Faccio un casino.
I am a bit of a mess.
Time zones, eh.
I am meeting B, of ambulance fame, for lunch. (L’ambulanza italiana)
Our epic ride together forged an already burgeoning friendship.
She is brave. So very brave.
Walking the blocks towards the Crocetta station, boarding the train towards Comasina. I get off at the Duomo. Greeted by its morning glow…and armed soldiers. It whispers to me “benvenuta!”
Benvenuto — I whisper to the train as I get back on towards Reppublica.
We share an almost three-hour lunch, walking back through the markets near Porta Garibaldi, looking at scarves. “Blu” — I tell the man, when he asks what we are seeking. “Stiamo cercando blu”.
There is no blue. He shrugs. I shrug. La vita è così, I say. Such is life.
B and I embrace and I walk away — towards the #9. I board. And soon…it is dark. All the electricity is gone from the tracks. And the system is down. We wait, many of us, in the dark. Finally people begin to disembark, one, then two. Then another. A man in a wheelchair, a large parrot resting on his arm, decides to leave the tram. Two passengers help with his chair.
The parrot brushes me as he passes. Benvenuto, pappagallo — I say to myself.
I order a taxi. Of course the electricity returns just then. Movement begins. I cancel the taxi. Within fifteen minutes the driver screams for all of us to get off the tram. We look at each other, shrugging…us passengers. And we get off. La vita è così.
And after five minutes another arrives and we are on our way again.
The man with the parrot — long gone.
When I return there are six Italian men gathered in the lobby. They have been to the markets. They are showing each other the sweaters that they have bought, holding them up to themselves and each other.
None of them are blue.
The next morning I am up early.
I am back on the #9, headed to a market I have not visited in a very long time: eight years.
Inglese? Francese? I raise my head to see a vendor gesturing at me. Dai, (c’mon), I say, italiano! He smiles and says — Ma ho visto il Suo sacco, eh…
Darn — should have brought a grocery bag. I have given myself away.
I stop at one vendor then another — touching socks, early artichokes.
I am singing to myself: Il blu dipinto di blu.
Sto cercando di blu — I say to a man.
And I find blue.
And dried apples, curried almonds.
I am happy enough. There was blue — and there was a parrot.
La vita è così.