Fragile Tune

The world was in war. But he was young and he fell madly in love. His heart was full of sweetness. She was good, smart and beautiful. His first and only love. They knew that life during a war was uncertain. They knew about death, suffering, and destruction. He had been taken prisoner and almost killed recently. So they decided to get married as soon as possible and live together the precious moments they could share. They didn’t want to lose a moment no matter the difficulties. They were extremely poor and they had to endure together cold and hunger. But they were happy just to have each other.

He had a nice tenor voice and used to sing to her beautiful melodies; ancient love songs he had learnt from his father.

But their time together ended soon.

The war was stronger than them. At one point, they found themselves in opposite sides of a closed border. He couldn’t come back to his country, and she couldn’t go out with their small daughter. The war ended, the border got sealed and all hopes of a fast solution to their case vanished. He began a life in exile and tried with all his means to bring her out without success.

Everywhere he went he learned new love songs thinking on his forbidden and beloved wife. And he sang them when he was alone.

Twelve years passed till they finally got a permit for her to travel out of the country. He had left his daughter as a four months baby, and he met her as a thirteen years old girl in the family reunion in the Munich train station.

Now that they were together again, he could sing aloud to his only love the songs he had learned during all those years. She smiled. She always smiled.

Years passed and they grew old together. When his battered body couldn’t bear up any more, he had to go to the hospital, almost unable to move and talk, and never came back.


It was a gorgeous day. Warm and sunny. Sunday morning. I was with him at his bedside. He had his eyes closed. The TV monitor was on, and they were broadcasting a concert by the three tenors (Pavarotti, Domingo and Carreras). Luciano Pavarotti began to sing a Neapolitan song. “Non ti scordar di me” (Don’t forget about me). My dad said from his bed: “I know this song”.
He began to sing in Italian with his frail voice to me:

Don’t forget about me.
My life is tied to you
I love you more and more
In my dream you stay

Don’t forget about me
My life is tied to you
There’s always a nest
In my heart for you

Don’t forget about me

Don’t forget about me

It was one of the songs he learned in Italy for my mom fifty years ago when they didn’t know if they were going to get reunited again. But this time he was singing to me.

Don’t forget about me. Don’t worry, Dad. I’ll never forget about you. My life is tied to you.

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3 thoughts on “Fragile Tune

  1. angloswiss says:

    Just wonderful – I thought it was based on a life’s experience when I began reading it Very touching.


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