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Daisy invited to play the Gofreddo Mamelli rhapsody at an old enoteca in a Tuscan town named Abbadia San Salvatore. We drive there in a Fiat, standard shift. Daisy decides to be adventuresome at the same time fearful of male Italian drivers. Nothing automatic about Daisy.
“Stay in the right lane,” I say dully. Most of the verbal support I can possibly lend to her she already knows. My own words bruise my soul.
“Yes, but I’m told there are lots of trucks that especially going uphill I have to pass.”
The A1. Italy’s autostrada del sole. Highway of the sun.
At first, her shifting is halting. Once we pass through Emilia Romagna, and after several drivers test her to her malediction, and then we enter Tuscany, her dexterity, and footwork are smooth, facile, flawless.Her mottled Oultre jeans, light green with designs of evergreens and hand- and foot-prints, cling to her muscular thighs. We have already passed several groups of bikers. “Not a woman among them,” she observes. I pat her right thigh as if to say, You will always be one." To my private, instant, fleeting joy, the feel of her smooth muscular thigh, the very smoothness of her young skin immediately beneath the fabric. Not of interest to young people.
Now, outside of our windows, driving past, is the Tuscan valley. Driving west of Siena and Poggibonsi, Monteriggioni, Montalcino then along the Orcia river which is dry today, only of stones, and the towns of S.Quirico d’Orcia, Castiglioni d’Orcia. Her every fiber, every pore is truly happy with what she is seeing. In addition to her own happiness, she is showing me this truly beautiful terrain for the last time. Beauty upon sadness. The hills of the Tuscan valley are low and rolling, multi-terraced with harvested vineyards that produce some of the world's finest wines. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth. These terraces—some deep green, some lighter shades of green, some dirt—are like hands partially placed one atop the other, and so the surface is uneven but not drastically so, distinguishing it from the mountains and deep valleys of Emilia Romagna. The beauty passing before our eyes is matched by Daisy's happiness at seeing it. Every pore, every thought, her entire history, her entire present is enraptured by the Tuscan landscape. “Will you look…look…” This land is tangible to the farmers who work it. It is only when we were walking adjacent to the newly sodded earth on the “10-minite walk” to the restaurant Dopolavoro that I was able to understand my position in relation to this stretch of earth: miniscule if anything at all, without memory.
“What will you remember of me?” I ask.
“The way you speak French. Those French phrases you learned during your first lessons. ‘Dans mon pupitre.’ ” Left-hand gesture toward her mons. “ ‘Prenez cette banane.’ ” I turn and look back out at the bright countryside. “Le soleil,” she finishes.
The sun. The sun shines on this beautiful land.

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