Thursday, March 15, 2012

A 50th Birthday Dinner in Florence

On the evening of my partner's birthday we decide to watch the sunset from the roof terrace of the hotel. There we are "eyeball to eyeball" with the bell tower a half block away. As the city begins to change from daylight to dark, the bells in the tower ring, it is 5:29. As the bells ring scores of bats emerge from the towers colonnaded top and circle around it lapping up the insects that nightfall brings. Apparently the Doumo has bats in it's belfry!

His birthday dinner is taken outdoors in the Plaza Republica. He demands that we ride the carousel in the plaza, something I consent to only because it is his birthday.

I have not been sleeping well during this trip. insomnia is an occasional problem for me. Between the wine and night air I feel that I may be able to sleep this night. He deposits me at the hotel then returns to the plaza to cap off his birthday celebration.

Sometime after midnight I hear my name being called from outside. I stumble to the window and look down at the street below. In the center of the street stands my partner. "I'm locked out" he shouts. "I'm down here with 5 other people and we are all locked out." In pajamas and bare feet, I do not wear or even own slippers, I go to the elevator and descend to the ground floor. There is a glass door to the street, a vestibule and a 2nd door which opens onto the hotel lobby. I open the lobby door. I hold it open with one bare foot, if it closes I will be in the same state as the 6 people outside, plant my other bare foot on the cold mosaic tile of the vestibule floor, stretch my arm out as far as I can and manage to unlock and push the street door open just enough for my partner to get a handle on it and open it all the way. He and the 5 other guests, they have just arrived from the airport, tumble into the lobby. One of the guests joins us in the elevator leaving the others behind in the lobby with the luggage. We return to our room. She is headed to the reception desk to wake up the night desk clerk. We never did discover what transpired between them, although I am fairly certain that she made his night as memorable as mine.

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