Water rushes from the pail, splashes from the flowerpot, and chills her bare feet. She thinks of the Florence sun, beating hot against her neck. It’s November now. Three months since she left Italy. Three months still living there in her mind. Whispering memories and small stories to herself on her Texas balcony, between breaths of the thick, humid air, “it didn’t rain once while I was there. The sun followed me to Italy.” She’s allowed to remember it how she wants to, this time.
The sugary smell of gelato filling the city, the sun mirroring itself on the river at sunrise and sunset, the rich red wine and lips stained purple, the wobbly tables set with candles and tucked away in corners where two streets meet, the piazzas and markets and accordions, and statues so convincing in the street light that for a second you reason that one just moved, the architecture and artwork so surreal it makes you dizzy or so beautiful it makes you cry, the gentle echoes of church bells dancing through the streets, the talking with hands and the rhythmic resonance of the language, and of course, that moment she had on the terrace – alone under an Italian sky – when she looked inward and really saw herself for the first time. She was alone because she’s allowed to remember it how she wants to, this time.
She can script it how she wants to, so she won’t remember him. Or his penetrating brown eyes and tenderly messy hair or the way he swept her off her feet and off the wet cobble stone streets the night that it rained, or the photographs he took the day she wore a red dress, or his hand on her knee when they drove to the coast. Or the sudden regret that filled her heart the first time he took her by the hand.
Remembering him means that the same, familiar story has taken place once again:
She flew across the world to find herself and instead found a man.
Heather Minette is a mother, scholar, writer, errant adventurer. Lost and found, like a scarf in the summertime. Seeker of experience and inspiration. Piano player and a painter, a girl making her own way, the one who always gets away.