I decide that today is the day for spring cleaning and organizing. I have several projects on my agenda. One of these is disinfecting & reupholstering the seven mismatched kitchen chairs (some rescued from the sidewalk) with fabric remnants from Ikea.
Another priority item is transforming both bedrooms by creating unique headboards using recycled cardboard, snazzy wapping paper and double sided tape. Necessity is the mother of invention when you’re on a budget. The floors are in need of a good scrubbing, and the windows are coated in a opaque film caused by the non-stop traffic on the street below.
With a Windex bottle clenched under my arm and paper towels stuffed into various parts of my clothing, I’m intent on improving my view. Half perching on the windowsill, and half steading myself on the kitchen table, I notice a man on the sidewalk below waving at me. Racking my brain as to who this stranger could possibly be, I suddenly realize it’s the handsome neighbour I spotted on the street a few days earlier. At the time I was in a flirty mood, and had actually flashed a toothy grin at him. I’m rarely so brazen as to smile at perfect strangers on the street, but I was feeling brave and a little sassy that day. What I now find shocking is that he recognizes me from 3 floors up, with my hair tied back, wearing oversized cleaning grubbies, and that he’s actually trying to get my attention. I look like the maid! I return his friendly wave and smile to myself wondering how this little scenario will play itself out.
By mid-afternoon I’m ready for a change of scenery. I shower, grab a good book, and head off on my bike to the quiet Bardini Gardens. (There’s a high probability gelato will be consumed today!!) Leaving my apartment I bump into the handsome neighbour who is oh-so-casually walking past my front door. To my delight he is even better looking face-to-face with an effortless smile, playful brown eyes and an irresistible hint of grey hair around his temples. We exchange smiles, and wide-eyed stares while talking for several delicious minutes. I use the term “talking” loosely as he speaks no English, and my Italian vocabulary skills are on the level of a 10-month-old baby. Fortunately all the years of speaking with my hands has finally paid off. He offers to call me and as he enters my number into his phone I notice his hands are shaking. Ohhhh! That’s so sweet!…. He’s nervous! Leaning in to give me the customary Italian double-cheek kiss, he says he’ll call in me two days. At least I think that’s what he says. To tell you the truth, I actually have no idea what we were talking about. For all I know he may have just told me he’s going to buy cheese, and it needs to be aged for two days! This lack of communication could pose a problem.
Whatever! Who cares! He’s adorable, with his starched blue shirt, white sweater, and trembling hands. He crosses the street, then casually turns with a warm smile and a final wave. I look forward to his call but I have one teensy-weensy miniature problem: I can’t exactly remember what he said his name was!! “Alessandro” or “Riccardo”? I’m sure I’ll figure it out before it ever becomes an issue. Oh Gawd I hope so!