When I was twenty-one, I spent a month living in Rome with some classmates. We were earning credits for a drawing and painting intensive. The small heartbreak of this memory is how unable I was to be present to the luxury of the experience.
I spent most of each day wanting to go home. Wishing I was with my boyfriend in the dark, rainy northwest. I was hot and lonely and frustrated. And yet.
This was how I fell in love with Calvino; Hanna reading to us every afternoon from Invisible Cities. This was the summer Jenny taught me about glass jars of tuna packed in olive oil. And the summer she and Karen agreed to adventure with me to Capalbio so I could finally touch the figures of Niki de Saint Phalle’s tarot garden with my own fingers.
Every day that month I ate fresh pasta from the giant supermarket below our apartment. With that tuna, and capers. And tomatoes. And then nectarines. My body that summer was ninety percent tomatoes and stone fruit. It was impossible to hold both sadness and one of those nectarines.