Hopelessly lost, circling the block for a second time, I’m struck by envy of those who walk into gelato stores and order whatever they desire. I’m hungry and tempted, but notice a tiny sign at the bottom of a store window: “Vegano.” My Italian language skills are essentially nil, but that does mean no dairy…doesn’t it?
I enter the small shop, look longingly at the display case filled with bright pink, green and yellow choices, and with full confidence say: “Vegano, per favore.”
The slight woman behind the counter tilts her head and stares back at me. “Vegano,” I repeat, thinking maybe a second attempt will help, or perhaps my accent will improve.
She looks confused.
I beckon with my finger and motion to the door. Obligingly, the woman follows me outside and I point toward the sign. No sign of comprehension shows on her face, but she heads back into the store while I follow meekly behind. A discussion I cannot comprehend occurs between the clerk and her co-worker. Then, quite simply, the woman nods and announces: “Frutto.” She points to the sorbets with fruit: Lampone, Limone, Fragola. Thrilled, I carefully study my options.
She scoops it into a cup and helps me select the appropriate coins. For the first time, we smile.
“Grazie,” I say, exiting the store with sorbetto in hand. Still recognizing the Colosseum off in the distance, life looks more enticing and I care less about finding my way back to the hotel.