The Taste of Watermelon

It snowed in Florence. The fountains froze mid-spray. In the forest on my way to work in the tiny farmhouse-turned-school where I teach, we found a giant toad, frozen on the path mid-stride, on his way to somewhere. We took him along with us and called him Viktor.

My winter parka still has a Canadian nickel in the pocket. It reminds me of riding my bike through the avenues with my skirt tucked into my snowpants. The avenues remind me of sangria on back patios, the smell of cool grass laying drunkenly in the yard under the drooping sun. The smell of spices in shops where you can bring your own jars. The smell of old furniture at summer yard sales.

Winter may have gotten into me, inside of me. I’m cooling from the inside. Cooling towards things I used to love, rules I used mind, things that used to make me angry, thrilled, crazy.

If I close my eyes, I can hear waves. I can feel sun on my cheeks, on my back. I can smell cigarettes and campfire, hear the pop of flames, the thrum of the highway, the zip of tent zippers and the swish of the hammock. I don’t know where to look for those anymore.

My life fits neatly into compartments. Here and there. The “there” box has been feeling dusty. More nostalgia than reality.

This dusty sadness has settled over me like the cold over the city.

I wonder if Viktor will thaw?


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