Story of 3 boys escaping an orphanage and their adventure.
C H A P T E R 18
The next few days I spent assisting Giuseppe with receiving long distance calls and being introduced to several members of the clergy. My first assignment was to travel to Switzerland and exchange the passports for a large sum. I was instructed to deposit the funds into a bank account under an alternate identity using false identification which I was provided with. In my mind I was serving the Lord's will as the Vatican investments were being used for the cause of goodness and mercy for deprived souls.
Upon my return, Giuseppe greeted me at the Ciampino airport as I had travelled by private plane. He was standing by his car close to the runway and he waved as I exited the aircraft, we walked towards each other " How was your flight Marco ?". I replied " It was an interesting experience for me, the world looks a lot different from up there". Giuseppe chuckled " Yes Marco , I understand what you mean. As we travel through life, our world seems to change, although it is only our understanding that changes due to our perceiving things differently as we learn". I remained silent as we walked to his car, the driver opened the door for us and we entered. Giuseppe said " Marco, you performed an excellent transaction, I spoke with our banker this morning and the mission went smoothly and was successful". I replied " Thank you". Giuseppe continued " Marco , I know a member of an organization called " Uomini di Fiducia " , he wants to meet you". I replied, " uomini di fiducia , that means men of trust ?". Giuseppe replied " Yes, exactly. I can see right away that you are a prime candidate".
I was soon meeting with high profile people , Giuseppe consulted with me on a daily basis. My next trip by plane was to Sicily to meet a business man and exchange some permits for cash. I was met at the airport and driven to an office located in a secluded lemon grove where we exchanged documents for cash. I was swiftly returned to the airport and our next destination was Switzerland again to make the deposit. I travelled to Spain, Germany and even France making similar transactions. In time I became a mediator amidst highly influential people always for the interests of the Vatican investments.
I always envisioned myself as performing the works that the Lord had intended for me. I knew that some of the people I was trading with were not entirely following government laws, however, I felt it was all for the benefit of good interests overall. In the following years , being I had become one of the men of trust, I was privy to much information. Not only regarding the Vatican bank , but of the power within, that was concealed. And , unfortunately how it was being abused. I learned of people I had participated with going to jail, others disappearing or being found murdered. I wondered if the same could happen to me. When I first arrived to the house of God with all it's majestic presence , my perception was to honor and obey. I remember leaving my gift, and in return I was captured and captivated into a world of greed and corruption. And yet I continued wearing my mask and bleeding my troubles within. I always prayed for the Lord's forgiveness and that one day I may have the chance to change my life of deceptions. I was living a life engulfed by material wealth, gold , majestic arts , meeting illustrious people , traveling and living in magnificent accommodations. And yet I was miserable. I felt inadequate being a participant in an illusion of dignity. It became evident to me I was part of a hypocrisy. And the most discouraging revelation to me, the deceptions were omnipresent. This was not what Christianity was about , the message of Christ was a benevolent message of salvation. Not about control and greed. And I pondered much, day after day, week after week, month after month.
I sat in the Chapel one evening prior to dinner, I prayed in silence , and realized I was at a loss for words. I did not feel worthy of prayer as I had no conception of contributing in the Lord's intentions. I realized I lost touch with my soul. I asked for guidance and I prayed to St. Joseph. Abruptly, Someone walked in , and I looked over and saw Giuseppe walking over quietly. I sat up and he sat next to me. Giuseppe tapped me on the shoulder " Marco, I need to talk to you". I followed him outside , " Marco , I need you to go to Germany, tonight". I was surprised of the sudden request, and I asked " What is the reason ?". He replied " We need yo to collect some funds and bring them to our bankers in Switzerland ". He looked to me " your bags are packed , our car will take you to the airport at Ciampino". I asked " Do you have any instructions for me, whom will I be meeting with ?" Giuseppe walked away " it will be provided to you once you are on the plane " , he turned his back and waved " your plane leaves around 1 AM so please be ready for the driver around midnight at the gate". I sensed something was not right , Giuseppe had a different look in his eyes and I felt his sincerity was not true. I had an ominous feeling that I was being setup. My senses were that I was in danger. I stood up and walked out of the chapel. As I was walking to my room, I decided to save myself and leave Vatican City immediately. I packed only me essentials and quietly exited and swiftly made my way out of the gates and on to the train station by taxi. The driver asked " where are you going ?". I thought about it a little, and replied " Germany ! ". He just nodded his head " Buon viaggio " he said. Once at the station , I walked and looked at the available destinations. I did not want go to Naples, Milan said nothing to me. And then it struck me , L'Aquila. I did not even think about it, I quickly went and purchased my ticket. The train would depart in 15 minutes so there was not much time to contemplate. Once on board the train I felt a sigh of relief and finally relaxed. I felt like a fugitive , and I wasn't sure how I found myself in this predicament. I decided to do something I had not done in a long time, write. I remember it would always make me feel good.
