Stolen Lemons

Francesca sits at her usual table. Her long brown hair hangs in waves over her right shoulder. She wears a dark olive green vest and black jeans. It is hot today. Her young bones show under her sallow skin. 

The red brick walls of Il Ruttin pizzeria are covered in old photos. It is quiet today. The tiled floor is drying after its daily clean. Lemons grow outside in the restaurant garden. They offer free limoncello after your meal. 

The table is round with ornate metal legs. It is old, well used but clean. Somebody has cared for this place. The top is heavily scratched from years of use. Francesca runs her hand across its surface. 

There is a large lemon in a bowl on the table. She picks it up and studies it. It has a coarse and pleasing texture. It is large and wrinkled. It smells good, so good that she buries her nose into its skin, inhaling deeply. It is citrus and fresh. Looking around to make sure no one is looking she puts the lemon into her bag. 

The door opens. Francesca turns quickly, fearing she is caught in her act of petty theft. But no one notices. It is just a couple of lost Americans looking for directions to Pompeii. They struggle with their few Italian words but Marco can’t help so they leave disappointed. 

Her margherita pizza arrives. She relishes every hot savoury-sweet bite then gets back to work. 

She will enjoy her lemon later. 


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