ON THE ROCKS

Ancient Greek temples dotted the hillside of Agrigento. “Aren’t they magnificent, Camilla?” I tried engaging my wife of seventeen years in conversation.

Camilla always wanted to visit Sicily; now we were finally here but our vacation had been marred by the news of the death of Eunice, her closest friend since college. Actually, Camilla had been depressed ever since Eunice’s cancer was diagnosed two years earlier. She became morbidly preoccupied with illness and death and every little pain sent her running to the doctor. She had become lethargic and morose. The whole situation was tedious; I thought a holiday abroad would lighten both our moods.

I don’t like this place, Nigel” Camilla remarked. “It reeks of death and decay. You can practically see blood stains on the ground.”

Good God, Camilla! Why are you allowing your mind to give in to these macabre thoughts?” I questioned impatiently. “Feel the sun on your face. Look at the glorious Mediterranean surrounding us. Let yourself be transported to another era.”

I’ve got a ghastly headache, Nigel. Take me back to the hotel!” Camilla demanded.

But we just got here! Look at these fabulous gnarled olive trees. Why, they must be as old as the ruins themselves. Impressive, aren’t they? Let’s sit and enjoy the view. You’ve always dreamed of coming here, Camilla. Enjoy it!

How can I enjoy myself knowing Eunice is gone? How can I enjoy anything ever again? She was my dearest friend.” Camilla buried her head in her hands, sobbing.

I know it’s difficult, my dear, but try not to dwell on it. Here, listen to this.” Retrieving a brochure from my pocket, I began to read. “‘In mythology, Agrigento was founded by Daedalus and Icarus.’ Just think of it – these temples have been here since the 5th Century B.C.! The contemporary glass and steel buildings back home can’t compare to these majestic structures!”

Nigel, please! You think I give a damn about any of this? It’s meaningless without Eunice. Meaningless, I tell you! She was the light of my life.”

Camilla stared at me with frenetic eyes. I was beginning to believe she was losing her mind.

Your life is meaningless? What about me, Camilla? I’m your husband, for crying out loud! We’ve been together for seventeen years. Does that count for nothing?”

Oh, come on, Nigel! Isn’t it about time we admitted the truth. Our marriage is a sham! And now Eunice is gone! There’s nothing left for me!” Camilla turned and started walking away.

Eunice! All you ever talk about is your beloved Eunice!” I yelled after her. “You’ve been obsessed with her for years! I always wondered but now I know why you were never interested in sex, laying in our bed with about as much enthusiasm as a cold fish. You and Eunice were lovers, weren’t you?”

“Yes, I loved her and she loved me passionately, deeply. I never loved you, Nigel. Never!” Camilla looked at me with intense loathing and I became enraged, jealous of her dead lover.

“I’m glad Eunice is dead, Camilla. I hope the cancer slowly gnawed away at her and her life was one of incessant pain. Oh, I’m so glad she’s dead and now you’re in agony without her!” I spat out dreadful words of rage.

Camilla picked up a rock and threw at me but it fell short. She started running and I caught up with her, reaching for her arm. She screamed “Don’t touch me, Nigel! Just go away and leave me alone!”

Pulling away, Camilla ran toward the craggy cliffs. In a horrifying instant she was gone, plunging headlong against the rocks, her body shattering like an empty vessel, and disappearing into the sea.

Aghast, I stood staring into the abyss. “Goddamn, you, Camilla!” I shouted. “Goddamn you! Go be with your precious Eunice!”

After a long while alone on the cliffs, I walked back to my rental and drove to the hotel. I saw no reason to rush back home. Perhaps I’d extend my holiday indefinitely, head to the Amalfi Coast. I realized it had been ages since I’d had any time alone. I inhaled the heady fragrance of the plumeria and eucalyptus. I exhaled slowly, relishing the stillness of the night.

A glass or two of limoncello on the rocks would be the perfect way to end the night.

NAR Β© 2023

28 thoughts on “ON THE ROCKS”

    1. Haha!! American accents are difficult so cut yourself some slack. I seem to have a talent for accents but I think I must sound drunk when I suddenly find my Yiddish morphing into Russian! So glad you enjoyed the tale of Nigel and what’s left of Camilla. Thanks for your great comment, they’re truly appreciated! πŸ’•

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  1. I can’t get over the feeling that this is a tragic story with a happy ending. Almost like “now that she’s gone, I can have a good time, drink ouzo and pick up Greek chicks.” I know that sounds awful, but for some reason it sounds good…

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    1. Sounds good to me cos that’s exactly what I intended although I’m not so sure about the “Greek chicks”. Could happen! I guess we can file this under Dramedy; works for me! Thanks for your fun comments, John; they didn’t sound awful to me at all! πŸ˜‚

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  2. What a great story, I am with Ben; the dialogue was excellent. I was starting to get a feel for what was going on, and also it made me understand, in the end, why his wife strayed. He was already excited to plan his evening after seeing his wife laid out on the rocks below. Hum, the thought of that limoncello hitting the rocks! Great story, my friend. Loved it!

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    1. Thanks, dear Joni! This is my Sicilian 2023 version of a Green tragedy with a pitcher of limoncello on the rocks! I had such fun trying to sound like a proper British couple who finally had enough of each other, causing their world to come crashing down – literally. It seems like everyone enjoyed reading my story and for that I’m very grateful! Thanks to you for all your support and wonderful comments. πŸ’«

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    1. Yes, it was pretty dark! I wanted this to sound like a movie scene starring James Mason and Helen Mirren and I tried recording it but every time I got into my British accent, I cracked up, which is pretty much what happened to Camilla on the rocks! Sorry, I couldn’t resist! I’m very glad you liked the dialogue and that it sucked you in. That’s exactly what I wanted to do and I greatly appreciate your comments. πŸ’•

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  3. And the Sicilian Storyteller sets foot at Sicily!

    Nigel, oh Nigel…don’t you know Ευνίκη means good victory?
    Set them free…sang the Englishman in New York .
    I will not be surprised (Nigel will) if upon visiting Taormina there is something or someone waiting for him…

    Bravu, cara mia 🌹

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