I am walking down a dusty road with Laura, my niece. It’s only 9am but the sun heat stings like crazy. A black T-shirt is a questionable choice but laundry day is a merciless one. We walk and chat. The road puffs dust at us as we make our way downtown. We talk about school, about people we both know and her plans for the future. We walk by beer gardens that buzz with voices. Whiffs of yeast are bumping into our nostrils like tiny flies. It’s a beer garden alright.
They’re melon farmers from the southern part of Romania. Summers are dry and hot there, plus there’s open endless fields. Perfect for growing melons. And they do. Come mid-summer, the farmers turn into sellers. They travel to a city or town in a different part of Romania, they find a spot where they set camp for the summer, whether in a farmer’s market or in a certain neighborhood, and there is no going back until all the melons are sold.
“There’s a baby lizard! A lizard! Mom, they hatched!” There’s screaming traveling up to my room like thunder. Loud, that is, only a kinder version of loud. So I oblige and I run downstairs bumping into my niece Maria, who’s smiling the biggest smile ever. Sasha is shaking with excitement and his little hands rake through the dirt in the container the kids set up for the baby lizards. A plastic container filled with dirt where four lizard eggs were placed two weeks ago with huge hopes that baby lizards will come out.