joanna and erica left for home this morning and their absence has left a big empty hole. we had so much fun together, the four of us, exploring lucca, shopping in forte dei marmi, eating gelato whenever we could. they left for two days and one night for cinque terre, and while we missed them then, we knew they were coming back. now, we won’t get to see them for another six weeks. it is had to believe we are halfway through our time in lucca and now, for the first time, i am feeling homesick. seeing the kids for just a bit, turned out to worse than not seeing them at all.
in an effort to cheer ourselves up, we decided to take a walk. today is the monthly antique fair in lucca so the streets were crowded with booths selling everything, and tourists seemingly not buying anything. summer has hit big time in italy and the temperature is hovering around 85 and is predicted to go into the 90’s in the coming week. fortunately, our apartment is air conditioned, but with the five hundred year old stone walls, our building is as cool as if we had actually turned on the a.c.
as we walked the streets, making sure to stay in the shade, i realized that every few blocks we were stopped by people saying hello to howard, mr. oward, as he is known. from the restaurant owners, to the bike rental lady, to the dry cleaners and the travel agents, howard has made friends every where he goes. with out a word of italian, he has managed to charm his way into the hearts of the local people. he knows every woman, in every food shop in lucca and they all know how he likes his salami sliced. when we walk down the street and a cab driver calls out ‘ciao, mr. oward”, we know it is bruno. the only person that seems to know and like me better is the gay real estate agent – it figures, he was the only one that noticed that i cut my hair.
so here i am, in the middle of a heat wave, missing the girls, and living with the mayor of lucca.