I remember how the light looked in early morning. It was more pink than here, not as orange. It reminded me that I was far away, and I would open my 200 year old apartment window and smell the wood that the neighbor below me was sawing through. He was older, wore glasses that steamed up as the morning grew warm, they were perfect circles. He didn’t wear a shirt, exposing a belly that rolled over his belt a little and was flecked with coarse white hairs. He hears my window creak open, he looks up to my window and smiles, raises a hand to me and yells, BUONGIORNO! followed by a minute long narrative about what I assume to be how beautiful of a day it is, how life is good. He points to the sky, still pink with morning, the point on the horizon where the sun is about to rise, the way the vines look this early, how they patchwork the hillsides into a quilt, the fragrant wood he cuts, back to me. I don’t actually know what he’s saying. His other hand holds the saw, he swings it around as he yells and uses it to point sometimes too. I smile and wave and say buongiorno, and he laughs a little, going back to cutting wood. I don’t remember wondering what he was making. This morning, I wonder what he was making. His hands are old and leathery, scarred and purple. Sawdust coats his bare feet, sprays side to side, and lands in a small glass of espresso. I can see the pale slivers of wood stand out against the black coffee. I remember how, saw in hand, he wiped his face with a dirty blue cloth. I remember how he reaches over for his espresso and sees the floating sawdust. He throws one hand up and the espresso out of the glass, on to the street and yells for his wife as he curses the espresso, the glass, the saw, his feet. He steps inside and returns with a fresh glass, and I can see the steam rising off the surface. He takes a sip and sets the glass down further away from himself this time, mumbles something about the coffee, and then starts quietly singing.
I remember riding my rented bike through the grape vines, stealing olives from orchards that stretched on for miles. Only when I climbed to the top of the olive tree could I see the house of the people who owned the orchard. Bitter. The olives and the grapes. But the wines and olive oils, so sweet and comforting. I don’t remember wondering how something so bitter could turn into something so opposite, but this morning I wonder about that. I remember how from far away in the hills, I would turn towards the church close to my apartment, and watch as the sun turned everything rosy with afternoon. I see how the sun stretches its bands through the leaves and I grow envious.