Thanks to my Scrabble partner I find out that this is a kind of rough basaltic lava. It's also a great way to get rid of superfluous vowels and fit words into tight corners of the board.
It's a small cozy café with pizza, lasagna, salads and soups, and only a handful of tables. What makes the place itself special is one of the people who works there. He flirts and jokes, and in the middle of our meal walks up to us and shares a tale about a carpenter who reunites a pair of estranged brothers by building a bridge over the river that separates their properties.
I'm heading down the street on wobbly legs. Clearly I need to lie down. But first, a stop at the library.
Recently this stretch of sidewalk had a leafy golden roof, grand and bright like a corridor in an Oriental palace. Now it looks gutted, the leaves gone and the branches like brittle kindling.
As I approach the river the wind rakes through me, and even the buildings shiver.
I bring Fantasia with me and watch them laugh at the dancing hippos and the fairies spreading rime and dewdrops on pliant leaves.
With every phone call I feel a spike of tension. I don't know what the news will be on the other end. I can only pray for the best.