plaza. Like most Italian plaza’s, they are centered around a church. I watched as a young boy approached the church, knocked on the door, a priest came to the door and spoke to the boy. He then slammed the door closed, leaving the boy standing there.
“Angelo, what just happened?”
“The boy is probably hungry and approached the church for food. There’s a church at the end of the street that gives the boys some cheese, bread, and a carton of milk once a day. The boy probably mixed up the churches.”
“I don’t understand how a church can turn a child away. Can you go and bring him here? I’ll pay for his food.”
“Are you sure you may never get rid of him?”
“Yes, I’m sure. He’s too young to be begging on the streets. I want to know more about him.” I watched Angelo go to the boy and talk to him. Angelo pointed to me and talked some more with the boy. Then I saw them heading my way.
The boy acted afraid like he wasn’t sure about what was going to happen. Angelo introduced the boy to me, his name was Geno, and he was ten years old. Looking at the boy, there were tears in his eyes. He was afraid but also hungry.
“Angelo, could you take him to wash his hands and face? I’ll place an order with the waiter for more food and milk for him.”
The waiter stopped Angelo when he entered the cafe, a few words were spoken, and the waiter came out to my table. “Signore, the man said you’d pay for the boy’s food.”
“Yes, and will you bring more coffee, please.”
Angelo returned with the boy. He was smiling. I was sure Angelo said something to him to allay any fears he may have had. The waiter brought out the antipasto, with three plates, a glass of milk, and a small coffee pot. Angelo added some food to one plate and handed it to the boy. “Angelo, tell him to eat slowly, or the food may come up.”
I took his glass of milk and added a little coffee to it, enough to turn the white a slight tinge of brown. I watched as he took a piece of his antipasto and enjoyed the taste. He smiled, and I think that was the moment I decided this young boy would need my help. We ate the antipasto. Then I order soup for myself and the boy. I watched as the boy would look at me, I’d smile back, and soon he was smiling as well. A little pasta followed the soup, and I was full.
“Angelo, where does he stay?”
Angelo spoke to the boy, “He said he stays where he can find a safe spot. Sometimes he sneaks on board one of the boats and sleeps there.”
“Angelo, I want the boy to stay with me. He needs new clothes and a haircut. Can you ask him if he’d like to stay with me?”
“Thomas, the boy is afraid you’ll do something to him if he stays with you. He has heard other boys who told them what they had to do. He doesn’t want to do that.”
“Angelo, I’d never do anything like that with him. He needs someone, he’s too young to be on the street, and I’m afraid he’ll eventually get hurt. Tell him that.”
Over the rest of our lunch, they had a long talk. Every once in awhile, the boy would look at me. I smiled and nodded my head, yes. I wasn’t sure what they were saying, but I trusted Angelo.
“He said he’d stay with you one night, but if you try anything, he’ll run away.”
“That’s okay. I guess it’s hard to trust a stranger who doesn’t speak his language. I want to get him some clean clothes, maybe a haircut and a bath. Can you help me with that?”
Angelo repeated what I said to the boy. “He said okay, but still only one night.”
I agreed; I knew one night would stretch into more nights. I paid for our lunch. Then we headed to some of the shops. Angelo took the boy and bought him some clothes with my money, and then we headed to the apartment.
Angelo was a great help. I filled the tub and added some bath salts; Angelo helped the boy get clean, including his hair. When Geno was clean enough, Angelo gave him the new clothes to wear. I took my scissors and trimmed his hair but left it long enough to pull into a Gypsy tail, that’s a ponytail that only falls to his shoulders and doesn’t stick out like what a girl would wear. We watched him look into the mirror and smiled.
I convinced Angelo to stay for an early dinner. We sat on the balcony. I listened as Angelo and Geno talked. Every once in awhile, Angelo would catch me up on the conversation.
According to Geno, his father was a fisherman, and one day he left and never came home. After four weeks, his dad’s brother moved in and told him the house was his now, and he needed to go. “Can his brother do that?”
“Well it depends if his father had a will or not. If Geno can prove he’s his legitimate son, he could file a claim and get control of the house. You’ll need a lawyer for that.”
“Let me ask Giulio; he’s our company lawyer. Maybe he can help.”
“That’s a good idea, let’s get him on the phone.”
We walked to our outdoor cafe, ordered coffee and milk for Geno. “Giulio, this is Angelo here with Thomas. We have a question and a favor to ask. We are down in Positano and met a young boy tossed out of his home when his father never came home from a fishing trip. What do the laws say about him reclaiming his home?”
“He wants to know if he knows if his dad had a will.” Angelo said something to the boy, “He doesn’t know.”
“Giulio said he would suggest you hire a lawyer in the town where the boy lived and utilize him to resolve the issue. He said he couldn’t take time off, so he can’t come down here. But once you find a lawyer, let him know, and he’ll follow up for you.”
“Thanks, Giulio. I’ll see you in a couple of days.”
“Okay, we have to go to his village, which is not far from here. There’s a small hotel where we can stay while we sort this out.”