With bellies full of gnocchi and red wine--relished in golden light on the stone terrace--we say our goodbyes and depart the farmhouse, somehow surprised by the hole of darkness filling the road back to our flat.
When we left the rental inside the walls of San Gimignano in Italy's Tuscan Valley bound for our host's compound 800 meters below, our thoughts were on dinner not how to get home in the dark. Now we stand side-by-side, hold hands, look wide-eyed into the abyss that is our path, and then at each other. Local tales and warnings of dangerous wild boar roaming the countryside swirl in a circle around our heads.
We gasp and flinch in unison at a noise in the brush to our right, then stiffen. I thread my arm through his and we lean in, resolved to our fate.
As we walk on this one-lane gravel road, in library voice, one of us sings, “Show me the way to go home." Then we both sing.
"I'm tired and I want to go to bed."
Another rustle to our left. Another unified shudder. We continue.
"Oh I had a little drink about an hour ago and it went right to my head."
We stumble on the next verse so begin again, finding comfort in the song.
"Show me the way to go home." One unsure foot in front of the other, the cloud-filtered moonlight our only guide, we forge on.
"We're tired and we want to go to bed."
And then ahead a tiny dot of light, and then another, and another.
"Do you see that?" we whisper at once. We both hold our breath staring into the night.
Another dot, and another and another until a light posse of fireflies lights our way home.