In the shade of a rubbish bin, a rubbish bin on the square in front of the impressively ugly Duomo, the cathedral with its liquorice-all-sorts striped bell-tower, in the shade of a rubbish bin, a pigeon stands motionless, head bowed, eyes clouded. Guido walks on. I stop. I bend towards the pigeon. It doesn’t react.
[…] In the middle of the square, in the middle of my Tuscan holiday, in the middle of throngs of tourists moving determinedly from one imposing piece of Etruscan heritage to the other by way of any available piece of shadow to avoid the scorching Italian sun they’ve saved all year to savour …… in the middle of all this, and my pleasure in it, in life itself, I am irrationally overwhelmed with grief at the impending death of the pigeon.
I look around me. I realise I’m hoping a passer-by will turn out to be a vet. No problem, pas de problème madame, geen probleem mevrouw, no problemo signora. Interesting how problem is international.
[…] Guido and I decide to go into the museum directly behind us. The pigeon moves its head slightly. It walks a tentative circle. Guido and I enter the museum. I look over my shoulder. The pigeon has gone. The bird has flown. I am as ridiculously happy now as I was sad before.
From A Pigeon in Siena by Lizzie Kean