Trains move in all directions, but only one leaves the way we’re going. A man next to us finishes his day with a pint and a smoke by the tracks. It’s just another Monday. His eyes are on vacation.
This is not our town. This is not our Monday. This is one day in a string of many that seem far too few. We search for numbers and count cars because we don’t understand the sounds coming out of the speakers. The sun sets in blinks between cars. When the last light shutters, we hope we’ve caught the right car.
It’s always colder when we’re lost. We enter a tunnel filled with lines, but none of them direct us where we need to go.
Snow frosts the rooftops of miniature houses in our view from above. We’ve made a fatal error. We should be inside, holed up with warm cups of something, under a blanket, our feet warmed by the fire instead of freezing inside our damp shoes.
A table too small for two pushes us closer than we’ve been all day. One candle is all that’s wanted to illuminate the dim corner. We cannot handle any more light shed on ourselves. We mix la fée verte into glasses and hope for better dreams tonight.
When the sun can’t warm us, beer does. We look at other people’s somethings and wish they were our own, but we are nomads. We can barely carry our baggage (invisible as it is) on top of the small packs on our back.
Before our first cappuccinos have electrified the atoms within us, a silver blur leaves us at our connection. Were we late or was it early? Blame is chewed over stale croissants and passed with the whoosh of each train that isn’t ours. A couple offers to help us, patronizing us with their wisdom and happiness. We say we’re fine and walk to another bench and hope the next train will take us somewhere better.
Between buses, things go according to a plan we did not plan. Smoke rises from behind the trees in the distance warning of looming disaster, but we lie in the grass collecting sticks, building imaginary futures where grass carpets the ground we walk on and flowers are our window to the world. For two hours we are not where we were or where we are going, we just are.
Clouds cloud our judgement. Our human forms fail us in the shadow his work, who celebrated humanity. Tired and sore, wine and tears are spilled onto steps facing a masterpiece we don’t see. The sun sets over a city of rich colors. Before it’s gone, we catch a glimpse.
With no sun to fear under a blue suede sky, gelato drips inexplicably through our fingers. Hours fit into mere minutes in this square which once bustled with sparks of revolt. Now it is hushed by children’s laughter and a dribbling fountain. We enter the doors with the sound of bells, walking soft-footed past grey columns, silent sentries to the altar. As we stand wordless in the cenacolo, a fresco disappears one speck of paint at a time.
We dreamt of open space in March, sleeping on wooden boards in train compartments, whose open windows did nothing to clear the stale air, as life lay cloistered under damp soil.
In April we stretch our legs, angled for so long at ninety degrees. Rainbow light shines through a prism constructed of sleepless nights and lunchtime sangria illuminating spring sprung from the ground. The greener parts of our souls shoot up from the depths and we can breath again.
NOTE: This was an exercise for the purpose of a fictional story. I enjoy collecting and curating thoughts for a story before writing. I generally do this slowly over large amounts of time, but since I already had a loose idea for the story and photographs that fit the setting in which to collect from, I decided to give this a whirl. These vignettes are not meant to be complete here, it was more to tool and retool ideas and images for the story. They’ll likely be tooled and retooled many times over before I’m finished so this is just a sketchy start.