Twas not long ago,
I presumed to know.
My soul was tender,
yet wearing great armor.
I carved many masks,
and lifted my tasks.
Unaware of my yearning,
nor where I was going.
At times I was challenged,
my courage prevailed.
And always I seeked,
a latent part unveiled.
And now I've arrived,
a self forged unknowing.
And often I ponder,
Who was it I knew.
Early morning the train arrived to L'Aquila , it seemed like yesterday we would come and visit here with Domenico. I was so worried that Giuseppe would send someone to be chasing behind me, but I don't think they would look for me here. In any case, I decided to move by foot and I walked. I remember the trail Domenico would hike with us and I decided to take that route, I felt the need for some isolation to myself. I bought some bread and sausage and wine from a local vendor and packed my lunch. Off I was with my backpack like in the old days. I could hear the river in the distance through the forest and followed towards the sound of the rushing water. I reached a break in the forest and I could see the river and sound of rushing waters , I stopped to look. This is the spot Domenico first saw us and we spotted him from the river below. As if it were yesterday in my mind although many years had past. I was tired, and I sat down by a tree to have my lunch break. It was a real treat to be here again, I had a sip of wine and then I closed my eyes. I reflected upon my present reality and all that transpired from the time I met Giuseppe. I was certain that if I had gone on the plane trip to Germany, I would not have returned. I wondered if I would be safe living here in my home country, further, I wondered if this was indeed my homeland. Where did I indeed belong , I thought. I thought and thought about my travels, And then out of frustration I began to write.
We are placed in foreign places,
and we must interact and learn from our own choice.
We think we are clever, although our imperfections abound,
and sometimes beyond our control, our choices are called.
I find myself in a place not of myself,
the chosen path was stronger than I,
and now my mind has awoken.
Day after night, Dusk after Dawn ,
I spill my soul and try to make this place rejoice the love I have in my heart.
Why has my path led me wrong … can it be my choices were so mistaken
or perhaps , I have forgotten the reasons for the path I have taken.
I find myself on this road, my fate carved in stone,
The only choice is to remember and be strong,
The love in my heart will not surrender,
For my Creator has placed this gift in me,
And I shall hold it till we meet.
