To that point, I hadn’t had a proper iced coffee in over a week. In other words, the tension was mounting.
By the time we were in Sorrento, I thought I’d give it a try at the shop just off the lobby of our B&B. This gentleman, manning the counter, tried to understand my attempt to add an Italian accent to a thoroughly English request and laughed. “Cold? Cold?” he asked and I vigorously nodded. Yes, cold coffee, cold. Five minutes later, I was handed a small dixie cup sized espresso with an ice cube in it. No, that’s not it.
And this woman too. When I asked her for a plastic spoon for the Greek yogurts I had successfully procured from the market across the street, she smiled at me. She then immediately turned to assist another customer, leaving me standing there holding a bag full of yogurts and a two ounce cup of lukewarm espresso.
The second day didn’t go much better.
By the third day, both smiled vigorously as I entered, knowing that the language gap would not deter another try. By this point, the cup size had increased to eight ounces and I was handed a small bag full of maybe fifteen gelato spoons.
We could not communicate with words, but the smiles and sincerity gave me a memory I’m sure will survive many others from that trip. As we rushed for the train to Naples, I stopped in, this time with camera. Without words or gestures from me, they propped themselves quickly into this pose and treated me to those smiles one last time.
I never got their names…