It is a lovely, cool morning with an empty sky and a bright sun, and the church bells are ringing every hour or half hour or even every fifteen minutes. I haven’t counted yet. I slept for a long time last night, and in my subconsciousness was thinking of verb conjugations for my Italian homework. So much knowledge has been crammed into my brain this last week I have little time to think about anything else. I’m still trying to sort it all out, and when I woke up this morning to the beautiful sun, I had a sense of peace and calm.
Last night at 8pm I finally stopped studying to go find myself dinner. Claudia and the family are gone for the week, and I ran out of food last night. I walked around various places, almost stepped into one or two restaurants, but decided against them. Finally, not being able to ignore my hunger, I picked a restaurant that had the Tuscan soup which I love (and have forgotten the name of.) The soup is made with bread, beans, and vegetables. It was the only thing I ordered (besides some house wine), which the waitress seemed to think was strange. But what was even stranger for her was when I ordered fresh bread after I was finished with my soup. “Solo pane? solo pane?” she kept saying, looking at me. “Si, si—solo pane!” I said, making some weird gesture with my arm to give her the idea that I knew it was weird to order only bread.
When no one was looking, I crammed a few pieces of bread into my purse.
I felt like some sort of character from a Dickens novel, spending the last of his money on a meal, and saving some of the food—stuffing it away—so no one would know how desperate he was. Of course, I wasn’t desperate, I just knew that the bread would come in handy for today when I would take myself out for a picnic to the gardens, and I could make a sandwich with the bread I took.
I paid the bill and went to sit in the Piazza, perfectly alone and perfectly content to be alone watching all these interesting people, listening to the only sound there was to listen to: the blended hum of people talking, with an occasional screech from a child or cheering of a crowd. I walked home in the dark and tried to concentrate on more Italian, but my eyes were heavy and I went to bed, leaving it all for today.
And when today came, I had breakfast with a Winnie-the-Pooh and Tigger placemat, my typical cocoa with orzo in warm milk, and some kind of biscuit. I sat quietly eating, while listening to a refreshing sermon that I heard once a long time ago. When it was over, I kept wishing it hadn’t ended. Now the rest of the Italian waits for me, and I’m about to go in, resolutely, to butcher conjugations. I have half an idea my teacher will be horrified with me tomorrow, but if she is we’ll have to have some one on one time.
Today I’m going to try to find the botanical gardens. I am ready for some rest—not the rest of sleeping, but the willed kind of a rest. The kind of rest you experience when you say: “I’m not going to let this or that worry me.” I am ready to walk out of this apartment, into the old stone street shaded by the city wall, up the hills, and into beauty. I am ready to experience beauty, to become one with it and reconciled with it, because it is peace and comfort to know that Christ is beauty and everything lives and breathes in him, and I can hear him when the wind blows and I can hear him in the light of the sun and the birds when they sing. So I go out to be at rest.
After my verb conjugations are complete.