By: The Queen Father
We all have childhood memories of summertime… Mine are of the Mediterranean variety.
I was born and raised in the Roman countryside, among luscious vegetation and old noble palaces. So it’s no surprise why I always look back with melancholy at those care-free times.
Funny thing childhood…
You live through it wishing to get older and to grow up and do stuff, only to end up
spending the rest of your adult life secretly wishing you could go back, even if only for one day.
The summer that I remember has all the tones of amber. The colours of land parched by the sun, harvested wheat that unfolds as far as the eye can see, under a perfect turquoise sky. The summer that I remember was made of towels folded under my butt, as not to ruin the car seats with my wet swimsuit during the trip back home from the beach. It was all about that last swim in the sea that began at 16.00 h and ended when Mom and Dad had already packed everything and were ready to go home. It was never enough and I never had enough time to dry.
The summer that I remember is the song of cicadas at noon, deafening, while trying to find some cool under the pine trees. It’s the long way from home to the seaside, winding through the Etruscan countryside. It’s the Roman aqueduct that emerged from the fields of watermelons like the bleached bones of a giant dinosaur.
The summer that I remember is a strawberry-flavoured ice-lolly that trickled on my t-shirt and dripped to the ground. It’s an old deck of playing cards on the cool tiled floor in the living room, while Dad sleeps on the couch in the afternoon with the blinds down to keep the heat outside…
The summer I remember, it’s endless golden afternoons, where the imagination had no limits and our games stretched every day further, just like the path of our bicycles. It’s the white dust of country roads in the scorching stillness of the early afternoon.
The summer that I remember, it’s volleyball games in the street and hopscotch, and hide ’n seek and then having to go home for a snack and come back out shortly afterwards with fruit juice in hand, the hair nicely combed and the face clean again. And then came the teens, the motorcycles, the rebellion, the long hair kept in a ponytail under the crash-helmet.
Clandestine cigarettes smoked in the fields with my best friend and the tapes we used to play. The summer that I remember is one night in July, when the chatter of televisions and crockery on the tables is mixed with the singing of crickets. It’s a thousand windows opening on to the evening air, gasping for some fresh air, and tinted by the blue TV-screen light.
The fat man with a fan, the vendor of watermelons in the street, sleeping in the hot midday sun, the smell of dry grass and salt. The summer that I remember was made of rubber armrests and folding chairs, towels and colorful dishes of cold noodles with tuna. It’s a handful of small change and all that allowed me to buy at the bar of the petrol station, in the hot, deserted road, while Daddy was refueling the car.
The summer I remember, it’s the sand that I still find at the bottom of that old bag, in the middle of winter, that makes me smile as only melancholy can.
The Queen Father’s real name is Marco Platti. He is a 36-year-old Italian guy with a fashion background. He married his partner of 11 years, Steven, in 2004. Since becoming a dad in 2009, he ditched his Gucci suit in favour of a spew-covered tracksuit. He is now a writer, blogger, and a stay-at-home parent. Find his award-winning blog on www.thequeenfather.com