The stranger

31 DAYS – a writing challenge – ninth day

penelope       After a few cloudy days, when I could only go strolling or on terraces, the sun begun once again to send his sunbeams onto the adriatic shore, making the water shine with diamond glows. I was for a quarter of an hour on the cliff, watching the boats smoothly sliding on the Mediterranean arm. A few yards on my left, the fisherman nets were competing with the seagulls in catching the fish. Below me, the waves were smashed by the granite blocks I was sitting on or they would voluptuously conquer the private beaches that stretched far onto horizon until Ancona, lined with hotels. In front of them, hundreds of umbrellas were hiding tourists’ sunburnt bodies or wet bodies, glistening of salty sea water or sunscreen. Some children were using their inflatable mattresses as boats, racing until buoys, pushing each other into water and laughing, more swimming beside them than floating on them. My looks were lost into the vastness of the horizon, there, where sometimes, the harmonious fusion between sky hues and sea shades makes you wonder where one ends and where begins the other; in that blue that invades your being with salty taste of sea breeze, enveloping you in its serene.

 lucertola      My contemplation was interrupted by a movement catched with my peripheral vision. On the rock of my right side, a little further, ten inches of green were crawling towards me with undecided little steps, unworthy of his T-Rex ancestor. A tiny lizard on who’s private territory I probably breached, was looking at me with bulging, unfriendly eyes. He hesitated between continuing the journey towards me or switching the direction, just as I hesitate between snapping a pic or scare him away by sprinkle my juice on him. Finally, the lizard decided for both, turning in the right direction. I couldn’t snap but the profile, which pleased me later when I noticed he was able to jump the 4 or 5 inches distance between the rocks. I wouldn’t had liked it if he would had jumped towards me.

185311_207966169254319_5608734_n       I took off my shades and put them together with my mobile phone into my beach bag, from where I took out my book. I promised myself to read that summer at least the three books I’ve taken with me from home, but I was on vacation for a month and my readings were limited to a few novels in ebook format, read on my iPhone. On the book’s spine were printed with golden letters the number 81, the book title and the name of the 100 books collection from which belonged. Those were insignificant details. I wasn’t reading them chronologically anyway. I easily pulled out the bookmark and start reading. I was immersed into reading, hearing somewhere far, at the edge between real and unreal, the whispers of the sea and passers’ that were inhaling aerosols while walking on foot, rollerblading or biking on the track behind me. I was feeling the sunbeams burning my shoulders and my neck. Maybe should have been wiser to wear a sun hat, even in spite of feeling the wind tangling thru my hair. But those were subsidiary thoughts that a captivating reading banished as they never even existed.

270690_200741993310070_299558_n       I think I read about 20 minutes, when I heard footsteps approaching and someone asking me in Dante’s tongue if they can offer me a bookmark. I relate the approach with the one of the pastors dressed in civilian clothes that stopped me on the street last year and also a week before, to give me religious leaflets or books. As I wasn’t in the mood for another debate about the mundane and fleeting, I reached out after the precious gift, murmuring an almost convincing “yes, thanks”. I grabbed it by a corner with two fingers, sketching a smile and returning to my book. I haven’t seen too clearly whom did I smiled too, as the sun blinded me while turning my head and I couldn’t notice but the shape of a masculine silhouette that I was already hear departing. I smiled involuntarily. I was wondering if he was still looking at me from somewhere, maybe from the sun he seemed descended, or even from a more terrestrial spot. Until I was brave enough to turn and look, there was no one on the promenade that I wished it was him. I looked around. Only couples, families with young children that played with little buckets and shovels, building sand castles, two teenage girls that were burying their friend in the sand, a guy who was going for a swim…

       When he passed in front of me, our eyes met and I could swear that both our hearts skipped a beat, although I didn’t manage to guess any recognition in his dark eyes, shaded by black, thick eyelashes. I never had a weakness for men with long hair, on the contrary, I always developed passions for those with short haircuts, but this one had something primordial in the way he passed his hand thru his curly, shoulder long hair, as obscure as any sin. It didn’t even matter anymore if he was the one who gave me the bookmark or not. We smiled at the same time, like two strangers that felt one into another the same vibe, synonymous to life, and lived, as many others before them, the eternity in one second. I watched him getting closer to the sea with slow steps, as the one who knows is being watched and admired, losing himself into waves, cooling his body which seemed to be the pattern by which Buonarroti carved David. Once again I put my sunglasses on, like there was no one worthy enough to be seen with the same naked eyes.

Vincent       From the book pages slipped beside me my new bookmark, which was actually a postcard. On its front was a bas-relief that outlined different shapes hidden under a sheet in various artistic positions. At the bottom was written Vincent – Photography. He could have noted his phone number on the back, just for the sake of art, but it was only the address: Galleria personale di Andrea Pucci, via Canaletto, numero 13. Was that a personal invitation, made by the artist himself, it the most fervent Italian style? I let the answer dwell in possibilities. Sometimes, the uncertainty gives more magic to a moment than the confirmation of the most fanciful assumptions would. So I didn’t even passed by his gallery, spying to find if the artist is ugly or handsome, as my cousin suggested after I told her the story, nor did I came to tan exactly in the same place until the end of my holiday, hoping to repeat the unrepeatable. I did exactly the contrary of what I was advised. I’ve absented at the meeting with destiny.

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