Publish Novellas 9 October 2022
EPISODE 3 – SORROWING
With wedding plans crushed by illness, Francesca reluctantly seeks comfort from family with undesirable effects in this remarkable miniseries conclusion.
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Internalizing emotions is tearing Francesca apart. She fears that Michelozzo has succumbed to the deadly plague. So she opens up to her mother who tries to comfort her. Her father urges Francesca to move on before she is beyond the age of marriage.
Eating little food, moping around the house, and crying herself to sleep leads her father to seek medical advice. The physician tells him that the symptoms point to hysteria. The remedy is to remove her uterus.
When her father shares the diagnosis with Francesca, she realizes that she needs to conceal her emotions. So she begins dining with the family, doing her chores, and attending religious services on Sundays. The priest attributes her recovery to the power of the Holy Spirit. Either way, the new behavior averts her hysterectomy.
Every night before going to sleep, Francesca reads her old letters from Michelozzo as if they were new. This helps her to imagine that he is still alive, working on their palazzo. She even writes out a list of names for their children.
Each time Michelozzo heads down the hill, he risks exposure to the pneumonic plague. After bartering his last paintings, the town cryer announces that the plague has ended. People are free to come out of their homes, shop, and socialize unmasked. It sounds too good to be true. Michelozzo can finally see his fiancé again.
He completes his trek back up the hill in half the time it took to descend. In his garments are fresh grains to make bread and olive oil, cook rice and vegetables, and grill chicken.
Healthy workers return with eagerness to complete the renovation. They understand his Italian with clarity. So he explains what needs to be done and says he will return with his wife when it is complete.
His ship arrives in Italy and Francesca is more beautiful than ever. In her parents’ backyard is the gazebo. The chairs facing it include all his architectural rivals who are envious of his life and fame in Algiers.
The priest reads poetic verses from his letters to Francesca. When Michelozzo lifts the veil to kiss the bride, her mouth is covered by his red sputum. It drips to stain her white dress before she succumbs to the plague. As he turns to call for help, everyone at the wedding is coughing up blood and falling out of their chairs.
His loud shout awakens himself. He thinks how ridiculous it would be to have an instant recovery from the plague. Likely, there would be a transition with face coverings. But then he wonders, whether he could transmit the virus to others when he returns to Italy.
The plague subsides enough to permit shopping with masks. Most people without money, bring something from home with which to barter. Michelozzo Has nothing. Some vendors remember his paintings and share enough food to get by.
On a subsequent trip to the market, Michelozzo learns that travel to Italy is resuming. He heads to the port for details. There he learns of a requirement to quarantine ten days in an Oran facility prior to travel. Upon arrival at the destination, he must then self-quarantine at his home before visiting a doctor for a clean bill of health. Only then would he have authorization to socialize with other Italians.
As strict as those requirements are, they pale in comparison to the price to board a boat. It is the equivalent of a year’s wages. Determined to get away, Michelozzo barters with the captain.
“I have been self-isolating here for many months. I have the strength to walk up and down the hill to my palazzo for provisions.”
Michelozzo then unrolls his architectural drawings of the renovated building. I came here to transform this property. The plague left it 75 percent complete. “Take me to Italy and I will sign over the property to you along with all the drawings and instructions to complete the work.”
“How do I know that this palazzo is not just a figment of your imagination?” asks Captain Anthony.
“I will give you directions to meet me there tonight or if you prefer, I will take you there now. Either way, I want to leave tomorrow morning.”
The captain replies, “I must prep my ship and get supper. Give me directions to the palazzo. If it is as you say, we have a deal.”
Later that evening, Captain Anthony arrives and is impressed with the scenic views. So Michelozzo promises to bring the deed with him in the morning and sign it over on the ship.
As the ship departs, Michelozzo gets a different perspective. The palazzo is a tiny insignificant spec on the landscape. The grander picture is his life with Francesca. This is worth any sacrifice, so he has no regrets in giving up the home.
Upon setting foot on Italian soil, Michelozzo thanks Captain Anthony and wishes him a safe journey. He follows the isolation protocol before visiting a physician and receiving a clean bill of health. At last, he is able to put on his finest clothes and visit Francesca.
When her housemaid announces his presence, Francesca is utterly besides herself. Unable to maintain a lady’s decorum, she jumps into his arms with the tightest embrace. Ushering him to the sitting room, he tries to explain the events of the past several months but she is so awestruck that she does not hear a word for 90 minutes.
Finally, he kneels and says, “Francesca di Ambrogio Galigar, the Algerian palazzo is no more. You are the most important thing to me. I love and still want to marry you, if you will share your life with me here in Italy.”
“Michelozzo di Bartolomeo, my love for you has not diminished. I have read your letters every night while awaiting your return. I don’t care where we live as long as I have the privilege of raising a family together with you.”
The two decide to wed as soon as possible. Francesca and her mother plan all the arrangements. Michelozzo is surprised to see how many individuals recognize him as a noteworthy architect. Dignitaries are privileged to receive invitations.
The paradise is where they originally met, in Florence, Italy. The newlyweds quickly begin their family. Bartolomeo, born in 1442, later becomes a sculptor. Piero is born in 1443. Antonia is born next in 1445. She is followed by Niccolo in 1447. They welcome Marietta in 1453, followed by Bernardo in 1455 and Lisabetta in 1459.
Michelozzo supports all seven children as an architect until his death at age 76 in 1472. The buildings he designed and his sculptures that adorn them remain standing in Italy till this day, as symbols of the Renaissance era.
What lesson do you gather from this fictional story about the actual Italian Renaissance Architect, Michelozzo di Bartolomeo Michelozzi (1396 – October 1472)? There is no record of his traveling to Algiers. However, he did marry Francesca, who gave birth to the seven children listed in the story.