One day is like another … or is it?
Every day at
8 o’clock in the morning
A woman in a black coat, her hat pulled low over her ears, is walking a black and white dog.
A young man is sitting outside a small church, smoking a cigarette. He smiles as the dog goes over to be petted before continuing on to Piazza Duomo.
A young rather heavy-set woman is hosing down the street and washing the tables of the bar on Via Duomo.
Looking up the street, past the Duomo and the shop with an enormous pottery urn outside, almost looks like the light at the end of the tunnel, silhouetted by dark magnolia trees in the small park that overlooks the valley and the fairy-tale abbey down below.
Teenagers in jeans – all dressed alike – pour out of the bus in the piazza and head for school. Soon the hive of the city will start humming with people and children and cars, on their way to work and school.
The food truck parked outside the museum is delivering mineral water for the onslaught of tourists soon to come.
The dog flops over on her back to roll around, then sniffs her way to the park of what was once a hospital.
Every day at
9 o’clock in the morning
In Via Garibaldi as one approaches the archway the outdoor tables are being dressed in red and white checked tablecloths.
The clothing shops on the Corso are pulling up their shutters.
Two persons are waiting for the pharmacy to open.
Across from the florist under the arches of the church of S.Andrea, azaleas
crowded into boxes are waiting for someone to take them home.
A man in a quilted jacket and no hat goes into Bar Montanucci for coffee.
He sits down, peruses a newspaper and is waiting for his friends for their morning discussion of the local politics.
The black Nigerian woman with a shopping cart sitting on the bench outside the bar is eating a pizza. She will soon start walking up and down the streets, accosting people for a handout. The plant next to her, set into a circular opening in the seat, has a sign saying I am not a trash can.
All with what is to come in mind.
Every day in the evening
Six or seven o’clock – no longer day but not yet night.
Offices, the bank, have stopped waiting, have shut their doors and only robots see to the requests of tourists.
At 9 o’clock, around suppertime
The woman walking her dog passes the Bar Duomo and a woman sitting inside looks out and waves and smiles, but makes no sign beckoning the passerby to come join her.
The dog stops to roll on the cobblestones before continuing her walk, nose to the ground.
The buses are no longer waiting for someone who is tired of walking.
A bit further up, a heavy wooden door, opening right onto the street, suddenly clicks open. A woman steps out holding a trash container, sets it out to be collected by the truck early the next morning, says buona notte, then disappears with the half-open door snapping shut behind her.
Doors look blindly out onto the street, no longer inviting the passers by in.
The dog and the woman turn down past the movie house, the empty tables of the restaurant, and to the Corso. As they pass Montanucci’s, they exchange waves with the tall Moldavian waiter in his white jacket, who has learned to mix real martinis. Several months ago he asked her for advice on what to read.
Groups of men, or are they boys?, couldn’t be more than 20 years old, in skinny black pants and black jackets and with crew cuts – training to be members of the Italian Guardia di Finanza – move together into Montanucci’s for an ice cream cone.
The city is slowly shutting down. Changing its wakeup lever to snooze.
Street lights are on. In the town windows show up as squares of light. Real night exists only at the edge of the cliff, at the outskirts of the people hive, drawing the observer into its bowl of darkness.
Thoughts turn from now to what perhaps will be.