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On March 12, 1949, the American film Gone with the Wind opened in Rome at the Cinema Metropolitan on Via del Corso. While waiting in line with Ermides, Lilia stood mesmerized by the marquee that framed the art deco building greeting the patrons.
     “Now, when we go inside Lilia, don’t be scared. The auditorium is dimly lit, so grab onto me, and you’ll be fine.”
     Lilia gripped her sister’s hand tightly, more from anticipation than fear. She could not fathom what she was about to experience. Imagining famous American actors larger than life on a huge screen seemed unbelievable to her. Upon entering the theater, over 200 seats spanned the room, stunning Lilia into silence.
Ermides leaned in and whispered,
     “This is your first date with the movies!”
Lilia wanted to scream from excitement, but conversed in a polite whisper,
     “Wow! This is amazing! Oh my God, we’re really here!”
Throughout the film, Lilia visualized herself walking onto the stage, like Scarlett O’Hara, in an ivory satin wedding gown, and with long pin-curled hair. She had been transported into her fairy-tale dreams. As the credits rolled, Lilia’s face flushed. She immediately erupted into questions.
     “I can’t believe he left her! But she was so strong, and nothing could break her!”
     “Are you crying?”
     “This is the best movie I have ever seen!”
     “Lilia,” Ermides broke out in laughter,  
     “It’s the only movie you have ever seen!
     “Doesn’t he love her?”
     “Yes, I’m sure he does.”
     “Do you think Rhett will come back?”
     “Well, the movie is over, so I guess you will have to create your own ending.” Ermides paused in reflection.
     “You know, sometimes, saying goodbye is just a painful way of saying I love you.”
Lilia noticed a sudden change in her sister’s mood.
     “Are you okay?”
     “Eiolo wants to marry me, but he’s divorced, and in the eyes of the Catholic Church, I can’t marry him. Living with him would disgrace our family, and Mama would never forgive me. I broke up with Eiolo a few days ago.” Ermides grabbed Lilia’s hand and shook it as if she needed to convince herself into believing the words she was about to say. “Oftentimes we have to do whatever is necessary to care for the ones we love, even at the risk of giving up our happiness.”

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