A meal in a roman square
Sitting down at an outside table, I set the cappuccino I’m holding on the table and dig into my beat up purse to find my notebook. The sun is relentless today and sitting under the large crimson umbrella that blooms over the middle of my table is the only reason my skin isn’t lobster red. Once I put my purse under my seat and open up my notebook, I turn my head to look out into the square. In the middle rests a large fountain, with steps up to see into its waters. Art students are perched all over it and look around the square as I do, reminding me of a flock of pigeons, their heads bobbing up and down as they draw. Speaking of pigeons, they of course are all over the place. I remind myself not to drop any of my sandwich when they bring it to me, because otherwise death by pigeon will be on my coroner’s report.
Sipping my cappuccino, an elderly couple walks by with a fat dachshund, who is merrily waddling along in front of them. A lady passes them going the opposite way and honestly I’m impressed at how well she is walking on the old cobblestones, which are riddled with cracks and holes. I can barely manage to walk on them in flat shoes. Brava lady, brava. An elderly woman stands in front of the church across the street and is begging for money from anyone who walks in and out, and I have to look away, because its painful to watch. I try to give money where I can but I can barely afford to feed myself as it is.
The birds chirping is a sweet melody that twines together with the smell of the lavender plants that blanket many of the buildings in the square, and its calming qualities make me lean my head back and just listen. In this darker version of reality I can hear the hear the clicks of someones shoes pass my table to go into the bar, and a deep voice bellows out a cheerful greeting that is reciprocated wholeheartedly from the female bartender. I imagine they are old friends, who see each other everyday and yet can never run out of things to talk about. And as they begin to chat loudly among the tinks of the china and the bubbling of steamed milk, my mind wanders to a different sound. I assume one of the street musicians has set up shop somewhere near the fountain because now there is some lovely violin music drifting steadily to my ears. Oh they are playing Ave Maria I realize and find a newfound love for whoever this street vender is, because that is one of my favorites.
“Singorina, il tuo panino.” Says a man to my left and I jump a little. Turning my head, I see a handsome bartender who is hold a plate with my sandwich. I smile take it from him with a Grazie. Setting it down, I take the last sip of my cappuccino and once again have to remind myself not to feed the birds, even if a little brown one just happened to land near me and chirp with an otherworldly cuteness. As I breathe in the hot Italian air filled with lavender (and now salami from my sandwich), and hear the birds and violin sing in a natural harmony, I set my cup down and sigh with content. I am the luckiest girl in the world if I can call this beautiful place my home, even if only for a short while.