Home…July 20, 2010
I sit in the wooden lounge chair in the early morning hours, a hot mug (the French drink their coffee from a cereal bowl but I always feel like I’m going to spill half of it on myself) of café au lait warming my hands and my body. This mornings air is brisk – a welcome change from the constant heat of the last few weeks. Although the temperature promises to rise into the mid 30’s again today.
Soon the girls will awaken, always up with the sun, never letting us forget that we told them one winter morning when the sun rises around 7:30 am that they were not allowed to wake us until they see the sun. We forgot that the sun rises at 5:30am in the summer months. We’ve regretted that rule for a few summers now.
The guests will arrive shortly after expecting breakfast and conversation which we are happy to provide. Everything is ready on the stone tables in the garden overlooking the vines. The coffee is hot. My mother-in-law’s homemade apricot and cherry preserves await the hot bread and croissants that Raphael went to fetch from our favorite bakery in town.
This is my moment. The water, which flows from a Roman source deep beneath the earth, trickles over the tiny fall at the base of the garden wall. I never noticed its music before, covered by the daily noise of playing children and the rumble of the tractor as it makes its way up and down the fields.
I watch a lizard scurry along the wall and remember something one of our guests said in parting the other day. Clasping my hand and wishing me a good day, she said that I complete the place. Raphael said later that it was the highest compliment. It meant that without me, this place doesn’t work. I wonder though, if I, like Raphael’s mother, will ever feel that this is truly my home.
Raphael comes up behind me and runs his hands through my hair. As if reading my thoughts, he says, “Without you, I don’t work.” And I know that my home is with him.