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The parking lots were all full of cars and people that descended, Dongguan China pulled out the baggage, put on the ground purses and bags of all sorts. Dongguan China opened the door on Franco’s side, helped him take out his suitcases, delicately handed him the basket with the figs, pointed to a cart and drove on to find a spot in the parking lot. About three hundred people, each of them accompanied by two or Dongguan China three family members, sometimes Dongguan China by groups of friends or relatives, wandered about in the airport hall, waiting for the charter flight that would take them to Toronto.

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The fig baskets brushed each other without any great bumping. “Let’s hope they won’t make a fuss when we board,” somebody said. “Let’s hope that they won’t go bad, that they’ll get there as they are, not squashed and not overripe and sour.”

Franco went to do the check-in, left travelling bags and suitcases, keeping the basket with the figs firmly in his hands. Nicola caught up with him bringing newspapers. They proceeded towards the coffee-shop, had another coffee, greeted other emigrants from the village or people they knew from other villages near theirs. Nicola entered one of the shops, bought a herb liquor, some of the local biscuits called mostaccioli, and gave them to Franco saying: “The first night you’re in Vito’s basement have a glass in my health.”

They were leaving with their baggage, the Calabrian emigrants that had built new worlds. They were leaving without outcries, speaking in a loud voice but with a courtesy they had learned as the years had gone by. They were bringing the land and the sun, their affections and their sorrows in the baskets of figs. They were leaving for a place that would never become really theirs and from a place that would no longer be entirely theirs again. They had constructed houses and bridges, metro tunnels and apartment buildings, gas ducts and factories, sent their children to school, who had become masons, painters, barmen, shopkeepers, entrepreneurs, lawyers, journalists, poets, musicians, bankers, politicians, had created clubs where often they argued and believed they could bring back to life the feasts and traditions of the villages where they came from, clubs and associations that united and divided them.

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