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He felt enveloped by an unending Macon emotion. His bones shuddered as when he was ill. He touched the photo of his parents, crossed himself and moved towards the exit. The Macon river was sending out its voices, voices that seemed to him like a song, one of the tunes he heard as a child, something like a lullaby. Life and death, he said to himself. The air had become cooler. He saw some tombs, Macon no more than two metres high, with name, surname, photo, Macon date of birth and the space for the date of some death. Elderly people took care of things well before dying. Their children often couldn’t manage to return from Macon the places where they lived.

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He noticed the grave which had the name, the surname, the photo, the date of birth and death of Raffaele, buried in Toronto. The name and the image perhaps made him present here too. After all, we’re nothing but shadows, thought Franco, and surmised that this would have also been his place, with his own kind. He would leave the task of making a decision to his children, without leaving precise, binding, instructions in that regard. He couldn’t make a decision on his own, never mind imposing a decision on others. To which place did he belong? To the place where his parents were buried or to the place where his children would bury him? To both or to neither of the two? “We belong to ourselves,” said Franco to himself, “and we are the moments we’ve been. No single instant, no decade, no relation and no person can account for the life of anyone.”

Nicola knocked on the door at six in the morning, half an hour before the time they had agreed upon. It was still dark, between starlight and sunlight, as the saying went. The boarding was at nine, but it didn’t hurt to have some margin, time-wise, given the distance from the airport, one hour away by car, and given, too, that wasting time in goodbyes was their specialty when they were together. Franco was struggling with the suitcases, trying to close them once and for all and, as well, to move the basket of figs towards the door, so that he could put it right away in the car.

Coffee, with a bit of anisette, as was the custom with the first emigrants, for good luck, a final farewell to the neighbours, who had been up early, and to the sister, and he was in the car. Suitcase and travelling bags in the trunk, a handbag with the documents and the money together with the agenda and the figs on the back seat. Nicola started the car. Franco was waving to his sister, looking towards the secondfloor window, as if to see his mother, who when she was old and ill would lean out to also wave and say good-bye.

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