I stood on the Ponte Santa Trinita, watching as the last rays of sunset reflected on the Arno. The sun seemed to set slowly, then all at once, plunging the cobblestone streets into the golden glow of the street lamps.
The river flowed slowly by, its gentle lapping drowned out by the cacophony of voices that rose in the air around me. Thousands of people crowded the streets, but I barely noticed. You’d been gone less than a month, and I missed you.
I had been in Florence less than a day, but I had already fallen in love, and all I could think about was how much I wanted to share this experience with you.
I wanted to return home to find you sitting on the couch as you always did, with a cigarette in one hand and a glass of vodka in the other. I would chatter away about the crumbling walls and bustling streets, the architecture and the character and the food and the gelato - oh my word, the gelato! - and you would smile the kind of smile that lit up your whole face. You’d nod along as you listened. You would laugh. You would tell me how glad you were that Robert and I take the time to travel, because you loved to travel so much.
Traveling will always make me think of you.
When I hear unfamiliar words and walk unfamiliar streets, I think of you.
When I settle in to my window seat and watch the world shrink beneath me, I think of you.
When I drive for hours over the open road, I think of you.
When I see a landscape so beautiful I know I’ll never be able to capture it in a single image, I think of you.
When I experience something new in a faraway place, I think of you.
When I come home eager to share the most incredible and hilariously terrible parts of my trip, I think of you.
Of course I think of you.
I will always think of you when I travel, because you taught me to love the far off and the unfamiliar, and I will always wish I could share my stories with you.
I love you, dad, and I miss you like crazy.