Wednesday, 9 April 2008


Italy. Lemon-coloured stone fringed with the dreamy green of olive trees . Summer in the silken waters of Venice Blue and pink and honey and gold. Gondollas singing their way through the water. A girl with a chocolate gellato and wind in her hair crosses St. Mark's Square wreathed by a cloud of pigeons. She is walking towards the hotel, but turns left past that small bridge where the map seller sits. She goes towards that receding patch of sky where the gold of the stone sets the blue alight. Always beyond the next street corner and the next and the next... her sandals graze the pavement, her gelato almost gone. The patch of blue, chasing it, in that crowd of strangers. Of friends.

The names of the men she has kissed:
Antonio. Rolando. The nameless blond boy on the bridge across the Arno who she never saw again.

- The cold and the wind in the marshes where we stood and hugged. That was the first time I saw Mallards. We scattered them in the dark as we ran away in the dead of night. My illicit kiss in the marshes.
- San Gimignano. The day was wrapped in pink freshness. I could see from the centre of the city to the edges of the world. Marble arms at the centre, marble cloud at the rim. The bronze copy of David. I danced at dinner, in my red skirt with my red shoes with my red lips. I danced with Sam. I danced skyhigh. My parents watching, everyone in the room laughing and clapping.
- The run back to the hotel, through Florence. The waiter at the downstairs restaurant cheering Bravo! Bravo!
- The jasmine, the roses. The air. The moon through the old green wooden window when I stood at the end of the corridor waiting for all of you to finish getting dressed for dinner. I thought of Amy then, and knew she once loved this place.
This precise place. That precise painting on that precise wall and that moon.

Italy. I say it tiredly now. Like swansong, like a birthcry.

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