Sometimes in life, we don’t go searching for things; they find us instead. I first noticed the green sweater in a shop selling porcelain masquerade masks in Venice. This was many many summers ago when I still had all of my teeth and my hair hadn’t yet faded to grey. My friends and I were on a trip across Europe. One day we found ourselves in a quiet alley beside Piazza San Marco. Hundreds of laughing ceramic faces stared at me from a shop window. I felt uneasy and looked around for something more soothing, then found it in the form of a green sweater with a small red triquetra embroidered on the sleeve. I couldn’t help but wonder – who would put a sweater in a shop window on such a warm and humid day?Our trip took us to Nice next. After a long walk on the beach, we needed refreshment and it wasn’t long before the streets of the city led us to a lemonade stand that fronted a fruit shop. It was shady and cool inside, and packed to bursting with oranges, watermelons, grapes and more. I went hunting for exotic fruits but then a sharp green caught my attention. Behind the bananas, a sweater was on display. I was surprised to see that it looked exactly like the one I’d seen in Venice. It was of the same color and even had the same red triquetra symbol. I didn’t think much of it, beyond the fact that it seemed unusual.
The third time I spotted the sweater was in Barcelona. We had just finished a visit to Picasso’s museum and were wandering the streets of the Gothic Quarter when a small shoe shop drew me in.
“I couldn’t help but notice the green sweater you have in the window.”
“Yes, we don’t normally stock those, but a man came in this morning and said we should put it on display. He said a young lady would come looking for it.”
“Oh, and did she?”
“Looks like she did.” The seller was smiling as she was wrapping the sweater for me, saying it had already been paid for. I was smiling too, as it fit me perfectly.
A few decades later the war came. We didn’t go searching for it; it had found us instead. When we fled in the night, cold and scared, we took only what we could carry, the absolute necessities. The green sweater came with me. To this day it hasn’t lost its shape, the green is more vivid than my memory of it and it still fits me perfectly though my silhouette has changed somewhat. The triquetra burns bright red, reminiscent of the sunset on that long-gone evening in Barcelona, a memento of more innocent times.