Zane and I rent two rooms in the historic neighborhood of Palermo, in the home of Vera. Vera is a congenial older woman who boards lodgers to pay the mortgage. She owns a capacious home with a lovely garden. Zane and I have the run of the upstairs, but we are not entirely free. Vera likes studying English, and when I speak to Zane she is always lurking nearby, readjusting a frame on the wall or conspicuously watering a houseplant. Vera has good ears and not enough on her mind to keep it on her own business.