I was heading home, hot and tired but having gotten a lot done, I was not too displeased. I had even managed to sketch the little stone relief of the goat above the water spout at the bottom of the stairs which now only managed to drizzle water.
On Sunday mornings there would be brown bottles, broken jagged gems, littering the fountains slow growing puddle. The goat had his back to the viewer but was looking over his shoulder as if the sound of the sculptor’s chisel had taken him by surprise. To the lower right corner of the relief grew a clump of wild thyme, the scent of which always made me hungry unless late night revelers had pissed by it; then I would have to wait a few days to enjoy its perfume.
I had met Cecilia for drinks. I got a whisky which she always sort of disapproved of because of the hour, feeling for herself that Campari and soda was not really drinking. She had looked good, always shown to best effect when turned out in a simple dress.
From perspiration and a shirt collar which had grown too big, the shoulder strap of my bag cut into that place where neck meets shoulder. My hand held the paper bag but carefully as I thought about perhaps doing a mural on it which would now be scented with charcuterie and cherries.
Normally, my hands would be free, clasped behind my back as I walked but my book bag was full up with sketch pad, the first volume of Mandalbaum’s translation of Dante and the bottle of Corsican brandy I had been planning on giving to Cecilia to pass on to Ottorino.
"Paris Street" (Watercolour on paper)
by Wayne H. W Wolfson
The holidays were coming and I enjoyed the novelty of being the good son as there was no blood between us, the complete lack of expectation made it far easier for me. Good because I chose to be, a skin I could shed at anytime.
He had been sick with a flu which left him ten pounds lighter. She was the obedient daughter and would never tell him that he could not drink but anyone trying to expand the glass bottle marimba which had slowly been taking over the buffet would face her fury.
It was all right, I knew a little place next to a tobacconist in Rome where I could get him a new chess clock instead.
She would notice that I , among his closer friends did not disrespect her by trying to smuggle in contraband.
“You play nice.”
The phrase had an almost baby talk connotation which I hated but was one which she could murmur smoothly in English not sounding too bad when carried by her slightly husky voice. She also practiced saying no with her eyes so that she could at least lie to herself as she got ready to go out.
Tomorrow we would go to the concert together and I would kiss her neck as the lights went down.
I got home and through the living room window, saw a bird pecking at a bit of dirt below the geranium in the window box. He looked up at me and cocked his head to the side. It was just the two of us and for now, that too was all right.
- Wayne H. W Wolfson 2010
One of Bluepepper's most beloved contributors, Wayne H.W Wolfson is an American artist and poet who has just returned from his annual sabbatical in Paris. Click on the post-heading for more of Wayne's work and contact details.