i take the photos, and i make the picture (in that order)

And then there was Milan (3 images, 2 stories)

Milano from on high

I have precious little good to say about Milano, or rather about my time there. Two moments attached themselves to the below pictures and that was about all.

By the wayside

It was when i had stopped to rest my feet; by a massive building that turned out to be a church. I sat there for a few minutes before i realized how peaceful the area was. I had strayed by a 25 minute walk (or so i’d find out) from the heart of the city, as i just kept going in an attempt to get the noise further behind me. Now i didn’t even know where the noise was anymore.

I watched as people poured out of the house of worship. Not a single one with a camera, not a single one with a bag of souvenirs. All of them had a certain peace about them though, as they walked out, talking to each other, touching shoulders.  Closer, a  mother outstretched her hands as her son took his first bike ride. She didn’t touch him, but did enough for him to know she was there. I watched as they both experienced new sensations.

To my right, a more seasoned cyclist rode slowly as his entire frame jittered in sync with the rise and fall of the cobblestone road. Behind him, a car drove at a similar crawl to accommodate the two wheeler’s pace. And when the car slowed itself to veer into a new direction, the tram behind him slowed too, and waved as they parted ways. A far cry from the snide looks and impatience of an hour earlier.

It wasn’t a special scene, it wasn’t unique; it wouldn’t make the pages of a brochure, and i wouldn’t know how or why i’d share this tale back home.  As i dared to put my sore soles back on the ground, a fancy car roars by and shatters the moment, and makes my task of finding the false heart all the easier.

Foreign familiars

” You’re not from around here are you?” I turned my head about and missed the coaster as i put my glass down. It was my last day in Italy and i thought i’d finally managed to sound local enough in ordering a drink to convince the waitress that now stood before me. She wasn’t wearing her combination apron and pad holder though, and helped herself to the all too familiar empty seat opposite me.

“No, you’re not from here, you smile too much”, she declared as she put her glass down where i’d just moved my notebook from. My response was restricted to a wider grin and a mild chuckle, she laughed. “People around here, we don’t smile unless you give us something to smile about. You look like a madman smiling to yourself here”, she said with a heavy accent, but impeccable grammar. It was true though; all the while i’d been surrounded by faces that were angry as neutral. I’d wondered what could make people who were dressed in such golden threads in the middle of such a beautiful world so damned miserable. They were cold and inapproachable and if you were as alien as me, they were that much worse.

We spoke about my travels so far. She told me about her life and her passion for cooking. We chatted like old friends catching up and our words emptied the bar and dispersed the flea market outside.

“What about you?”, i asked. “You’ve been smiling all along and you’re as Milanese as they get.” She pulled her nearly empty glass of wine away from her wanting lips, “I have my reasons no?” and she took the final sip. I think her name was Luna.


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