I hadn't seen this one coming. Figuring I had only three days to spend in Genoa with one of them devoted to Wash Day, I decided to do some standard, camera hanging around the next, garish green shorts the color grass never was, spindly kegs white as golf tees, on a package tour kind of sightseeing. The Corso Italia, a long promenade along the Mediterranean leading to the beautiful and quaint Boccadasse, described in the brochures as “an old marine’s neighborhoodm” seemed a good fit for me: a lot of walking and little to see but the sea.
Or so I thought. When I reached the Boccadasse, I realized how wrong I was on both counts. With its narrow steep alley streets, sharp corners and pastel-colored buildings all haphazardly stacked and spilling over themselves like an architectural horn of plenty, I realized in an instant how this would have been exactly the kind of sightseeing Carolyn and I would have done together. I couldn't control the sudden wave of emotion that came over me. Fortunately, the rain served as a good mask for the tears that flowed at every turn I took, and every step I climbed.
Carolyn would have been transfixed by the Boccadasse. Every step I took there made me think of stopping, turning around to find Carolyn a few years back, busily photographing a curving alley, a window box of bright flowers or a door. Oh, how she loved photographing doors, the older, more weathered and forlorn the better.
I didn't turn and run; I stayed. I made a whole day of it, partly as a homage to our life together traveling, and partly to finally confront what all my solo traveling seemed to be trying to deny.
No, that's not right. I know my solo travels are not about denial. They're about transforming a new way of travel out of the old, and it is working. So my day alone, along the Corsol Italia became more about seeing if I was ready for this thing called closure. I began composing photos of my own, imagining I had Carolyn's eye. It took a while, but at the end of the day, I did have some imagess I would not have found with only my own eyes at work. There was a sense of passage, of transference from one spirit to another.
Is that what they mean by closure? I'm still not sure what that term means. Moving on? All I do know is that when I returned to my hotel room, I had the strong sense of having spent a full, rich day on the road sightseeing. I'm a little less obstinate now about avoiding doing things the way Carolyn and I would have done them. After all, why deny myself experiencing again some of the fondest memories of standing in the middle of a sidewalk, suddenly alone, and looking back to see Carolyn finish photographing an old beat up door before it fell off its hinges.
I may have just walked through one of those doors myself today.