The black car was hot, a furnace boiling under the canvas roof. When I had gotten between the green blades of the gate and had a moment to stop I opened the roof and let the hot air out. Before the roof was off it was a furnace but for a moment it felt good, a dry heat that toasted your body all over. Toasted bodies relieved by the chill of the slight wind. Mariana was giggling and very happy, waving at the girls sitting behind boyfriends on the motorinos at the stoplight. She would wave and say “ciao bella”, and the girl would smile, and then turn back to the boy driving and kiss him on the cheek. The girls sitting on the back of the bikes must have felt funny about this sudden stranger’s affection. They took that affection back to the familiar boys sitting in front of them. It was a hot Friday morning, and the people on the roads were smiling and baking in the sun.
From the marble steps, a large arm stretches out toward me and I instantly recognize him from his photo. Lawrence Osborne is a tall man, with elegant dress and a deep, warm voice. “Should I wear a jacket for this?” He asks, and we look outside, where Florence is soaking in a hard rain. He has just come from his home in Bangkok, where, in early monsoon season, the rain is worse he says. We grab a hotel umbrella and head over to the Gabinetto Vieusseux in the Palazzo Strozzi.
Funny to pair a wine with a moment, and pull cheeks back into a thin smile, twirling the warm blood in the glass. Twirling blood and saying “Yes, a Bolgheri is excellent with game”. It is a silly game, except maybe coming from certain guests or special aficionados, I would guess. What a word, aficionado. From Hemingway’s Fiesta, the word used to refer to bull enthusiasts at San Fermin. The narrator Jake was an aficionado, if I remember it right.