Monday, October 19, 2009

Eleonora Duse

She watched over me that year.

It was a time in which I needed watching. I was only brave enough to love things from afar back then. I saw the beauty that surrounded me. It was there; a winged lion perched atop a fountain. It mingled with the breeze and danced across the terracotta roofs. It was the afternoon glimmer of fish scale cobblestones beneath my feet. But it was partitioned beyond my reach, an artist’s rendering in a museum.

True beauty waited for me to reanimate dust.

I remember her eyes exploring me from across the mercato. I’d go there to buy stamps and other staples. She was always in that same corner, quietly nestled amongst the singsong vowels and the laughter of the living. Sometimes I wondered if she waited for me.

Other times, I didn’t think of her at all.

I gathered with newfound friends in the agriturismo. We dined on rustic Italian fare and drank too much wine from chipped porcelain pitchers. Husbands met wives at those meals. Lifelong relationships were formed. A backdrop of mountains piercing the saffron sunset casts such spells.

I’m sure that she was there even then, probably at a small wooden table across the room. She belonged there after all, and her knowing gaze surely fell upon me.

I suppose my quietest nights were hidden from her. I’d sneak away to the upstairs balcony and listen to Miles Davis on my headphones. Lights were strung across the hills and mountains before me, and they mingled with the star-filled sky. I floated alone in the crisp air of this cosmos, a passenger on trumpet notes.

But in the mornings, she was waiting in the café. I’d drink my cappuccino and nibble a brioche, its delicate flakes collecting in my lap. We shared the comfortable silence of two old souls. And we watched as the man they called The Poet shuffled by in his three-piece suit. I always wondered what words he collected on his walks. Browning, Pound, and Papa Hemingway walked there once, and I imagined that their ghosts whispered to him.

I left without ever speaking to her. But I came to love the way she looked at me. I suppose it was her eyes. Something about their solitary pride and sadness seemed to understand me.

I’d like to get back to Asolo one day and take my wife. She’s the one who watches over me now. And by beginning where I leave off, she’s shown me a depth of beauty that I used to fear. Somehow, I think she and Eleonora Duse will get along famously for that.


  1. Great writing as usual I love the atmosphere you create.

    Kate x

  2. Hunter, what a romantic side of you, wow, just thought you mused like a ninja.

  3. unexplored feelings expressed so beautifully. makes me wonder what the unspoken words would be...great post.

  4. So, you're not over her yet, are you?

  5. Your muse, she is with you still. Carved her place within your heart and drives your writing with a romantic whimsical flair she does!

  6. That just screams Bella Venezia!

    Lived in Treviso for a few years and often headed to the island for an afternoon's wandering.. Delicious!

    When were you in Asolo??

  7. Hi, Kate. Thank you.

    Hi, Bob. Sometimes ninjas are romantic.

    Hi, Sarah. I sometimes wonder the same thing.

    Hi, Amber. Thank you kindly, ma'am.

    Hi, Bruce. Certainly not over that place.

    Hi, adrienzgirl. That's nice of you to say.

    Hi, Judearoo. Lived in Asolo in 1999/2000. Sounds like you know the place...

  8. Gosh, Hunter! I never knew that you had such a romantic side! That was so beautiful, I felt that I was in Italy with you! It was Venice where I was, in 2004, and it was so beautiful! The countryside is just amazing!

  9. YA, I did. Taught english in Treviso 2003 - 2006 ish.

    Were you studying there?

  10. That writing seemed like it was from a long long time ago "take my wife", How Romantic!

    Secretia (Secret Story Time)

  11. Aww, sweet and well written. Is this really a true story?

  12. Hi, Ally. Thank you. I appreciate that.

    Hi, Alice. Thanks. This wasn't far from Venice at all.

    Hi, Judearoo. I did my Master's in International Business there.

    Hi, Secretia. Yeah, I've been speaking with my wife about making our next big trip to Italy.

    Hi, S&C. Thank you. Yep, 100% true.

  13. that was really romantic in a happy sad enlightening way :)

  14. I had a similar relationship with a doorman while I lived abroad. We didn't speak the same language, but our nods and smiles of recognition said a lot. I learned that he was a gentleman who worked hard for little and that is always a winning combo.

    Great writing, Hunter. You've romanced me.

  15. Brilliant. Man there are a lot of good posts today.

  16. Such a great story in such a succinct package. So glad I paid you a visit.

  17. Hi, John. Thank you. I appreciate you giving it a read.

    Hi, Sass. Something about being in a foreign place, I suppose.

    Hi, Tennyson. Thanks. And I agree. I've seen some great stuff out there.

    Hi, Jenny. Thank you so much for stopping by.

    Hi, Leah. I'm really glad you enjoyed it.

  18. Well Hunter, I knew you had it in you. I don't use the word beautiful very often but I will for this. Beautiful.