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You, a lady, are sitting on a bench, in front of a house, your back against the wall, and looking across the garden and beyond the valley, to the hills -  to your right, the sea in the far distance, the long bay, the island. The sun is still low, everything is bathed in a warm, comforting, polite light and it smells of trees, bushes, flowers, grasses and herbs.

And of the coffee, which you are holding in both hands. The old-fashioned big blue bowl reminds you of your childhood and your Italian neighbors, with whom you were allowed to drink a glass of spumante after the long, noisy Sunday lunches - nice and cold and sweet and exciting!

Now, there is silence, you are quiet, the birds are quiet, no cars, no airplanes, no tractor. The wind stirs the grass and the leaves of the nearby trees. You take a sip and the hot liquid spreads deliciously in your mouth, warming your throat and expanding into your belly like an inner cashmere blanket.

You breathe in as deeply as you can, calmly and slowly, a smile spreads across your face and you feel a pleasant euphoria flowing through your body.

If you were to take a sip of coffee now, it would be tantamount to a natural disaster! So you carefully place the bowl on the table, chin in your hands and observe.

Promptly, the hatch is pushed open and a woman climbs up into the cockpit. She has a towel wrapped around her, long dark hair messy from sleeping, she stretches, yawns, looks at the ocean and up at the sky. 

You recoil but she doesn't seem to see you. 

She therefore has no inhibitions, places her towel on the bench, folding down the ladder and stepping into the sea.

She swims with powerful strokes, then dives and you can actually see her bright body swimming under the azure sea surface, is this crazy, or what? 

She comes up, turns to brush her hair back and at that moment you suddenly realize: this is you!

She continues swimming parallel to the shore, leaving a perfectly straight line of small patches of foam behind her.

The water is so clear that you can see the seabed below her, the algae, rock formations and even larger fish and sea urchins.

Finally, she stops, turns on her back and lets herself be carried by the smooth water. 

Then, as she slowly swims back towards the boat, she suddenly raises her hand and waves. You see that a man has appeared in the cockpit, laughing and calling out to her.

He jumps into the sea and swims over to her. You don't recognize him.

You were supposed to start the day, you wanted to work in the garden, before it got too hot. But of course that‘s impossible now. Mesmerized, you stare at your coffee bowl, for heaven's sake, if someone would see you like this!


Then, suddenly, something happens - the weather in the mountains and on the sea can change in a flash – the water turns black, waves build up, the sailboat tears at the anchor line and its bow slaps into the water. 

You want to shout at them, say that they are too close to the shore - if the anchor doesn't hold it is a matter of minutes until the boat hits the rocks.

But now the two appear on deck, properly dressed in oilskins. He jumps to the helm, she runs to the front, opens the stowage for the anchor chain, the command piece for the winch in hand. A small black cloud at the stern shows that the engine has started, the anchor chain runs in, the boat aligns itself and he steers it out to the open sea. That was close! Now he hoists the main sail halfway, so the wind stabilizes the boat.

She has stayed in the bow basket, visibly enjoying the wild up and down, the spray splashing over her, beaming all over her face. When she finally saunters back to the cockpit, always holding onto the rail, you can see that she is used to rough seas.

You fall for it and whilst you look away he grabs your coffee cup and takes a sip, before you can do or say anything.

He clears his throat, touches his neck, coughs.

"Oh" he says, laughing "I think an insect flew into your coffee!”

By Claudio Hermani