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Alice Giuffredi



February 16, 2015

Today is gonna be the day
That they’re gonna throw it back to you”

I’m sitting on the dark green bench that faces directly underneath our window. I look above my head and see the late-night Italian sky. It’s around eleven p.m. and the sky is pitch black, but the stars are shining bright tonight. The grass in the yard is covered by snow and so are the rooftops. It’s dark and cold outside; I can barely feel my hands as I draw on the snow with my fingers. I’m wearing blue-ripped jeans, my favorite oversized bordeaux hoodie with the words ‘California Surf’ printed on it, and some Timberlands I found around the house. I direct my sight towards our apartment and peep through the window, knowing what to expect whenever this song comes on. 

 Through the kitchen window, I can see Este and Giovanni washing the dishes. The kitchen is a rather small room with mustard-colored tiled walls and a wooden floor. Against the right wall, there is a washing machine, a sink, a few shelves and an oven. On the left side there is just enough space for two or three people. Este grabs a dish from the pile of dirty ones near the sink, passes a sponge over the plate, sinks it in water, and then hands it to Giovanni. Giovanni dries it with an old towel that used to be white and places it in the wooden shelf. As soon as they hear the music, they both freeze and give each other a smirk before walking towards the scarlet-red couch. The couch in the living room can fit a maximum of three people but we can usually somehow manage to fit five or six people on it.  The living room is a typical tyrolese room with wooden walls, a low ceiling and green or red furniture. Este grabs one of the two tacky green cushions and squeezes it to her chest while Giovanni sits next to her, leans back and stretches his wide arms. I lean forward on the bench to get a better view of the living room. I see Francesco in the hallway. He probably just came out of the shower because his dark curly hair is wet and he changed from his skiing outfit into a tank top and jeans. He moves the laundry basket out of the way with his foot and walks towards the couch. He pretends to jump on Giovanni, who flinches and then murmurs something underneath his breath. Francesco gives a loud laugh and puts his hand on Giovanni’s head and messes up his hair a little, in a brotherly way. 

I’m sitting down on the bench with one of my legs overlapping the other. I hear a noise and then feel someone’s touch on the back of my shoulder. I immediately stand up and turn around. As soon as I see Davide’s familiar face, I give a sigh of relief. He just came back from one of his ‘midnight walks’. He is standing near me with his hands in his pockets and an amused expression on his face. 

“You scared me!” I yell and hit him on the shoulder. He takes a step back and puts his hands in the air, teasing me by pretending that my push was so strong that he fell out of balance. He’s wearing black jeans, hiking shoes, and his dark-blue Stone Island jacket. The light from the stars and the moon reflect on the greenish-black shade of the bench and the snow covered pines that surround the house all add up and create a post-Christmas atmosphere. He smiles and says: “Come on, let’s go inside. It’s cold out here”. 

He walks towards the door, but then turns around when he realizes I’m not following him. He points towards the door and stomps his foot, trying to make me go inside. Then his voice gets really high and he starts calling me over like he would to a dog: “C’mon! C’mon Alice, come inside! Do you want a treat? Huh? C’mon!”  I arch my eyebrows and stick my tongue out before walking towards the the kitchen window. I slowly push the window open, careful not to break anything, and crawl inside the house. 

Once I’m inside, I make my way to the living room. Davide is already sitting on the wooden floor facing Este, Giovanni and Francesco. He is sitting with his legs crossed and his back arched forward. I enter and everyone grins at me. 

“Welcome back, Princess!” says Francesco while spreading his arms wide open.
 “You weren’t gonna miss our last time singing this song together until summer, were you?” teases Giovanni. He’s wearing his checked black-and-white pajama pants and his fuzzy slippers. Este smiles at me: “Just in time!”
I hesitate for a second, then I smile back and lean on the couch’s armrest, slouching. I let myself slip down onto Este and I just lie there with my head on her lap, waiting for the chorus. 

“Because maybeeeeee
You’re gonna be the one that saves meeee
And after all,
You’re my wonderwaaaaall” 

Our five voices, one more out of tune than the other, just fit together perfectly. Este shakes her head from left to right, swinging her ponytail in perfect sync with the music. Giovanni closes his eyes, stomps his foot in tune and and mouths the rhythm that the drums make. Francesco plays his air guitar and does a little dance. I pretend to have a microphone in hand and sing at the top of my lungs, at least until my eyes meet Davide’s. I’m captured by his stare. Instead of turning away, I look deeper into his familiar hazel eyes. His eyes are a deep brown near the pupil, then get softer and lighter shades of gold until they reach a sea-green color at the edge of the iris. His eyelashes aren’t particularly long, but they’re very thick. He’s looking at me with a curious expression: he isn’t either smiling or frowning, but I notice his jaw slightly clutching periodically. He’s squinting his eyes, as if he were looking for something inside mine. I look away, face the floor and bite my lip. 

It’s true what Este said to me before. There was something different about this year. There was something different about him.


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