I bike up the road after dinner. Luna sits in her basket on the handlebars, her little face toward the wind as we ride out of the city center, away from the bright lights. The dull thud of a bass line murmurs at almost midnight. It gets louder as we ride toward the old walls of the city. It doesn’t make sense. I look around at the streets, looking for a car that reverberates with the noise, wondering if a car full of partiers is riding through, but there aren’t any. I look for teens with those portable speakers – another normal culprit for sudden bursts of music. The new version of carrying a boom box full of D batteries on your shoulder. Another man passes me in the bike lane. His gears clicking as he picks up speed and hums the tune of the song as it gets louder. I scan the rooftops looking for a terrace party, some source of this sound.
Then, we pass it – the doors to a secret garden that I’ve always hoped would open someday are swung wide. The music was blasting from within and echoing up through the buildings. People mingle outside the old archway smoking cigarettes. Lights flash green blue and purple through the trees. It’s another private party. Another place reserved for the “fancy” and I wonder how much different those people are, to the ones that first walked that garden hundreds of years ago. The music fades away as fast as it arrived, but I think of the poor Florentine parents anywhere in that neighborhood tonight. There won’t be any children asleep with a concert booming outside their windows.
I fly up the street towards the quiet, pass the last lights lighting the archway of Liberta, and the rush of the traffic fades away. I cross the bridge by my house and look down onto the little river chirping with crickets below. One of the women lies back on her blankets in the grass by the side of the water. She lights a cigarette and the end burns orange against the shadows. There are at least five people sleeping on the banks of the river under the stars tonight, all while stars dance in private gardens just down the road on a Thursday night.