Waiting for Russo

by Rebecca Bricker on September 8, 2012

For five days I’ve been waiting for Russo – and today he finally arrived.

I went out to the garden, to relax after a day of unpacking. He came toward me, slinking along the garden wall, and eyed me for a minute.

“Hello,” I said. “I’ve been waiting for you.”

He stretched out under the stendino, the drying rack, where my bras dangled above him.

On the night I arrived in Florence – to begin a new adventure here – my landlady told me about Russo.

“He’s the king of the cats of this area,” she explained. “Be careful not to leave the garden door open when you go out. He will come inside and hide under your bed.”


A red rascal named Russo hiding under my bed? How delightfully scandalous, I thought.

My new digs are part of what was once a 17th-century convent. The private walled garden has statuary niches – one decorated with seashells. Nuns took contemplative walks through this garden, now subdivided, enjoyed by the lucky few on this narrow street in the ancient heart of Florence.

A small statue of a lion is perched on the garden wall, next to the satellite dish for my TV. Russo tolerated my camera for a few poses, then scaled the wall with an impressive leap and pranced across the plexiglass overhang above the patio doors. He paused, unfazed by the stone version of his alter ego, then disappeared into the branches of a fig tree that arches over the wall.

Since my first morning here, I’ve looked longingly at those figs, feeling the temptation and frustration of Eve. The ripening fruit is beyond my reach. Actually, the fruit isn’t ripening slowly in the late summer sun. It’s exploding. The skins rupture, exposing the red juicy center. The Italian word for “fig” – fico – is a close cousin to fica, the Italian word for the fruit of a woman’s private garden. (You get the idea.)

I can’t help but see the irony in this, as I write this allegorical tale under a rupturing fig tree in a nun’s garden…with a red-rascal-of-a-cat named Russo on the prowl.

The fun begins!





nora September 11, 2012 at 8:39 am

Did you hear that loud roar of approval from your friends and followers? You’re back and we’re glad. You offer an irresistable escape from politics, muggy heat, and routine. Write, Becky. Write.

Rebecca Bricker September 12, 2012 at 12:58 am

Grazie, bella!:)

Naomi September 11, 2012 at 10:44 am

Hi, Rebecca! How nice to hear that you have returned to Florence! I was just thinking about you and that it had been a long time since we’d talked. Well…now I guess I’ll just have to finally get to Italy to see you. Hurray! Be well and enjoy your newest adventure. With love…Naomi

Rebecca Bricker September 12, 2012 at 12:57 am

Thanks, Naomi. Hope all is well. Let me know when you’re heading this way.

Lorie September 11, 2012 at 10:45 am

Wish I could click “Like” on Nora’s comments. Already love reading about your new adventure. Added your blog information on our expatwoman forum and have received positive comments. The women of Dubai will be coming your way!

Rebecca Bricker September 12, 2012 at 12:55 am

The garden awaits you, Lorie. :)

Denise September 11, 2012 at 6:38 pm

What a face! ‘LOVE him. Tell us more…ah, those nun grotto niches…yes….’Can’t wait to hear more….xoxo

Rebecca Bricker September 12, 2012 at 12:56 am

He appeared at my door two nights ago, purring to get in. 😉

Caroline OConnell September 12, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Ciao Rebecca,
Love the story about Russo…he would look good in a photo with my new Minuit (aka Midnight) who is, of course, all black. Your new apartment sounds fantastic — love the photos! Looking forward to hearing more about how you like that great location in the heart of the city.

P.S. Just had a thought. If you feel like coming up to Frankfurt to check out the Book Fair, you’re welcome to crash with me.

Thom Parrott-Sheffer September 14, 2012 at 9:06 am

Looks like my previous comments have been lost – anyway, just wanted to thank you for a great new story and tell you how much I am looking forward to more Italian adventures and other stories. Keep on sharing, Becky!

Pat September 24, 2012 at 6:11 am

So glad you are back to the Old World. Have been anxiously awaiting more of your tales!!!

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