Searching for somewhere to park, we happened upon a small town in the midst of a festival. At one end of town, a live band played as old folks line-danced and in the busier shopping street, men with guitars and kazoos played boisterous music to a crowd that filled the whole road. We ate pizza in a restaurant opposite and soaked up the atmosphere of Italy.
Then everything went wrong.
Yesterday. We parked by the beach and walked across the dunes. Set our towels down and it was hot. I’m reading The Island Of Doctor Moreau and it was absorbing. At six o’clock, we went back to the van to drive to Pompeii. You know, volcano town.
I saw my Batgirl, the figurehead of our dashboard travels, lying in a puddle of smashed glass. CDs strewn across the dirt road. It didn’t register until we opened the side door. The inside was trashed; the mattress pulled aside, the bed frame wrenched up at an angle. And our stuff, gone.
Cameras, laptops, bikes. Stolen. Anything electrical. The hooks that held our coats and jackets are gone, the walls feel bare. A box with my watch, swiss army knife and gameboy chucked into a rucksack – our rucksack – without even a glance. They took our bag of old clothes. Our dirty fucking laundry. Enjoy my period pants, you fucks.
The window of our driver’s cab was small enough for a child to squeeze through.
It’s been a long day of making a police report and an insurance claim. Our possessions, stuff we’ve earnt or been given with love, are in some grotty home somewhere. Josh has no underwear. I didn’t sleep last night because they stole one of our mattresses. Every time I closed my eyes I could see strangers climbing through the van, touching our possessions and evaluating their worth.
Everything feels dirty.
The worse part of this educational European experience was the people. We were on a road leading to the beach. Countless people would have walked or driven by as this was happening; seen the glass on the floor, the people hauling our stuff out the back doors. And they just kept going.
The people who drove past a girl crying on the side of the road as her boyfriend swept glass from the passenger seat.
Fuck Italy. I’ve changed my mind. I hope you burn. Today we spend our money on replacing the van window, the mattress and the camping stove and I so very sick of it all.