What was December? December was arguing for far, far longer than I should have, with a not-so-mysterious but rather hybrid being: one part “well, actually” mansplainer, two parts hit-and-run sealion (a.k.a. data dude), three parts charmingly clueless lovechild of David and Justin, and some random sprinkles of hysterically entitled masculinity. (December was remembering, eventually and at last, that quote that everyone ascribes to Twain, about exactly this kind of argument...)
But December was also about discovering Dario Cecchini’s new food truck, and the taste of pici in San Quirico d’Orcia. December was remembering, the way only skin and muscle can remember, how a night-time swim through the glow-green water at Fonteverde can still still, so much inside...
December was watching Harold and Maude at La Compagnia, with all of five other people in the entire theatre... (Not because of Covid, but because of Harold and Maude...) December was discovering — when there are only seven of you in a full-sized, two-tiered cinema hall, watching a movie that all of you are rare in loving — what it feels like to be able to hear each other laugh.
Oh, Harold... That’s wonderful. Go and love some more.
December was watching Ingrid Bergman In Her Own Words—though this one at home... December was the way we cheered like children, at every flash of Santa Marinella. (That house on that curve, the way you knew on the train then, that you were home...)
December was a teal-colored typewriter, and all the years I have wanted one.
December was missing my cat—another month of ways to live this soft, small-and-always, goneness.
Where there was something and suddenly isn’t,
an absence shouts, celebrates, leaves a space.
I begin again with the smallest numbers.
December was three precious days with a friend who knows like the best kind of friend, that good conversation is art, craft, and architecture all at once. (And space. Absolutely also space.) What did we talk about? We talked about mansplainers and whitesplainers, about anti-vaxxers and monsters and messiness, about Amazon and Meta and Shell, and about families bestowed, chosen, and in between. And of course, we ate. We ate soft clouds of tortellini stuffed with soft clods of potato. We ate barberry rice with saffron chicken. We ate the seeds of pomegranates. We ate bistecca fiorentina (come deve essere), and bakhlava and blue cheese. (We ate a trilogy of blue cheese.)
December was being told something about someone who has not deigned to speak to me in over three years. December was another month in this long lesson I’m learning.
December was our first time getting tested for Covid. (I didn’t write it that way, initially. Only afterwards it occurred to me, that it might have been—might become some day—“our first time.”)
December was also the solstice. December was a day or two then, with Bernadette Mayer and her Midwinter Day.
I know backwards the grief of life like chance...
December was re-reading George Abraham in The Paris Review—the shape of thin air, the blood on our hands and in our minds, the streets heavy with a language both new and familiar.
December was sitting down to dinner and discovering that this was the year (every year for the last few years I have been wondering if this would be that year...), in which Didion would go.
You sit down to dinner and life as you know it...
December was more of me trying to understand and make space for this self I am—and am becoming. For how long this is taking. Will likely take.
Everything goes. I am working very hard at not thinking about how everything goes.
December was all of Florence saying silently and not-so-silently, in this seven-hundredth year since the death of Dante, in the papers and in posters and in blue-purple lights across the start of Via Serragli, e quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle.
It is easy to see the beginnings of things, and harder to see the ends.
[Santo Spirito, Firenze]
[martedì 04 gennaio 2022 ore 19:35:00] [¶]