There was a trumpet player outside the hotel window playing “The Lambada.” Two boys pushed a wheel- chair behind him loaded with tools: hammer, wrenches, step-ladder. The last time I heard that song maybe fifteen years ago outside a bar, Boca Chica, another world.
Now outside this trattoria with a plate of orecchiette—“little ears” and the house white, a color of January sun. It is December here near the see-through sea. Gallipoli. Puglia. Where names send me.
The Greek fountain in this piazza so eroded no faces nor defined limbs can be seen—only gestures: one figure plucking something above him; another leans slightly left as if to dodge a small rock, a bad word. These reclining ladies seem more at the beach than in bed. White conical adornments make a cut-out of the sky that poses like an ad for pleasure or something ancient, a nicer name for old. I marvel that the past had no word for blue.
In my mind, alone and not alone, the worries and wishes and angers and words of others comment on this moment. The trumpet player is off playing a song where someone is turning on a dance floor, where the frill of a skirt makes the difference, a song in which I have spent a secretive hour as if slipping outside this world unnoticed. His sons are skipping rocks into this bay or unfolding the ladder or practicing at wrench and hammer.
Gulls fly across this plastic tablecloth, a small roar of Vespas, real gulls above the castle and flag, giant bowls of vongole rosso and cozze for sale in the market, a bridge named John Paul II, each time someone passes: buon giorno—good day, good journey.
Small monuments of a small moment when I did not want to change my life.