Thursday, August 11, 2011

Magna Mater III

One morning, he woke up later than usual.  He felt unnaturally sluggish, and the summer sky was a uniform soggy gray – as if it would soon rain.   

He took a walk out to the Tiber Island, thinking he would get a light breakfast in Trastevere.  But a stiff breeze was blowing dust or pollutants up from the Tiber, so he turned back to the Ghetto and entered a little kosher bakery that he typically avoided with their pricy coffee and sweet breakfast confections.   

As he sat with his coffee at a café table, he moved aside a pink sports paper and picked up a Roman daily and began to scan the articles.   The headlines were splashed with scandal after scandal, most involving the misappropriation of municipal funds.  The main story was a lurid tale of the use of public money to finance a call girl operation in the Rome’s mayor’s office.  

Servi grew bored of the story, although reading such things helped him contextualize his Italian; much of the local Roman conversation was concerned with recounting these salacious tales; Servi skipped to the center of the paper, where for no apparent reason, or perhaps as the visual counterbalance to all the verbal descriptions of sex, were pictures of scantily clad or nearly naked women in large, black and white photographs.   

The monotony of their bodies, twisted in faux artful poses, bored Servi; the slick mass production of their parts and pieces, instead of rendering them appealing, whitewashed them to airbrushed sterility. 

They were the ideal counterpart to those poor women on the via Saleria; women for hire; women who men believed existed only to please men.   It was at this moment that Francesca walked into the café and in a few moments, came out again.  When she walked by Servi, she saw the open paper and the buxom woman with the sizable nipples spread out over the table: she looked at Servi and then the woman with bemused annoyance.   

Looking at him quizzically, Servi thought she may be wondering why the café was letting a homeless man occupy one of their precious tables.  Perhaps the incongruous line separating the emaciated, scruffy Servi and those well-fed, curvaceous beauties, was a dichotomy that intrigued her.   

She gazed at the paper again and then at Servi’s upturned face and then back at the paper before she began to walk imperturbably down the street.  Servi noted her long legs in the short micro skirt she was wearing; for a top, she sported a long men’s jacket, so on the retreat from Servi she looked entrancingly nude beneath the coat.  On the walk out with the little tray with two coffees and two brioches, Servi imagined she was returning to a bed where a naked man lay and wait to break his night’s fast.

No comments:

Post a Comment