Lime Green Luxuries and Salty Sunshine Soup

Summertime. The echoing glow of green consumes everything in its path, spreading the buttery balm of bright baby leaves across the palette of a pure blue sky. The air is freckled in a calypso of flight, tinged with the tittering of songbirds and of small playful voices thrilled to be alive. 

It’s a summer of that special species, the kind where the powers of good triumph the trickery of the bad, and the darkness of chaos seems to be trapped in a galaxy far, far away, crammed into a cell in the domesticating blackness of space.

And I’m nine. Or ten. Or twelve. Or possibly ageless, my designated identity lost to the labyrinthine allure of this sunshine-soaked land. 

I’m staying at my grandmother’s house in Wisconsin. 

It is a massive estate, grand in its breadth and width and height, a sort of modernized castle, and it breathes with billowing breath like a dragon full of sugared steam, each room ripe with sparks of curiosity, each room a living lung singing of Italy.

There’s always a weather front arriving to the door of my senses that smells like oregano, parmesan, and the starchy warmth of pasta, intermingled with the rosy aroma of my grandmother’s salmon-pink lipstick and her barely-there perfume. It mingles with the glossed oaken floorboards and the woolen sofas and swirls through the silken air like the Cheshire Cat on a cloud of smoke. 

The house is a mystery to me, it always will be. The darkness of the velvet sofa as it winks at me with scarlet whimsy, drawing me into its warm bosom; the outdoor patio and its electric heat, drinking in gallons of sunshine and feeding them into you through the ruddy soles of your feet; the sky-high ceiling where the heavens seem to hide, sunshine pouring through the skylights like an avalanche of gold. And the fruity dew of the basement where colonies of wine bottles live like uninterrupted kings, where the brooding housecat roams like a secret tiger through the winding halls. 

Each breath, light with the easiness of youth, smells like sleepy grapes and the honeyed halo of summertime nights. The air ripples with the laughter of my grandfather. He’s saying sentences to us in Italian and taking just one more sip.