I put my paper down and and rested to the sound of the river and fell asleep. It was a very sound sleep as I only remember waking up due to it becoming chilly as the sun was now setting. I realized I would need to find my way to town in the dark and I quickly gathered my things. Well, let's see. I remember following the river up hill , so here we go. I arrived to town a couple hours later, it was dark , however, I remember this hike as if it were yesterday. I came upon the vineyard, and it was no longer there. I was stunned as now there were some new houses built there. They must have sold the land I said to myself, and I moved on. Next I came upon the Cantina, I noticed a Mercedes similar to the one that used to bring me and pick me up at the airport parked outside. That vehicle did not belong here in this town. I quickly turned and walked into the road gong through what the vineyard lived upon when I lived here. I realized this town had changed and I had a hunch Domenico was no longer. I knew I should flee quickly, however, I wanted to go see the home I consider my home where I remember being cared for by the two best people I had ever known. I hiked a mountain path that used to be behind the vineyard and then walked my way back down to the backside of the property we used to live on. The home was still there and I saw no cars around so I slowly approached. A dog started barking and I hid in the grass, I could see a figure in the window, it had to be Elisetta. I stood up and walked closer and she came to the back door. At first she did not recognize me, then she told the dog to sit and opened the door. She had tears in her eyes and gave me a big hug without any words. She was old now, she moved slowly with a cane and took my hand as we walked to the kitchen table. She sat down and put her hand on the chair " sit Marco ", so I sat facing her. She looked to my eyes " I didn't think I would see you again. Marco, I know you are in trouble. Some men were here earlier today looking for you, I don't think you can stay here. She got up and gave me a bag with some bread and food. My heart bleeds, but I will have to ask you to leave here." I had tears in my eyes and I responded as best as I could through my agonized emotions. " I understand Elisetta , I didn't want us to meet under unhappy conditions, I just needed to see you again and thank you and Domenico". She stopped me " Domenico , non c'e piu " she paused " he's passed away some years ago. He loved you boys so much and always spoke about you. We were alone and always had you boys in our hearts and thoughts. I am so sorry you are in trouble now, you should leave the country Marco, as soon as you can, They will kill you if they find you. I could see it in their eyes, they pretend to be good, but the eyes always tell the truth". I asked her " How are you Elisetta, are you able to take care of yourself without Domenico ?". She replied, " well, I'm lonely, but luckily I have some friends here. Carlo still comes around and takes care of the fields with his workers for growing crops and he in return he takes care of me. He has a lovely wife now and a daughter. You should get married Marco, have children. There is noting else in life". She paused and put her hand in her lap " Dario is in Rome, he married Isabel and they also have a daughter, Giuliana. Sometimes they visit me. George, I know he is in America, but he is busy with his work, so I don't here from him much, only by other people". Then we heard a car coming up the road Elisetta, panicked and grabbed her cane , walked over and turned out the light " Marco, you have to go , now, get out the back door and run out to the woods, now". I stood up and grabbed my bag, I gave Elisetta a big hug " I love you Elisetta, I will always remember you, and you are always in my heart". She pushed me away... " go now, leave the country as soon as you are able".
I could hear the vehicle pull up to Elisetta's house as I bent my body close to the ground while moving myself swiftly through the field , behind the barn and over the old stone wall. I feared for her safety, however, I knew if I went back there it would not be good for either of us. I hid behind the stone wall in the dark and looked. The house lights turned on dimly , I could not hear anything, however, I waited for the lights to go off again some time later. And then I made my way back to the river and camped myself for the night. I knew it would not be a good idea to go to L'Aquila as they already knew I could be in the area. I would need to walk.
In the morning, I decided I would follow the river until I felt I was far away enough from the area to enter into the public. I had enough food to last me at least a few days and water I could take from the river. I picked up a strong stick and made it into a walking stick, it was nice and sturdy. And I walked, and walked, and pondered the past , the present and the future. Day into night and night into day, eventually, I could see in the distance that the river flowed into a reservoir or lake of some kind. So I found a path in the forest and eventually I came upon a mountain road. I decided to walk it and took my chances. I was very tired, my legs and feet hurt and I was almost limping instead of walking. Once every few minutes a car would pass by, and finally I had the nerve to raise my thumb. The cars passed by, one after another and I decided to sit down on a rock by the side of the road to rest and catch my breath. It was a beautiful spot to view the mountains as we were high up and the land was cleared so cars could pull over to rest. Overlooking the view I was mesmerized by the high peaks and the valley down below, I could see the river I followed for the past few days. The view was lovely, however the reality I was living was arduous. I thought of all my travels about the world and all the disappointments I found. And I wondered why such a mesmerizing planet offered so much grief to humanity. I closed my eyes, I felt so alone and I needed God’s love. I felt as if my spirit became autonomous of my body. For an instance I had forgotten my troubles and I felt at ease. I felt my body for what it was, a skeleton of flesh and blood I resided in. My spirit held my conscience, my soul provided guidance. I thought back into my first memories of being a boy at the orphanage, we were all playing in the yard under the maple tree, and we were all so happy. We did not think about being abandoned in this world, we were simply happy to be playing and running with our arms open wide and laughing at the maple seedlings on our noses. And now sitting on this rock, I was alone and lost, not knowing where or with whom I belong. I felt forsaken.
