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One day he stopped in front of a house Croatia that he had seen always shut. Most likely, the people who had lived in it had left before his birth or before he had begun to roam around Croatia the side streets. He was struck by the pinkish colour of the front of the house, Croatia by the balcony, which was on the first floor, and by the stone portal. It wasn’t a house of rich people, but it resembled the ones of the better-off, leisured people Croatia that had moved to the seacoast.

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He returned home to his mother and asked: “Who lived in the house right in front of the one in which Ciccillo used to be?” His mother was a bit surprised by the question. She knitted her eyebrows as if to remember, opened her mouth as if to say: “What strange things come in your mind”— and then answered: “That house is the house of Vittorio, an americano who came back when he was on with his years. His wife no longer recognized him because while waiting for him she lost her mind and his son, who had become a lawyer with the money the father had sent, didn’t want to have anything to do with him, didn’t even want to enter his house. Like his wife, the americano also went mad. One morning he started shouting, to curse America, the mountain, the villages on the coast, as well as the more ancient villages, and then disappeared. The house was closed by the authorities and now appears to be the son’s property.”

Angelino listened intently, looking toward the sea, trying to imagine that place called America. In his mind would crop up the stories told by the adults, stories about gigantic fruit, dishes full of macaroni, and meat that would drop down from the trees, but also those other terrible stories about people who died on the ship and were thrown in the water. Then he said to his mother: “When we will have gone away, what will happen to these stories? Who will remember the people who lived in those houses?” Teresa embraced her son and said: “People have their history even if no-one remembers it, and all stories end even if there is someone to remember them.” She spoke as one adult spoke to other adults. And she thought that Angelino had grown up too quickly and had already become a man, what with all the stories he had heard and the stories his father had read him at night time.

Then came the evening before their departure. Angelino made the last round of the streets. He entered the church and looked at the statue of Saint John, as if to say to him: “Not even you were able to protect the village.” Then he returned home, where the preparations were feverishly under way. His mother, his father, his brother were all taking steps to keep something aside. There was the busy to and fro of feast days in that home, although the atmosphere was that of the days of mourning.

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