I remember it as if it were yesterday. It was one of those November evenings when darkness falls early but you still have so much to work to do, and you already understand that the winter will be cold and long.
At the end of a day of work that had begun shortly after dawn, I climb into the passenger side of the van and tell my colleague that we are ready to go. He asks me if I retrieved the drill he forgot on the terrace. I don't even answer, just slide out of the van and head back to our worksite. I ring the intercom and the same voice that greeted me a few moments before asks who it is.
‘The carpenter,’ I answer. The door opens but I don't go up. My head is spinning slightly. The enormity, weight and meaning behind those two simple words I’d just said are shouting in my head.
I walk up the stairs like a robot, ask permission to take what we had forgotten, and get out. I don't even remember if I said goodbye. Still dizzy, I get back into the van and we drive off.
My heart feels swollen, ready to burst. My eyes as well. I have to rid myself of this tangle in my throat. And I know what my escape is.
I take the pencil is still tucked behind my ear and pick up the half-crumpled notepad that I’d left on the dashboard, I turn on the service light and in the thirteen minutes that separate me from the carpentry shop, ‘My Grandfather Was a Carpenter’ is born.
A week later, that short story won a national writing contest.
Two weeks later my grandfather, the carpenter, left us. Today, several years after that day, my grandfather continues to inspire me and live on in my stories and in my works as a third-generation carpenter.
This is the first story behind the The Limoncino.
There are others that must be told and will soon fill these pages.