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Today we walked across the street, up into the Parterre right before lunchtime, the crew was taking away the last wooden posts from the bar that had been set up in the center all summer. Now it was back to the dreary, washed-out building without the summer flare. Outside as we had walked in, the man that runs the fruit and veggie truck in the lot outside was already starting to pack up. We waved at him and shouted that we hoped we’d be out soon. We walked into the office and took a number, and although no one was there, I felt like we were going to have to wait, but as we turned to look at the computer screen, it beeped again, and we were already being sent to a desk.

A woman in a brightly colored blouse sat smiling at her desk as she saw Luna start to head her way. She had bright red lipstick to match and welcomed us with a boisterous buon giorno. Rami pulled out the strip of paper I was given yesterday at the Questura and rambled off the three certificates we needed.

“Ok yes, no problem, all of those are here,” she started in Italian as she scanned her computer (upgraded from five years ago – when the printers they had still made the chalkboard screeching sounds as they traveled back and forth above the paper), “the only thing is one is free, but the others…” she scrunched up her nose and looked at us apologetically, “are 16 euro each.”

Oh the poor thing, if she only knew that on the other side of the city, you didn’t even get an apology that there wasn’t enough seating.

We paid, she pet Luna, the printer was quiet as it shot out the documents right there, no problem, and we thanked everyone and walked out into the sunshine. I stood stunned as I held the papers. I need to bring Rami everywhere, I swear. He’s my good luck charm.

Out of the back of the fruit and veggy truck, the older, soft-spoken man who always wears a trenchcoat bagged our eggplants, the celery, the eight tomatoes, the ten potatoes – I can only guess he’s the fruit vendor’s father. Mohammed, the younger man that helped there too, started to pack our things into the bigger grocery bag we had brought. “Fagiolini? Beans?” Rami asks.

“No!” the man raises one finger in the air and shakes it over his shoulder and tsks. “All out, you’re too late!” he jokes as he helps another girl bundle her apples and peaches. No beans, but all the papers we needed in one go? I’ll take it.




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