Sous le Souvenir

The sun had not yet risen the morning I left Italy. The air was cold enough to compel me to wear a jacket, but I knew that later that same day, a day that I would not get to enjoy, the sun would emerge and make it warm enough to make me not even consider wearing one at all.

Half asleep, I could vividly remember an occasion on which I was sitting at a cafe in Florence, sipping a glass of wine staring out at the Arno river. At the time I could have swore that I was hearing a song being played in the distance; however, I couldn’t make out what the song was. The volume of the music was just loud enough to not distract me too much from the present instance so much so that it almost seemed like I was imagining its melodious enchantment as if my mind wanted to provide the perfect soundtrack to this moment of wonderment. There was a couple on a table adjacent to mine going through the awkward sincerity that comes with a first date. She was doing most of the talking and he was just staring at her. They were both smoking, an act which doesn’t really bother me. What does bother me; however, is smoking culture. The whole “bumming” of a cigarette. The cacophonous ritual of demanding that others provide you with  a cigarette is as prevalent in Europe as it is in LA.

On the plane, I got buzzed off of two small bottles of wine, Merlot and Chardonnay, like some of my fellow travelers who were also enjoying the dionysiac concoction. The fruit of the vine lured and lulled over all of the European housewives who would sneak into the flight attendants’ stash and abscond a bottle or two. They didn’t even bother with plastic clear cups, they would guzzle the stuff straight out of the bottle like common drunkards.

The flight from Turkey to LA was a torturous one as the plane was flying in opposition to the setting sun; hence never setting during the 12 hour flight. I was tired, woozy, and homesick. Welcoming me with open arms were streets littered with refuse and a homeless man trying to set himself on fire, then casually walking away in light of his failure. It’s good to be back home.

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