My journey has taught me that the reality of human existence on earth is imperfect. We are here to make mistakes and wrong choices, and sometimes, we arrive to lost places. Holding the virtue of God close to our hearts is the only path that will provide the strength to reach our salvation. To accept and follow our chosen fate by the virtue of one’s spirit.
We are born into this world and divinely granted of immaculate innocence in return for receiving the grace of God into our hearts. Our gifted souls providing guidance to love others, without fear or intention.
We are here to spread God’s will and benevolence.
It is inevitable that innocence will be lost as a consequence of our earthly interactions and human egotistical needs. We will never be content unless our childhood innocence is returned to our spirit so we may embrace and love it and share God’s love with others.
Having God’s will in our heart is the only true fulfillment we can find in this human existence. Boasting one’s superiority and demanding obedience by one’s wealth is only to serve one’s weakness. Being kind to others, prior to considering ourselves is how one’s Fulfilment is achieved.
We are not here to judge one another, as we are all imperfect here on earth. We all walk an individual path to be accomplished by our faith. Respect those that walk their walk , those are the true heroes.
Once you hold and cherish the spirit of God in your heart, your soul’s salvation is fulfilled. I believe this was the true message of Jesus Christ. A message of benevolence and guidance, not one of obedience and punishment.
And now on this rock I seek the innocent heart I once held as a boy playing under the maple tree. I want to hold it and protect it and teach with it and carry it with me. Together we will be as one with God and follow the Lord’s intentions for the rest of my journey and fate. I heard a large vehicle coming up the road and so I opened my eyes, as it got closer I could see it was a bus full of people arriving for a stop. And soon people were walking about and stretching their legs. I noticed a young woman walking and holding the hand of a young girl, the woman had blonde hair and the girl was brunette. They walked to the overlook and took in the view for in for a short time, and then they continued to walk. The woman looked over to me sitting on the rock, and then continued walking. Shortly after they walked over close to me and the woman asked " what are you doing here all alone ?". I smiled bashfully and then I replied " I'm not sure ". She gave an incredulous look " how did you get here ? where are you going ?". I replied with the same look and tone " I walked , and I am traveling by foot ". She replied " this seems a remote place to be walking alone not knowing where you are going”. Then she continued” My name is Maureen , I am a missionary from Scotland". Then she looked at the girl " I am bringing Carolina with me back to Scotland". She looked back to me and smiled. I looked at them and said " I am Marco " and then I stood up. And I asked " are all these people traveling with you ?". Maureen replied " oh no , it's just me and Carolina. And I looked to the bus " well, that's nice that you have each other's companionship for the journey". And I looked out to the vista " what will you do once you arrive to Scotland ?". And Carolina replied " we will live together and make a home ". And I smiled to Carolina " That's a wonderful thing Carolina , it's the best thing you can have is a home". And with those words, I realized, I had no home. And so I looked out and I noticed a maple tree close by and I walked over , there were some seedlings on the ground and I picked one up and placed it on my nose as I did as a child with my friends. Carolina followed me and laughed, she picked one up as well and placed it on her nose. Then I opened my arms and started making believe I could fly, and she followed with me in the wind. Maureen laughed at us " you two seem to get along well I see ". And we continued to play. The bus sounded it's horn and Maureen looked over as the driver was waving. Maureen looked to Carolina " it's time to go Carolina " then she looked to me " Marco , please come with us. Carolina and I would love your company". And Carolina took my hand and looked into my eyes. And I said " I would love to ".