How to Wait


I am beyond delighted to introduce this guest post. After Nicolas's misadventures waiting on our stoop when he was locked out, he asked if he might write a post for me, about the experience. I was thrilled. Even more thrilled to find it in my email inbox last night. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you—How to Wait.

How did it begin?

Well, my pre-lesson tactic is normally to waste my time until about 30 seconds before I have to go, in which I gather up my music, find my shoes, fumble with my zipper, and get out the door. So in this hectic getting out, it's really no wonder that I'd forget the keys that my parents told me to bring five times already.

So, I forget the keys. I walk out with that nagging "you forgot something," in the corner of my mind, but I steel myself and continue onward.

I arrive at my piano lesson and everything goes as usual until about 10 minutes before the end. At that point, the nagging suspicion has turned into full-blown knowledge that something is missing. But what? About 5 minutes until the end, I realize. My keys! Of course! I must have smacked myself a little too obviously because my friend, sitting next to me, asks in slow English "What is it?" I manage to get out in ragged Italian that I forgot the keys to my house. He looks surprised, and immediately starts to think about how we could remedy the situation. He asks if I know my parents' phone number; I think, 'No, but their number is in my backpack, but that's at home, so…'. I say, "no." He thinks a little bit longer, but there's really no way to fix the situation. He starts to look disappointed, so I reassure him with the fact that I'll buy some chocolate, and I'll be fine, because everything's OK with chocolate. After the lesson, I make sure to fulfill my promise with two packs of peanut M&Ms (one pack if a family member is reading this). I amble up the hill; after all, I've got nothing but time.

I reach the steps of our house. No lights seem to be on, and I begin to feel dejected. I halfheartedly ring the buzzer. No answer. I try again. No answer. By this time, I only have one pack of M&Ms left. I make a mental note to go slower on this one. I sit on the stoop for a while before hesitantly ringing the buzzer of our downstairs neighbor. Silence responds. One more time; still nothing. By now the sky looks as if a bottle of ink spilled on it, staining the blue with swirling darkness. After a little bit more sitting, I see one of the nice old ladies who live in the alley near us. She's coming up the hill, two black and white cats following at her heels. As she gets close to me, we greet and talk a bit, about school, about cats… wait. What are you doing out here? she asks. I say the phrase that will become my mantra for the rest of the evening: My parents are out and I don't have the keys to get back in. She nods gravely, and then realizes that I'm wearing a short sleeved shirt. She says, as will so many others, "Senti freddo?" or "Aren't you cold?" I tell her no, it's not that bad, don't worry. She understands, and after emptying her trash into the trash container, begins to walk back down the hill. One of the cats, the one named Veronica, stays for another minute to keep me company. After about a minute, she trots back to her home, and I'm left alone. Just me and my chocolate wrappers.

After a few more minutes and more hopeless doorbell-ringing, a few of the elderly ladies see me. The one who already met me has explained my situation to them. They conference with each other for a few moments, before stepping up to me, one by one, and offering their ideas. I get asked whether I wanted to come stay in their houses multiple times, to which I reply, "No, they'll be back soon…thank you, though." They look disappointed that they can't help, and talk among themselves some more. After a minute or so, one comes out of her house carrying a jacket. She offers it to me (although it's not so much an offer as an instruction to take it), and I take it, thanking her profusely. She smiles and tells me to just come by her house when my parents return.

The next 15 or so minutes will be cut out of this entry because they consist of me sitting on the stoop, huddled up against the cold.

After that oh-so-engrossing chunk of time, I walk up to the parking lot to check if anyone is there. My family isn't, but instead I see one of the aforementioned ladies and a new one, who gives me a quizzical look as if to say, "ONE jacket? Not enough! What is that child thinking?" The other one explains my situation, and the woman responds, in shock, "Well, come to my house!" I declined, saying that it was very kind but my parents would be back soon. As I walked down, I hear the lady from before telling the other, "He told that to us a half hour ago!" True.

After a few more minutes of waiting, I see Siena and Gabe running down from the parking lot. I give them a hasty greeting and run down to return the jacket to the lady. After that, I am let into the house by my parents who aren't too pleased with my key-forgetting.

But really, it was all their fault.

Nicolas is a fourteen year old American living in Italy for a year. In his free time he enjoys music (Green Day and Fall Out Boy), computer games, talking about philosophy and politics, eating candy, drawing, creating games, writing, freaking out anyone who will listen with his tales of zombies and viruses, and making puns. His extra-curricular activities include playing piano, casual soccer, and shocking old Italian ladies by wearing hoodies in 65 degree weather. He loves his relaxed life in Spello, and is getting used to being the least articulate person in the room.