by Melinda Gallo

Monday morning

It's Monday morning and Florence is waking up. I stand at my window and look out at the city. The sky is a dark grey, but is getting lighter by the minute. The muddy water in the Arno is gently swirling around as it inches by and moves toward the Ponte Vecchio.

A bus filled with tourists and luggage stops in front of the statue on top of the pedestrian crosswalk. Two men load up cars with luggage and push them quickly along the street because the sidewalk is too narrow and bumpy alongside the Camera di Commercio.

The newly arrived visitors get out of the bus and walk single file down the sidewalk. They seem to still be in a slumber as they follow the person in front of them clutching their carry-on bags and buttoning up their jackets.

Cars zip by and motorini (scooters) pass cars on both sides. The motorini are determined to get ahead of everyone: cars, bici (bikes) and other motorini.

Almost all of the pedestrians are walking in the opposite direction of the cars. They are heading toward the Ponte Vecchio. Most of them look like tourists with cameras around their necks and backpacks dangling from one shoulder. And, they are generally in groups and are looking around them a lot.

A few people squeeze their motorini between the long line of motorini on both sides of the statue. There are lines for the motorini as well to define the parking area, but no one follows them. I'm always surprised that I don't see the motorini knocked down like dominoes because they are so tightly fitted into the parking area.

One Italian man in a tweed coat is carrying his briefcase in one hand and a plastic bag in the other. He zigzags through the parked cars in the piazza and walks toward the large blue garbage cans on the other side of the Camera di Commercio. He steps on the foot pedal to pop up the top lid and flings his plastic bag into it.

Another man walks his dog and positions it so it'll be easier to clean up after it with the plastic bag that he has put on his other hand like a glove.

Behind the clouds, the sun is shining. The sky has turned a light grey with white patches. The previsioni (weather forecast) said that it'd be sunny, and I'm filled with hope. However as far as I can see there will be clouds for a while.

I finish my coffee and sit down at my desk so I can begin my Monday. I could stand at my window all morning and watch the people who have already started their Mondays: it's fascinating to see what goes on below my apartment windows in my beloved city.

I peer out my window, but I can't see the people walking along the river from my desk, but I can look out at the Arno all day, and I do. Today it is a foggy emerald color and it keeps me company while I sit alone and begin working.

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