by Melinda Gallo

Firenze molto piccola

Even when I first arrived in Florence, I knew it was a small city. I'd see the same people in a day or meet someone who was already friends with someone else I knew. Nothing really surprises me any more when it comes to meeting or seeing people. Ever since we moved into our apartment, I've had an inkling that I knew the man who lives on the first floor of my building. Today, I finally talked with him and found out that I had worked for him back in 1999 when I was living in Florence the first time.

My building is rather small and there are only four apartments, so I know the names of the people who get mail because I'm usually the one who sorts it. I thought I recognized my neighbor's name, but didn't know how I would know it. I saw him a few times and had a feeling that we already met or that I had seen him somewhere before even though we always used the Lei (formal you) with each other.

I kept telling Alessandro that I know our neighbor from somewhere, but he thought that I just saw him around town and recognized him, which has happened as well before. I finally pieced it all together only a few months ago when my padrone di casa (landlord) told me where my neighbor worked. I hadn't asked her about him, but she mentioned it in passing.

Today we arrived at the front door together. "Penso di aver lavorato per te nel 1999. (I think I worked for you in 1999.)" I said. He smiled at me and studied my face from over his sunglasses. I explained the project I worked on and who I worked with and he said, "S, vero! (Yes, that's true!)"

I was surprised that he wasn't more shocked about it because I'm honestly surprised at the coincidence that the one man I worked for in Florence is my downstairs neighbor. We chatted briefly about what had gone on since then while we walked up one flight of stairs. I left him at his door and he said, "Ciao Melinda!" as if we had always addressed each other by name. I immediately called Alessandro to tell him that I finally confirmed my theory with our neighbor, but all he said was, "Firenze molto piccola. (Florence is very small.)"

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