Gallipoli at midday couldn’t be more saturated with the incinerating sunshine of Puglia.
It fell heavily on my eyelids, overexposing on my eyes so that my visual surroundings – beige limestone rocks, azure hues from the skies to waters and the painted vessels in between – were enshrouded in a blinding haze.
I could feel it on my skin too, slowly eating away the epidermis, penetrating the membrane and boiling the blood within. Along with it, the air smothered vapours of seawater that precipitated, like a resting sheet of sandpaper – until it grazed my flesh whenever the breeze picked up, etching wrinkles on it over time.
The tangled fishnets: its weaves rustling between my calloused fingers, unfolding and straightening under my rehearsed touch. It’s a daily chore, mending my lifeline. But under the imposition of Gallipoli’s sea-facing citadel, I was reminded of the traditions I upheld; among the mouths nourished by fruits of my labour, I clung to my obligation of feeding fellow men.
Tourists strolled by and glanced – they couldn’t even begin to grasp the existence I led.
Or so how I, in fact the passing stranger, romanticised the perspective of a fisherman’s life.