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Wednesday 16 November

And indeed, there was no insomnia. I woke up the first time to remember a dream, then the second time at 8:35 or so.

Dream: I was in a windowless stone tower, being held in there with other prisoners. I tried to get out by subterfuge (claiming there was some kind of emergency that threatened everyone, even the keepers) — This didn't work — I finally got out by burrowing my way down thru a sort of garbage dump or gravel pit or quicksand. On the outside, my companion and I went to see the body of his mother whom the Germans had killed — Two women's bodies sort of standing against a wall — the one on our left his mother [a plumpish dark-haired woman of about 30 in blue work clothes] — wounds and appeared quite dead — but started to show signs of life — woke up.

So now I've had my breakfast at the Valle: the usual assortment of English-speaking couples. . . plus a couple of Italian businessmen —

All I have to do today is get my dance tops and do my lesson with Giampiero; skate the 9‑10:30 P.M. session if I feel like it and there are trains back; go to the Sistine Chapel, also if I feel like it; and do a slight repack to my skates in my big suitcase and all my photos and irreplaceables actually with me in my carryon.


And I forgot in that list Eleanor's gift; but I didn't forget to get it. The dance tops were in, they fit, they look good on me. The book was easy to mail back to Mr. [. . .] in Nîmes and I even looked thru it — I then took the subway from Termini to Spagna at 11:45 and found my oreficeria; bought a sterling bird and a sterling cat — [. . .]

I got back to my hotel at 3:49 but chose to brush my teeth after my 2 vantagli [. . .] and find the name of the restaurant 1 km. from the rink and call them to see if they were open so I could have dinner between the end of the 5 P.M. session and the beginning of the 9 P.M. session; I then partly ran, not much, but enough so that the cramp in my left calf suddenly declared itself with a vengeance, in Termini 100 m from my train, and I was instantly reduced to a painfully limping wreck, and I saw my train leave from 30 m away —

I limped back to the front of the station and took a cab, massaging my leg in the cab; and wondering if I'd be able to have a useful lesson. In part thanks to Paola, I was: she told me to rub hard and induce heat; there was some improvement, enough to skate on after a longish warmup.

The last lesson with Giampiero was good. The forward crossovers were good, the back were acceptable. Edge rolls were not doable on one leg, so we did 'em on the other, and 3‑turns — well, possibly some improvement. My spiral, he was surprised — so was I, he had me do a RF, he said it was very good and it was the harder one — slight correction to up foot position —

I gave Giampiero 15 ML additional so he could get a small bouquet for Irene, the woman who takes care of the skates and lockers — I can't do it myself since she's on vacation until tomorrow; and said gbye to Giampiero — will of course send him the picture of him I took, which is excellent, and something else — he's a good teacher —

Goodbye also to Paola — Then I settled down to watching the "preagonismo" — and ate two ham-and‑cheese sammiches, that was dinner; watched in particular a little girl of 9½ Silvia since I was sitting with her mother; Silvia in fact was one of the three or four best skaters on the ice, had a nice axel —

At 9, grand luxury, I was back on the ice; my farewell to the rink was grand fun, fairly good skating, and exhausting; also several people came to me — I'm very visible — for my famous mini-lessons; feel like Lucia teaching yoga after the Guru left. . . . Giampiero's alternate crossovers, dogbones, T‑stops, spirals F and B on my right leg but one or two on my left, back crossovers, jumping off the ice both feet — just bang, but for confidence — deep edges of various kinds, etc.

At 10:25 suddenly my cramp reappeared out of nowhere, don't remember any specific trigger; left the ice (session ended at 10:30 anyway). Dressed, held court a bit, swilled down 2 gatorades, limped very painfully and slowly to my train; from Termini even slower and more painfully to the hotel; I exited by the side (Laziale) exit, the via Giolitti is mostly garbage cans at this hour of night — Poor man sleeping on the sidewalk (under a good blanket at least): although I'm ashamed to record that I walked past him and debated with myself, I then walked back and gave him a 50 ML bill — he awoke as I approached, wanted to know why I was giving it to him, told him "Because you need it" and that seemed to satisfy him — Down a side street to S. Maria Maggiore: 4 Algerian men coming out of a cheap hotel; a woman of ample charms if that's what those amplitudes were, dressed from neck to foot in a very open bright red mesh bodysuit, leaning into a car.

Paid my bill here downstairs, repacked my suitcases and the briefcase I bought today, and will now go to sleep — cramp doesn't exist as long as I don't walk on it — Hope I find another pen so I can scribble away on the plane.

I stopped writing, thinking I'd done for the day; and said my bedtime prayers [. . .]; after I was thru, I added a P.S. "oh, and help me find a pen" — meaning I know I just packed one (the one I don't like, that writes thin and spidery) and I'd already looked twice unsuccessfully to find it.

I looked immediately again — and in an unexpected place, found not one pen that I don't like, but two that I do — that I'd totally forgotten about. . . The good Lord can be a sweetheart when he wants to — How can one resist this?


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Page updated: 18 Apr 98