Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Cat in Florence

Chapter 11
[Go to beginning]
We didn’t talk much on the way back to the hotel after dinner. I was more than a little drunk, and Jenny was put out with me because, as she put it, I’d been “boorish.”
“And why is that,” I slurred.
“About the rabbit,” she said.
“What about it?”
“When I remarked that I thought it was overdone, you said something like, ‘You want it to hop up on the table so you can leap on it,’ or some smart ass remark like that.”
I tried to pet her head, but she pulled away.
When we got to our room Jenny curled up under the bed.
I used the bathroom, washed my face, and then went to the window and opened it to let in some fresh air. I stood looking down into the courtyard.
I turned, said I was going for a walk to clear my head, and started for the door. Jenny didn’t say anything.
I left the hotel and went back to the alley where I’d seen the woman that morning. It was a dark, narrow alley that led between tall buildings to the courtyard. I stood at the entrance to the courtyard and looked around. It was just a little past sunset and the pastel colors on the buildings; robin’s egg blue, pink, lavender, gold, took on a magical glow.
Lights were coming on in the windows, and as I looked around I noticed a woman silhouetted in a doorway about a hundred meters across the courtyard. I strained to make out if it was her; the woman I’d seen this morning. I couldn’t tell. So I walk across the courtyard towards her. She stood, leaning against the door frame, watching me approach.
When I was within a few meters I was able to make out her long, black hair, and see that her shoulders were bare. I couldn’t quite make out her features. I’m sure I was staring.
I heard her say, very softly, “Buona sera. Una bella serata, no?”
I stepped closer. I said, “Uh.”
She smiled, and I stood open-mouthed, in some sort of trance. She was even more beautiful than I remembered; large, brown eyes, set far apart, slightly slanted, a generous mouth defined by a full sensuous lower lip, high cheek bones.
“You are so beautiful,” I said, awestruck.
“Si,” she said, moving her head slightly, so that a ray of light moved across her face and flecks of gold glittered in her eyes.
She stood away from the stone door casing and reached her hand out to me. 

Her movements were slow and measured, her look vulpine.
I took her hand and she pulled me to her.
She took my face in her two hands and moved her face to mine, looking into my eyes the whole time. Her mouth on my mouth was warm and tasted of grapes, and blackberries, and... And tuna?

She drew me into her house.

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