by Melinda Gallo

Rainy Easter Sunday and sunny Easter Monday

It rained almost all day yesterday. So we didn't even venture out. Today is Pasquetta, which is Easter Monday. Everything is closed except a few bars and restaurants. I was hoping that the market or my favorite bakery would be open, but I walked around the entire area and everything was closed.

I had to go to La Standa grocery store along with everyone else living on this side of Florence. Every cash register was full, which is a change, because usually the lines are at least 20 people deep and there's only two open cash registers. Today, there were at least six cassiere (cashiers) and only five or so people per line.

I didn't get many groceries because I forgot to get a basket on the way in. Besides I was already hungry for lunch, which was surprising since it's actually an hour earlier.

For the first time a guy about my age spoke to me in line. He was Florentine and quite socievole (gregarious). He held my spot in line while I got something else I forgot. I would've let him go ahead of me, but he said, "Figurati...non c'č mica problema." (Don't worry about it...it's no problem.) I got back in line, thanked him and smiled back at him a few times.

We stood in line patiently without saying anything else to each other. I finally looked back since I had put all of my things on the counter. I saw that he had a lot of stuff, so I asked him, "Vuoi posare la tua roba qui?" (Do you want to put your things down here?) He smiled and thanked me. He wasn't cautious about speaking to me as some of the Italians can be at times. I think they go through an entire reasoning process. One, she doesn't look Italian. Two, she speaks it, but I don't know how much more she knows. Three, she's not from here and probably doesn't live here.

He told me that he works at a new locale (restaurant) around the corner and yesterday it was so busy that they ran out of pasta. He had to come to La Standa to get some, which was why his entire basket was filled with fresh pastas of all types.

He told me that yesterday was incredibly busy for a Sunday and even though it rained, people just kept coming in. "La poggia non ha fatto paura a nessuno." (The rain didn't scare anyone off.)

I believe he was actually trying to flirt with the cassiera (girl at the cash register) because while he talked to me, he'd be looking at her. But, I didn't care and was actually pleased because it was just nice to have an innocent conversation with someone in line for a change. Normally, only the foreign students go to this grocery store and no one talks to anyone else. Everyone seems so scared to let a word slip out of their mouths.

"Dov'č il tuo locale?" (Where's your restaurant?) I asked him as the cassiera passed my groceries over the barcode reader. I thought I'd help him out with the cassiera. Maybe she'd be interested to know and wouldn't ask him.

As I picked up my plastic bag, I thanked him again for holding my space in line and he said, "Auguri!" (Best wishes!). "Grazie...altrettanto." (Thanks...likewise!) I said.

I left with a smile, knowing that I'm not as invisible as I thought I was in this town.

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