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Breathing the right air

Nothing brings more comfort than a bag of good things to cook, swinging under your arm as you make your way home. Somehow it blots out the rest of the world. In these moments, the entire universe consists of a late afternoon sun, a stray dog and a clump of flowers growing strange and wild in a yard. A hit of basil jumps from my elbows with each swing of the bag, a gift from one of the ladies I buy from the most. I visit markets without intention, just eyes open ready to discover fresh peas, or the first corn. Knowing that these products will disappear as quickly as they present themselves creates a certain form of excitement. Each season offers up this rhythm and without it I might become completely lost.

I think of when we were in Tuscany a month ago, feeling like such a tourist until I wandered out along the highway and found the local vegetable stand. I shoved squash blossoms and tiny tomatoes into a bag, rushing back to our room like I had robbed a bank. I made pasta with them th…

la prima pagina (the first page)

Twelve years since I sat in a loose chair on a piazza, staring off at the rooftops. I was finishing my novel. It seemed easy, after lunches of bresaolo and long walks.

Our bellies are full. N turns to me sometimes, a quiet smile plastered across her face. She has never been here before. 

Squash blossoms, artichokes and a sun that spreads sideways into rooms are the language of Rome. I wander the ghetto, taking pictures of old men as they become silhouettes. We take a walk long after midnight, me still drunk on Arneis and wild boar. The city breathes us in, holds us for a moment then lets us go. 


In Florence, there is a cold wind and a deep blue sky. I call E, making jokes, wishing her sweet dreams. She asks me what presents I have bought for her. I miss her terribly.

Before I left, I gave her my last red notebook. I wrote a message to her on the first page, telling her to fill it with stories I could read when I got back in a few days. Her chin slumped, tears splashing on the empty paper.
"I'll be ok, Pop." She said, nodding once.

I am starting my new book in Italy.
I told her I had to come to write it, just the first page.
"I understand." She whispered, squeezing my hand.



Comments

liv said…
Oh, how exciting! Write, write, write...and then eat some more...and them love that beautiful N and the write some more!

I can imagine how E is missing you. So I hope the presents are good! xo
Mely said…
Enjoy every moment of it.

This entry was like a postcard from Rome.

Nice,

Mely
Oh YES, M. Memories of that first page. Heaven before the hell that follows. But what a marvelous place to begin.... (Rome, I mean.)

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