Never judge badly a rage of a very patient heart who had let go many repetitive offenses from insufferable bastards.
~ Angelica Hopes
Bus n. 1 Route: Lugano – Paradiso, Switzerland
You may mistake the mirror of my heart in a tempest to be a folly yet the deep cause of it is a mystery to any ocular cold eyes.
Katerina, popularly known as the Austrian on the first row seat of bus n. 1 and bus n. 2 is a seventy eight year old, formidable, beautiful, admirable Hapsburg aura in the bus 2 of Lugano.
Lara is good on remembering faces, situations and even words said on a particular moment but she has a bit of weakness in forgetting names but Katerina is one particular and impressive old widow. She hops in and out of buses 1 and 2 circulating along Lungo Lago avenue.
The first thing anyone would note on Katerina in the bus is her classic elegance, her firm footing and straight body standing by the bus stop. When she comes in the bus, she angles for the first solo front right seat followed by banter of the driver or other commuters who know her.
Katerina often proudly mentioned that she comes from a beautiful village from the Tyrol region. She often mentioned her younger days in Innsbruck where she met her Swiss Italian husband. Sometimes Katerina expresses how she misses the Tyrol region and some teasing drivers or passengers would say, “What are you doing here in Lugano? Why not go back to your place?” She would say that most of the people and friends she knew have passed way already. It is also a tedious trip for her to travel from Lugano until Lienz. Lienz is just twined near the city of Gorizia in Italy. It is an autonomous region of Friuli, Venezia Giulia, where it is already near the Julian Alps. It was the mention of Friuli that Lara joined in some occasional conversation in the bus with Katerina.
“Mi piace tanto i formaggi da Friuli.” Lara said spontaneously as it was one of the cheese she learned to eat, it was mild and low fat.
“Ah la signorina, una buon gustai!” The little miss has a good taste, Katerina said.
There are funny times that a driver would scold her in a friendly way urging her to find other seats in the bus before she falls down on sudden braking but then Katerina has always the sharp and quick witty answer blocking any further remarks from the bus driver. It was like a daily fencing of words and Katerina would always have the last right word that would make any eavesdropper passenger smile and nod or shook their head.
Katerina takes the bus religiously every day and sits always at the right front seat as if it was only reserved for her. Taking the daily bus along Lungo Lago avenue is her daily oxygen to fill up her sights and senses including the passengers and drivers she talk with as the bus run its usual daily route.
One January morning, Lara was dressed in her classic elegant dark brown lady’s office suit.
“Che bella questa ragazza! É sempre cosí elegante e sorridente.” What a beautiful girl, always elegant and smiling.
“Da dove viene?” Where do you come from?
“Come mai sei finita qua in svizzera?” How did you end up here in Switzerland?
“Ero sposata con un svizzero.” I was once married to a Swiss.
“Ma non è vero, sei come una bambina, anche sposata e adesso divorziata o separata?”
“Oh, no, no. Ho già due figlie di 9 e 10 anni.”
Who would really believe what she says if anyone often judge her petite, innocent looks in which many old people often mistook her for being a teenager or in her twenties and who would believe that she was once married and now this lady is asking her if she was separated or divorced.
“Divorziata con due figlie di 9 e 10 anni.”
Then the lady talked even louder proclaiming: “guarda, guarda, così giovane è già divorziata.”
Lara replied smiling, “è meglio sola che mal accompagnata” Better be alone than with a bad company.
“ah, è anche un saggio.” Ah, she’s even wise. Lara smiled at the old lady’s complement.
The driver butt in: “Katerina, Katerina, è la sua scelta di vivere sola con le sue figlie,”
“Anchio lo farò che vivere insieme con quel malcanzone che ho spossato, le ho servito fino al suo morte però se mi chiede è meglio ancora in Austria.”
“Allora, come mai sei ancora qui a Lugano?”
For many months, years and many occasions, Lara have witnessed this exchange with the driver or some old passengers annoying and teasing Katerina. The funny daily banters were like music to her ears especially when Katerina talks strongly about her views on men of all ages. The driver would shut up and she can silence a younger man who would defend the male species and their role in a chauvinistic world of point of views especially if they were Italians or Swiss-Italians or rather those type of men who think that women are only good for kitchen, babies and a servitù of men.
There was a time Lara was with Athena and Genevieve that evening she had to rush back to Central Park office because of an over time request of her boss prior the acquisition of a new private jet. Her girls came willingly with their art kits and some board games to occupy their time while she has to deal with the financial reports.
Katerina was in the bus and asked them, “Dove andate in quest’ora, dovete già essere a letto a dormire?”
“Going back to the office to do some overtime.”
“You’re bringing the kids with you? Is that allowed?”
“Yes, this is how I have thrived in the last three years, wherever I go, they come too whenever possible and since this job is one of my top life-line, I need to go and my girls understand.”
“Ah, but you don’t have to be enslaved by money.”
“Katerina, it is not being enslaved by money, I have to do more than expected to make end things meet besides money is just a medium in this society, it is not my goal, my main purpose is to live happily with my daughters and part of it is financed by money and to have that, I must work hard without compromising the quality time I need to spend with my daughters.”
“Ah, the wiser one in you often speaks when I talk with you. Very rare in the younger generation.”
“Thank you Katerina, but I think there are many out there, some they just don’t voice out, some just do what is needed to be done. Besides in this part of the world, one can’t just stay in a corner and wait for the government dole outs just like what many do.”
“Oh, I know, they accuse the foreigners and migrants but the locals themselves play around with the generous social welfare of this country. These lazy parasites who are opportunistic on the government help gradually drains out the economy.”
Lara smiled. Who really cares of the lazy parasites of this society? She was married to one in the past and she was just grateful to have gained her freedom.
“Katerina? i soldi sono i padroni dei tanti svizzeri, quello lo vedo bene quando sono appena arrivata qua nel 1995.” Money is the master of the Swiss people, that she had seen since she arrived in this country in 1995. She won’t fell into the same trap and linear point. At thirty six year old, she has been wiser to focus only on her own main goals and motivations in life and what is best for her two girls and all the rest follow. The most irritating part is to live daily the edgy, cutting, judgmental, uncalled curious tongues of many locals and foreigners alike.
♥ ♥ ♥
an excerpt from Landscapes of a Heart, Whispers of a Soul
© 2014 Angelica Hopes All Rights Reserved.
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