September. The air is well-supplied, redolent at dusk of ripe, ruby-fleshed figs -- and often after rain, of matured brie and cider. But the flats of rain have stopped, and for a few days now. A godsend. I ran out of shoes that weren't soaked.
The dusted-up, off-white trams are a contrast to young men's and women's tanned arms and faces, the remnants of a sea tan, the hue of unrefined cane sugar. I wonder if they can still feel the swell of sea waves, cool and constant, around their ankles, and how their lips must have tasted of salt after a swim.
Day by day the light changes. There is a new intense quality to it that completes the summer's expiration. It's done, gone, but I reject, still, the idea of a coat. I'm being stubborn, might pay for it with a cold later.
"How do you find my new lipstick?", I ask Anthony as I make myself up in front of the bathroom mirror. I talk loudly -- he's in another room and the TV is on.
"I like it. Looks natural."
I lean forward to consider my lips closer in the mirror, turn my head right, left, then wipe a little from the corners.
It's almost dusk outside, a crisp evening, the atmospheric version of a cotton shirt freshly starched. We have dinner in town. It's our wedding anniversary -- three years. The restaurant is filled with joyous clatter of plates and cutlery, and recurring pops of corks. I feel curious, order the only Hungarian on the wine list, red. Could we have it by the glass, I wonder. Yes, that can be arranged. The full bottle appears on the table. No obligation to finish it, but it is a very good wine, sophisticated and masculine, and eventually we do. The fried fresh parsley, crisp, earthy, that comes with the venison, our main, is an expected surprise, it steals the show. It's a long dinner, there is comfort in eating in silence.
The wine has made my head spin. We skip the dessert and after cheese order coffee. It comes with bonbons made with particularly peaty Scotch, another surprise for the palette. On the calendar it's already another day and my alarm clock will go off at five in the morning. But why hurry a celebration?
Tomorrow I'll have a simple dinner alone: paella rice cooked together with caramelized onions and sautéed mushrooms, and two, three, possibly more ripest figs, the last of the season, for dessert. I'll eat them out on the balcony while watching the skyline catch fire at sunset, and until the rain returns. September.