Copyright © 2020 Fallow Amber.
All rights reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
"The Blue Grotto!" Mummy squeals to all of us.
"Ooh aah…" We, except the strange kid in our family, all coo, peering incredibly at the Motoscafisti Capri brochure in mummy's hands.
"The 'grotto'? Like a cave or something? Or the Grotto? As in the Grotta Azzurra?" As expected, Georgie asks, staring into space with a smallish grin on her oval shaped face.
We all groan knowingly with mummy smiling at her.
Jessamyn nudges me in the back before whispering a 'tell her' to only my hearing. I nod taking in a deep breath as I move toward Georgie.
"Look here Geo-graphy." I scoff out placing my left hand over her shoulders, while the others including mummy snicker at my statement to Georgie.
Georgie smiles satisfied that we're beginning to call her by her 'silly' nickname.
"Don't do that!" I say, removing my hand almost immediately. She frowns at my gesture. Everyone knows I hate it whenever I do something nice, or something they like, and then they get all happy and squishy at me.
"You see Geo", I shorten her name as everyone stares at her, ready to see the 'sweet, sweet look' she'd have all displayed on her face.
"I hate to say this, but you're sincerely no fun." I drop the bombshell, stepping away from her. Her face starts changing to small frowns hidden behind her fake smile. I shouldn't be scared but she's quite the character that knows just how to throw a fit, even though I'm the oldest child, I am not taking 'any' chances.
"Why, thank you, Lorraine." She says, her lips twitching a little. I scoff at her calling me by my third name. She is the only one that calls me that, except maybe Aunt Suga who's Japanese, because Georgie has a geographical term for everyone and unsurprisingly mine is Lorraine because being the geographic whiz she is, Lorraine is a region in eastern France and coincidentally, I happened to have been born there.
"Okay, okay, boys and girls, enough of all the drama and let's start packing our bags." Mummy butts in, knowing fully well that if care isn't taken, there'd be splashes… splashes of water everywhere, literally. Our own form of fighting is what we call the 'Water Fight or Slide'. The name is still under construction anyways.
I walk out last with Jessamyn, Corbin and Vinay; we're all quadruplets so it's right for us to do all things together.
"I'm Hank Marvin --- hungry!" Exclaims Cheshire, the benjamine --- the baby of the family, in her silky English accent.
"We're almost there, Ches, avoir de la patience --- have patience." I say for the third time to her, only this time in my native language, French.
Mummy and daddy had each of us in different countries and regions so we all have different languages and cultures; except we, the quads but one thing we all still have in unison is being British.
"Okay..." She drops down in defeat before going back to colouring and painting.
The Blue Grotto, according to daddy, is a sea cave on the coast of the Capri, which is in Southern Italy. We had to travel all the way from Hampton Hill, a Greater London suburb where we live, to Italy by plane. We got here yesterday and decided to hit the roads to the Blue Grotto today for our proper vacation on day 2. Mummy and daddy promised to take us to a lot of places for summer holidays. I picked this year's events and activities with a little help from mummy, as always.
I love Italy and seas, mostly because Italy shares borders with France in the north and my best colours are blue, white and red anyways, which blue typically is the colour of any water body. And I know all of this, thanks to Georgie. Which is what explains why we're in Italy.
I glance over to Vinay, who's watching an Indian movie with Corbin. I yawn feeling a little bored.
I can't play with Jessamyn because she's reviewing Misha's poem. Nor can I play with Daphna or Georgie because they're busy learning new moons of planets or whatever they called it.
I sigh staring at the sunny grounds outside the tinted window beside me, suddenly noticing a few buses packed with people riding along with us.
"We are here!" I scream, finally feeling alive.
Everyone in the van starts screaming out except our parents, of course, the little Italian words we knew.
"Finally!" Daphna squeals as we all enter the rowing boat with some other strange people.
"I'm so psyched about this!" Jessamyn says munching on her fettuccine bolognese whilst sipping on her coconut panna cotta that sat comfortably beside her on the wooden bench. She's a chowhound.
"Guys, lower your heads." Georgie gasps aloud to all of us on the rowing boat.
"Why?" Cheshire asks sternly, peering at her face before she continues, "I want the tour guide rowing the boat to tell us why, not you."
"What no!" She exclaims about to start a boring session of geographical nonsense again.
Everyone groans except the strangers before the tour guide saves the day.
"I'm happy you like the Blue Grotto so much so I'd take it from here kiddo." He pats her before starting to explain all the amazing reasons why we need to lower our heads, if we didn't want to have a headache; and the few more guides we'd be needing once we started our trip into the Grotto.
While explaining, I caught a glimpse of Georgie's face; she looked like she was going to explode in rage. I snickered alongside my other quads.
When we started our trip, we got into the cave; blue everywhere. The tour guide, Luca Giovanni, sang all sorts of traditional neapolitan folk songs we've never heard before but Georgie, the geographic brainiac and an Italian and strict Italian film buff like Misha, knew all the songs.
Once at the centre, Georgie starts explaining more things about the Grotto to us, telling us why it's always blue in summer, the history behind it and all it's dangers.
"... And it was known during the time of ancient Rome when everyone thought that it was one of Emperor Tiberius' favorite nymphs, which is a female spirit associated with grottoes or caves..." She said, stating all things the so-called Tiberius used the Grotto for. Mummy and daddy smiled proudly at her, holding hands.
"Actually, the cave was used as a private swimming pool by the Emperor Tiberius." Luca states as a matter-of-factly the real truth behind it.
"This is the statue of the Greek god of the sea, son of Poseidon, Triton. Tiberius, back then, decorated the cave as a marine temple dedicated to different sea nymphs, with a number of statues lining the cave." Luca says with one of the women on the boats, we didn't know, pointing at the statue with a flashlight.
"Wow!" We clap for Luca while he does a mock bow before he turns the boat around to head back to land.
I take a few videos with my family and some with the other people for school report. By now, we were all starving except Georgie, who looked like she still wanted to educate us more.
As we got to the mouth, Luca stopped paddling.
"August Kopisch rediscovered, with Ernst Fries, the Blue Grotto at Capri after it had been forgotten for centuries once Tiberius died." He ended the speech showing us a statue of the two heroes.
I took videos of the old but great looking statues.
"Enough!" Georgie screams.
I knew it! She was going to definitely explode now. I set my camera on her face and Luca's ready for the drama to unfold.
"For many centuries when the Blue Grotto was abandoned, the local sailors feared it because of legends of spirits and demons which stayed in the cave. But all this changed on April 18, 1826 when the cave was found by a German writer, August Kopisch and his friend and travel companion who was a painter Ernst Fries. They were all taken to the cave by Angelo Ferraro, a local fisherman, and the notary Giuseppe Pagano." She gasps out in one breath.
"Mummy, daddy, I just want to go home. Luca's been stealing my thunder." She says with a tear slipping down her face. I hold her hand and put her to sit down beside me while she rests her head on my shoulders. Being the oldest, this was somewhat my job – to have my siblings' backs.
"Dear, dear!" I pat her on the back while she soaked my purple long sheer blouse with salty tears.
Everyone pitied her and looked nonstop at her while she sobbed. My family knew she hated whenever she wasn't the one on spotlight educating people about stuff she knew. Anywhere she went, she was given that respect of sharing her knowledge but it seemed like this place was not like every other place.
"I'm sorry." She whispers out as we get to the shore.
Written by 💎 Fallow 💎