Ahh the elusive Fiorella. I am sorry that I have not taken the time to write to you about her, but I have been saving that task for a reason. Whenever I try to think of ways to describe her to you, words fail me. She is like a butterfly, floating to and fro in every dimension of space. She is almost always happy and cheerful, and even when she has had a bad day, she has this spirit that just shines through even the darkest of moods. Whenever I am with her, even if there is some difficulty in communication, I can’t help but feel warm inside. She will talk and carry on about this and that, gesticulating wildly while the smoke from that never-ending cigarette wafts in crazy patterns and shapes. I don’t always follow, but I try hard and have learned to laugh when appropriate, look disgusted whenever she is talking about the Pope, get bright-eyed and nod whenever she talks about Obama, and interject “Mamma Mia!” or “Madonna!” whenever she talks about Italian politics. But what I love most are her stories– and she’s got a lot of them– always bright and colorful and always, always, always about the beach (she was born in Liguria, near Genova, on the sea).
She has not had an easy life. She has a son, John Marco, who lives in Rome and is pursuing a degree in psychiatry. She has been married twice, and as far as I understand, both of them passed away. The first died when John Marco was just a baby (he was only 40 years old), and when she speaks of him you can tell that he was the love of her life. The other husband she does not speak of often, just little fuzzy details here and there to fill in the gaps of her history. She is naturally blond, which is rare in Italy and you can tell that she loves being different. She is beautiful now, but the pictures of her as a young woman are enough to make your heart melt. Thin, tan, blond, and with shining blue eyes and a shining smile. Carefree, natural, vibrant.
Her husband did leave her a great bit of money when he died, enough for her live comfortably without having to work. However, when the Lira changed to Euro several years ago, she along with every other Italian lost half of her money in a single day. I think she still has enough to get by on, but hosting a few students now and then helps things out a bit. Plus, I think she likes the company.
Today is the birthday of one of her best friends, and glorious cook that she is, she has prepared a feast. Since I don’t have school this week, I woke up, stumbled into the kitchen in my pajamas, notebook and camera in hand, and watched as she fluttered about, preparing pizzas and savory tortes, yeast breads, creams of every sort, and pastries galore. It was an impressive spectacle, with dough flying every which way, milk splattering on the floor and the cat running ferociously to lick it up, batter spinning off the beaters, chocolate bits bouncing off the cabinets, and water overflowing on the stove and extinguishing the fire below. I have to say, however, that everything came out beautifully and that that friend of hers is one lucky little lady! Although I was not so unlucky myself, as at every turn, there was a spoonful of something delicious being shoved in my mouth! Especially memorable was her Crema Chantilly (a sweet pastry cream mixed with whipped cream… how can that be bad??!)!
And at last, a photograph of bella Fiorella:
Lovely, isn’t she? Wouldn’t you love coming home to her every evening, too?