As I am returning from the radio I see a group of people at Efisio’s bar. He notices me, gestures me with his hand to come in and says, “I offer you a drink, you look tired”

Luca is also there drinking his usual “caffè ristretto”.

“Is everything ready for your departure at dawn?”, I ask.

“More then ready. But then tomorrow, you’ll see me panicking at the last moment, and doublechecking everything for the millionth time”.

Luca is moving to another city to prepare a new theatrical play, and will be away for the next six months. For him this means many things: a new engagement and then the financial security for the next few months, which means so much for the precarious artists as “times are difficult”, a new home even if temporary one, new neighbors, the distance from the people he loves. I look at him with a bit of melancholy. He is a good looking man, black hair, even darker eyes. He often wears baggy pants and heavy sweaters, it is much like grunge style. He is preparing his cigarettes, rolling them next to the coffee cups, which he then takes out in front of the bar and smokes them there.

And he is also one of those people who would speak with old people listening to them carefully, laughing with them and making them feel important. In fact, he is like this with everyone. He colored my mornings making Efisio’s bar a theater, which Luca himself is so used to. He is a great actor, on and off the stage. I remember how I laughed to tears when he did the impersonations, he is very good at interpreting the Calabrian and the Sicilian accent. Oh, and the Sardinian as wel, especially when he wants to tease Efisio. He is a kind and polite person and I don’t know why, but lately I’m so glad when I meet people like that, as if they are the endangered species.

I get attached to people. And goodbyes are really hard for me. I’m a creature of habit and I need certainty in order to feel well, cared for and protected. People that I see every day even for a few minutes become these reference points, almost a refuge, a safe place.

Luca smiles at me and I hug him. He kisses me on the cheek (so he’s one of those people who don’t just kiss the air around one’s face) and says, “Have a good life in these six months, then we’ll tell each other what we have done in the meantime.”

“You, too, Luca”, I reply with the lump in my throat because I am a big ‘’weeper”, and being left alone without people, even temporarily, makes me suffer.

I open the door and look at the lights of the building. There are already the decorations that the tenants put on the doors. I’m a little bit sad. And I am convinced that for the next six months the building 54 is not going to be the same. Because when even a small thing changes, the whole picture changes shape. And even if everything looks the same, in reality nothing is as it was before.

Have a nice trip, Luca.