It was many years ago during a dermatological excision that we, in our family, learned that Nancy Sinatra could be associated with surgical procedures.
At the time, the doctor, a 70-something eccentric, loved to listen to his music — loud — while holding a scalpel. So, “Summer Wine” and “These Boots were Made for Walkin”, previously favorite Nancy Sinatra songs from my childhood, took on new meaning, involving Tylenol, gauze, well – you can imagine.
This association is so ridiculous — that we cannot hear these songs without glancing at each other and grimacing.
It’s a type of pop-song-flavored PTSD.
So me and my orthopedic sneakers – I am not so cool today — headed out after early breakfast.
I think the time of the COVID pandemic made my head smaller.
Or my heart smaller.
And stepping out again takes a bit of oomph.
Not far from here is a street market I love.
It’s only on Friday mornings.
Again — it’s so very hot. Sun so very bright.
And I walked.
Quando sono arrivata – when I arrived – I could smell origano/oregano.
I heard some guys — ragazzi — calling Fragole, Fragole — strawberries.
For there were so many.
And housewares and dresses and shoes — so many sandals.
And handbags. Borse.
Because it is summertime guys were calling lino, puro Lino — pure linen — the best way to live in the heat.
There were cabbages and early tomatoes and apricots – and zucchini blossoms.
I feel joy.
The person who I was — who explored. Who adventured.
I feel her.
I woke to this day just to hear these words around me.
To be in this light.
To see the little birds – the canarini and the parochetti – canaries and parakeets — in little cages, waiting to be brought to your home to cheer you.
I see una gonna -cotone. Viola. A purple cotton skirt. Scelgo. I choose. Perhaps I will regret it later but for now…I negotiate and the negotiation pleases me.
I am looking for a wide-brimmed straw hat – but there are none that suit me.
I start back…take the long way around.
Stop at un negozio – I purchase liters of acqua, chips (con rosmario!), un apribottiglie. – (qualcosa che apra una bottliglia – to open a bottle).
I feel joy.
That old, old joy.
Last night we went to another gathering. There were lovely large white spheres on the lawn.
There were people I know pretty well and some I know hardly – or not at all.
Before the pandemic I went to a house party here in Milano. The walls of the home were a beautiful gray. Il grigio, che grigio!
When we returned home we chose a great gray for our walls.
Gull-wing gray, infatto.
But last night when I saw the owner of the house – from that party – I remembered her beautiful gray walls – and how she had inspired me.
So I approached her. She greeted me warmly which surprised me.
As I mentioned, I had only met her once.
Then – I told her that I had been inspired by her gray walls.
I know – it’s a bit awkward but hey, I never thought I would ever see her again.
She was so surprised by what I said –
and then what she said surprised me even more.
She said that – for the past two and a half years she has been listening to my podcast Breathing Out Stars and that I had inspired her.
Wait, what? Che cosa succendo? – what is happening?
I am pretty sure that my eyes filled with tears.
Just then, the DJ played ‘These Boots Were Made for Walkin’ – by Nancy Sinatra.
Holy heck. Che cazzo.
This may mean nothing to you but to me – it was convergence of experiences. Of worlds folding in on themselves.
I also want to say that today, walking in the hot market in the early hours I understood that there is so much light in the world, even when if feels like there is not.
And when it goes, it can return.
And it will.
And suddenly, the light goes. Gone. Veramente. Really. (really)
In a matter of course, when a story is boring or doesn’t feel impactful sometimes the author will feel un colpo di fulmine…a bolt of lightning.
In this case, quite the opposite happens.
We have a sudden blackout.
I cease writing, pull out a book.
I rest. There is nothing to be done. Boh.
I think of other stories …a musical story where the power goes out and the narrative changes.
Friends gather in the dark.
A cherished friend is suddenly lost.
There may be so much light — but right now it is not in my hotel, or in my area.
After two hours I gather my bag, book and poke through the dark to the emergency stairs. I descend.
The stairwell is dark. Gray. Grigio. Che grigio!
The guy at the front desk looks up at me, clearly stressed.
“Allora״, I begin…
Then i continue in English.
“So…how’s it going?”
“Honestly Signora, there is nothing to be done. The whole block is out.
They have to dig for this but it all depends on when they start to dig.”
“There is nothing to be done.”
So I decide to take my book to the park.
“in bocco al lupo!” – good luck — I call to him on my way out the door.
“crepi!” – he responds, laughing.
At almost 18.00 it is time for un caffè anyway.
At the pink umbrella I order un caffè, doppio.
It may be a long night.
I look down at my book and see the following:
“Non avere paura; il nostro destino non ci può essere tolto; è un dono”
“Do not be afraid; our fate cannot be taken from us; it is a gift.”