Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Un Amor by Manolo Gonzalez

It was a glorious afternoon in Firenze when I first laid eyes on my beloved. She was holding an old wooden rosary in her porcelain hands as she walked out of Il Duomo, with bright red lipstick on her lips and nail polish to match. After my first masterpiece I had gravitated around the cathedral looking for new inspiration. Artistically speaking, this quiet Tuscan town was the ideal place for art and artists such as myself to flourish. The city once inhabited by Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci, masters of their craft, truly, would serve as nurturing mother to my art; an art that would have enchanted the world had I lived in the time when I could have the patronage of the Medicis.

She walked slowly, with purpose and yet with hostility down the twisting narrow passages of the city, as moist eyeliner made a zigzag down her round cheeks. I followed her to a yellowing derelict building on the Via Ghibellina, and stood watch outside what I guessed was her window from the cobbled streets below. Several men of no particular importance or significance, especially to my art, made their way in and out of the building in timed procession. Very musical, I thought, and gave the matter no more thought.

After about midnight, she left her abode and strolled down the streets with fresh tears in her eyes. Not letting such beauty pass up, I persuade the enchantress into a dim Spanish tavern, Salamanca, with wooden floors and blood red paint on the walls. Flamenco filled every corner of the room as I walked in and took a place next to her at the bar. After some persuasion and charm, of which I have an abundance, she granted me the honor of buying her a glass of the establishment’s sangria. Her bright red fingers circled the rim of the glass as she spoke; her neck bowed and twisted with every sip and clenched every time she encountered a piece of floating fruit. The sound of hidden despair rang in her voice and filtered through the room as I fixed my eyes solely upon hers. 4/4 time of the handclap began the Catalan rumba that would become our first dance as inamoratos.

The guitar strings pulsed as I held her fair hand in mine; the vocalista’s heartache vibrated in her eyes, as the bongos and guiro lead our steps in time. Over the sangria I had learned nothing from her; over the flamenco, I learned everything. Un Amor. Without the utterance of words, our hearts conversed, matching a joy that perhaps only the practice of my art could match. At the end of our dance, the slightest glimpse of a smile twisted her face exposing pearl-white incisors. Her sadness captivated me, and my joy beguiled her. She glanced at the crumbling clock on the wall and announced to me that she had to return home for a previous engagement.

I lead her back to her home on the Via Ghibellina that night, hearing her steps click to the beat of our shared flamenco. Before she went in for the night I caught another glimpse of her pearl-white incisors pronouncing the resolution that we should rendezvous again soon. She went inside and I took up my spot under the gas lamp which limply lit the pathway, and watched at her window. A small man wearing a waistcoat much too small for his bulging stomach entered the palazzo some time after she did, which made me ponder if perhaps he was her previous engagement. I then started to ponder who my next artistic subject would be.

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