“Paradise”, Angelo’s private island is a rocky island with some blooming trees. From the yacht, I can see a modern-designed villa on the top of a craggy hill. As the yacht cannot approach the marina due to the rocks on the bottom of the sea near the island, an inflatable boat transports us there. I wanted to take with me my luggage, but Angelo told me that the personnel of the island would transfer it later from the yacht. So, here I am getting out of the small boat and placing my feet on the minuscule marina of the island.
“Bienvenuti, Signore Angelo, Signora!”, a young typical Italian man joyously welcomes us.
“Buongiorno, Gianni”, Angelo salutes the young man. “Gianni, here is Allyson. She is the guest I have told you about. Allyson, Gianni is my ears and eyes on the island”, Angelo makes the presentations.
“Hello, Signora Allyson! Welcome to Paradise! Whatever you need, please let me know. I am afraid, I am the only person here who speaks English after Signore Angelo”, Gianni cordially says with a strong Italian accent.
“Nice to meet you, Gianni. Thank you”, I politely reply. After the presentations, we walk up the hill to the house.
We arrive in front of a huge swimming pool. Around the pool, there are huge parasols where sunbeds are typically placed under them as well as a big wooden rectangular table with wooden chairs and light blue pillows. The elegant villa is just behind. It consists of two levels. On the second level, there is a huge balcony overlooking the hill with a balustrade made from glass. An old lady comes in our direction, almost running. “Angelo! Bambino mio!”, she exclaims joyfully and hugs Angelo while saying something to him. Apparently, she is very happy to see him. He hugs her too. They speak in Italian while Gianni tells me with a low voice “She is Maria. She is working for di Ambrosio family since she was fourteen. She has known Angelo since his birth”. I now understand the evident affection they have for each other. It is weird to see him like that. I have to admit that right now the distinct image of a ruthless Mafioso has been collapsed!
Angelo says something to Maria and shows in my direction. She is smiling at me and says something to me, but I cannot understand. Angelo promptly explains to her I am not speaking Italian and then he explains “Maria will show you your room. For your information, the rooms are on the ground floor. On the top floor there is the living-dining area, the library and the kitchen”.
I grimly thank him and turn to Maria smiling at her. She is also smiling at me and I follow her inside. She opens a door and lets me enter. Then, she closes the door leaving me alone in the room.
It is a big room with a modern design. The king-size bed is placed near the huge windows, which open and you can access the swimming pool. Opposite the bed, there is a pink marbled bathtub inside the floor. From there you also have a view of the pool. Next to the entry of the room, there is a door leading to a shower room with a toilet and a double sink. The walls and floor are pinkly marbled. Right then, I hear a knock on my door. “Prego”, I answer in Italian. The door opens, and a young boy arrives with my luggage and handbag in his hands. He leaves them near the cupboard and leaves the room closing the door behind him.
I sit on the bed and look at the pool. This is my golden prison, I am thinking. For how long I will stay here? What if he keeps me here forever? I don’t believe he will kill me. If it was his intention, he wouldn’t bring me here. I might never see Tom again. Neither Craig, Janet, nor my friends in New York. Tears form in my eyes and start running down my face. I want to go back to America. I don’t want to stay here, on an isolated island, without knowing anyone, without understanding the language. I cry even more, even louder.
Suddenly I hear a knock on the door. I wipe my tears “Prego”. The door opens. It’s Maria.
“Café? Tè? Torta?” (Coffee? Tea? Cake?) she asks me.
“No, grazie” I politely decline. She comes closer and says something to me staring at me with inquietude. Oh, wonderful! She understood I was crying. I smile at her, but I don’t think I persuade her that everything is fine. She shows me my luggage and says something showing me the cupboard. I nod my head as I haven’t understood what she is saying. Immediately she opens the cupboard and my luggage. She starts arranging my clothes in the cupboard.
Oh, she was telling me to arrange my clothes. “No, Maria. Grazie” I tell her, but she is not listening to me. She continues arranging my clothes inside while is speaking to me in Italian. I don’t understand anything of what she is saying. I am watching her arranging my stuff. She is taking great care of them, placing them carefully on the hangs and the selves. I wish I could understand what she is saying. When she finishes, she places my luggage on the bottom of the cupboard and closes it. She turns to see me with a smile on her face. She was quick. I smile at her too. She comes in front of me and touches my cheek, caressing it and says something that I do not understand. I smile at her again, and she kisses my front before leaving the room.
Such affection I hadn’t had since my mother passed away ten years ago. I was finishing High School when she had a car accident. My father was heartbroken. A few months afterward I had to leave him, to go to University. A year later, I’ve lost him too. Heart failure the doctor had said, but I know it was because his heart was broken for what had happened to my mother. They were so in love with each other! I still remember how they were looking at each other in the eyes. Full of love and admiration! Will I look one day for someone like this? Tom maybe? I don’t know.
I lay on the bed and at that moment I hear a knock on the door. Oh, who is now? I don’t want to see anyone. So, I do not reply. They knock again, and I hear Angelo’s voice calling my name. I don’t reply and close my eyes, pretending to sleep. I hear the door opening and then closing. I stay with closed eyes, listening carefully to hear if he is in the room or not. Apparently, he is not. I open my eyes and look around. I am alone. Good! I stay laying on the bed, thinking how I could escape from this island. I should carefully study the possibilities I have. Swim? Bah! As far as I saw, the island is far away from land or any other island. Boat? The small one? Maybe. So, I start planning in my mind my escape plan.