My cousin came to visit me a couple weeks ago. It was a fun time. I hadn't seen him in ages.
While he was here he told me a story that was intriguing to me. It was a story of a family member, a great uncle I think, who served during the 1st world war and was caught in Italy. He was sent to Sicily to work on farms as a prisoner of war. There, he fell in love with a Sicilian woman and she got pregnant. The prisoners of war were then sent on to a true prison camp in another country where they were eventually freed and sent home.
This man who was originally from Germany or Poland, (can't remember) was then married. It was an arranged marriage. He had various children with his wife yet he secretly kept in touch with the Sicilian lady and their son over the years. They sent letters back and forth. Later in life this man went on a trip with another man in the family (I believe my cousin's grandfather or great grandfather), they went to Sicily to meet the woman and their boy. Years later he died. His travel companion died shortly after but not before he got the chance to tell his grandchildren the story. The younger generations of the family are fascinated with the story, knowing that they have cousins in Italy somewhere. So they are researching it to see if they can find out where these people are.
The story fascinated me because it's, well, somewhat familiar. Obviously it has no similarities to my own story with the exception of distance and a love affair but I found it wonderfully romantic and tragic, or was it? There's something triumphant about it too. Maybe it's the fact that he manages to go back to see her or the fact that the story lives on in the family. It could be a book, though I'm sure there are many of it's kind out there.
It's one of those things that as a woman especially, watching, reading or hearing about these stories seems so romantic you almost wish you had one of your own. When you do, when you are in the middle of something like that there are definite surreal moments where things dawn on you and you think "I'm fucking lucky to be living this". Most of the time things just happen, life goes on, but there are times when I want to write it into a book, make it last forever pass it down to future generations.
And then I think: "What future generations?", I haven't got kids to pass this on to.