We huddled in a bedroom of a loft apartment in Bologna for one month. The city was blanketed in snow that was beautiful on the warm coloured rooftops and like a mud slushy on the streets below. He arrived in Bologna at 5am one morning in a car that was falling to pieces and had jazz blaring from its stereo.
He went home for christmas and I drove down Italy's east coast with him. 10 hours from Bologna to Bari, then I got on a train and went back the other way. Slept by myself stretched out on the train's vinyl seats. When I woke up I was in Bologna, the snow was fresh and it was Christmas morning. I walked up the main shopping street and came across only two men standing outside a bar. Buon Natale, Signorina. I can still hear the exact music of their words. I went to call my parents and buy some white wine for Christmas celebration.
He came back soon after, We spent the month shopping at the market, cooking huge meals and studying for an exam in anthopology that had me beat. He coached me through it. It was passed, somehow. We said goodbye again at Milan as he left for Argentina. I left Italy dramatically, soon after, stealing back a box of stolen equipment from my landlord, mailing it to its rightful owner in Sweden, and disappearing. I havn't been back to Bologna since.
The next time I saw him he arrived in Melbourne from Buenos Aires drained and pale, wearing a jumper he'd borrowed from the tanguero friend he had been staying with. Melbourne is the most relaxed city in the world, filled with parks, music, long tram rides, polar neck jumpers and trendy urban beer gardens. We soaked the peace in, until we felt it deep inside both of us. We went wine tasting with Z, cooked pumpkin soup, and apart from love, our deep friendship grew. We became parents to 2 baby chicks that shit all over the house. They were killed by a cat a few weeks after he left and I was inconsolable.
I finished things up in Australia and flew to Italy in time for a European summer. My first year selling in the streets. He taught me how it was done and I was unstoppable. We worked and worked and at the end of the summer, we bought a van to drive home to Spain in, parking it overnight in Tuscany and again in Provence.
And so we began our life in Spain, where we've made so much together. Yesterday we got in the car and drove to a village in the mountains. We sat in the bright autumn sun drinking coffee and breathing in the air, so sweet and clean that the clouds of cigarette smoke rising from the table next to us stood out against the bright blue sky. The baby was bouncing on our knees and climbing back and forth between us. We walked further up the mountain where people were gathering fallen chesnuts and later through a forest to an isolated Carmelite Convent.
Do they at least make honey or something?
I considered that these nuns take vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, and silence. In a stone convent in the middle of the lush forest. Silence, except for the sounds of birds and the crystal clear water gushing over granite.
It might be the time of year, this is when the leaves fall, when humans and nature are closest, but there were moments when I felt the three of us melt right down into the earth where we were standing.
4 years. In 4 years we've sung thousands of songs, driven endless distances, met hundreds of colourful characters. Laughed at so many, so very stupid jokes. We are full. Up the mountain we agreed that we have everything we could ever possibly ask for.
We are filled with love, which is not only all you need, it's all there is.