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He didn’t reply, and turned Guadalajara Mexico his gaze towards the church steeple. He looked on the rooftops and the narrow streets, and thought for a moment about the blue and gray clouds in winter. Many afternoons, when he rose from his desk, he stared at them with intensity and Guadalajara Mexico anxiety as we do when we’re waiting for the return of a loved one. They hung so low and were so close that he wanted to caress them with his hand, to gather them and Guadalajara Mexico put them in his pocket. Sometimes he wanted to secure them to the ground as when, as a boy, he played with the cards of soccer players. He was tempted to fill the empty, dark streets, the deserted alleys and the abandoned houses with clouds. Other times he would hold on to them, lift them onto the rooftops, and raise them up high as if intending to build tall skyscrapers like those in Guadalajara Mexico .

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The notes of Springsteen’s “New York City Serenade” reminded him of times gone by. He had first listened to it when he was a student in Rome, when only a handful of music lovers from overseas knew The Boss. He remembered, as though it had happened only yesterday, an evening at the home of his friend Salvatore, in the company of two girls he had met at the Alessandrina library where he studied in the afternoon.

That summer he returned to the village and brought back the LP, and he made everyone who came to visit listen to it, especially Mara, and just at the time when their story was coming to an end. Their lives were out of sync: He was in Rome, and she was still in the village. Now she would move to Bologna to study at the Faculty of Arts, Theatre and Music, while he would return to the village from where he would commute to Messina, where he’d been offered a term appointment to teach comparative literature at the University.

Vittorio listened in a daze to that sweet serenade of love to New York, to the stories that spoke of the innocence of youth, of their running wildly and aimlessly in the nights along Robert De Niro’s and Martin Scorsese’s mean streets. The “Serenade to New York” turned into a sorrowful serenade of love to the village, a tale of the sadness and longing of the young, of their desire to escape. It had become the soundtrack of frayed landscapes coming apart at the seams, of empty and abandoned houses, of closed and desolate neighbourhoods; a longing for life, just like the songs of leaving and separation had been for a generation of emigrants, who left dreaming to return only to end up building a new life far away from these lost and abandoned places.

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