There was a time when I would close my eyes and fantasize about the life I truly wanted. The life I envisioned began like this:
I see it like a film. I can see the scene from the camera’s perspective, moving into the the grounds through the large iron gate, camera moving steadily, and out from the wisteria hanging from the trelace onto the garden patio surrounded by lush greenery and scattered with fragrant lavender petals. A mass of crisp white bed linens hangs off the line, gentlly swaying in the warm summer breeze drying under the light of the hot Ligurian sun. And then I see myself behind the mass of white. Children calling out to each other in playful laughter from a nearby yard and the camera moves in on me slowly. A contented look on my face, pulling clean wet sheets out of the brown wicker basket on the grass and adding them to the line. I’m wearing a simple white cotton dress, hair pulled back at the nape of my neck. Carmel colored curls spring out of the elastic and bounce as I bend to the basket grabbing a pillowcase and reach up to the line. I can feel small beads of sweat begin to form at my hairline, but the breeze feels good and she has a look of contentment on my face. And then I see him. He walks out of the kitchen into the yard holding something – a beer? No, two. He kicks a random ball in his path without missing a beat and the sandy colored dog goes bouncing with a bark beyond the fig tree, playing. He holds one out to me, “Prego, amore” here you go my love he says in Italian, “Grazie” Thank you she responds and slips the neck of the bottle down the side of her own, just behind her ear to cool herself off, before taking a swig. He sits in the white plastic chair near the clothesline, squints his eyes because the sun, “Basta, dai” enough, already, and taps his hand on the chair next to his. She gives him a smile, places the beer bottle on the chair and continues pinning the sheets to the line.
Not sure why I’m doing laundry. Not sure why I’m wearing white, which by the way, I almost never wear because a) I spill everything on myself when I wear white and b) I think I look fat in white. Also, I don’t know why I’m drinking a beer in this scenario. If you know me you know I don’t like beer mostly because it’s carbonated and carbonated drinks make me gassy and I burp a lot. But this is the scene I see in my hear when I fantasize about my life in Italy. The life I wanted and never had. The man I wanted and could’ve had if it weren’t for my stupid pride. But that’s me, letting pride get in the way of a really good thing even when the really good thing is potentially wearing a white dress and sweating in the sun, even if it is a Ligurian sun, and hanging some beer drinking Italian man’s laundry.
Last summer I found out he had a child. With whom, I have no idea, but he’s a father now. And you know what? I don’t own a white dress and now I live in Shanghai and my Chinese Aiyi (housekeeper) does all the laundry. Go figure.