EVERY evening Jimmy and I used to go down to the harbour to read the list posted up on the gates outside the harbour-master’s office, giving the order of embarkation of the American units and the date of departure of the ships which sailed from Naples carrying the troops of the Fifth Army back to America.
"It isn’t my turn yet," Jimmy would say, spitting on the ground. And we would go and sit on a small bench beneath the trees of the vast square situated in front of the harbour, and overlooked by the towering mass of the Maschio Angioino.
I had been eager to accompany Jimmy to Naples so that I might remain with him until the last moment and bid him farewell on the gangway of the ship that would take him back to America. Of all those American friends of mine with whom I had for two years shared the dangers of war and the melancholy joy of liberation only Jimmy was now left to me—Jimmy Wren, of Cleveland, Ohio, an officer in the Signal Corps. All the others were scattered about Europe—in Germany, France and Austria—or had gone back home to America, or had died for me, for us, for my country, like Jack and Campbell. For me, the day on which I said goodbye to him for ever on the ship’s gangway would be like those other days on which I had said goodbye for ever to poor Jack and poor Campbell. I should be left alone, among my own people, in my own country. For the first time in my life I should be left alone, truly alone.Curzio Malaparte
TO STAND, in the shadow
of the stigma in the air.
With all that has room in it,