Italian Autumn | Short Story

There is nothing worse than sadness on a beautiful day.

Her hands were overflowing with worry, the poor genovesi and liquor coffee at the mercy of her shaky, anxious grip. To travel so far, to sit outside the forno she had spent thousands to get to and barely mutter a word, to be cast in an amber morning sunlight that swallowed the shadows of the cobblestone pavement, to hear laughter and see laughter and yet not feel laughter was truly, utterly criminal. So, no, in fact–sadness on a beautiful day was much worse if you had bankrupted your soul and mind just to get to it.

There was no running from a feeling that had not escaped you since adolescence. Even ugly roses deserved to be picked, surely? Or watered… Or glanced at..

Pumpkin, lemon, apricot, honey, and all the rest of the warm autumn shades that make a person think happily danced through the spaces between the loud guffaws and giggles about her. What would a rose garden want of her? Women are often so pretty that it is discouraging to bother. Why think of the matter as a competition when you are always on the winning side, yards ahead in first place?

No, forget roses. The genovesi was rich, faintly sweet. She did not like coffee all that much, but she did not speak the language of persistent Italian storeowner. No, the problem was never with the roses, not really. It was something else… But it was better not to pinpoint it. Whatever she found the “it” to be, eventually the thing would peel itself and reveal another chasm to explore. For her sake, the problem would have to stay roses.

She wished she had ordered something chocolate. The forno had on display so many breads and pastries with names she barely understood that when her eyes had scrolled and scanned across the cannolis, the overwhelming abundance of choice and decision told her, “No, much too late for that now, don’t go looking back for it, much too late.” The delicate morsels that bedazzled the sides of spilled cream made her feel very happy when pondered over. What a stupid brain, she laughed inwardly, and what a silly waste of a morning to bemoan about how very nothing is wrong with the everything of me. Maybe I will stand up, toss these shaking things in the bin, and order myself a whole bag of those pretty cannolis. I will eat them for the rest of my trip, as I stroll about the town, perhaps take a gondola ride, and snap a few picturesque shots to share with my bitter family. Yes, I think I will.

And she did, and did, and did, and so forth until the end of the trip. The night before her flight to Ireland, on her last stroll she had spotted a rose garden lit in scant, silver moonlight. The ivory sheen atop the roses in the dark held them at the mercy of a sunless existence, and even though it was just a few hours they would have to endure of this, their color still faded and their form slackened. She was not sure if she could, but she plucked one of the light pink roses off a potted bundle and held it kindly between two still hands. The thorn had stabbed her, yes, and a rivulet of blood trailed down her index finger, but she paid it no mind. A rose cannot bleed, only wilt. The sun could not always shine, so she put the flower in her hair.

Good morning, everyone! I’ve gotten pretty deep into the cottagecore and academia aesthetics as of late, and I thought a little story in Italy would be cute. I wouldn’t suggest traveling the world like this girl! Don’t let pandemic fatigue get to you, and I hope you all enjoyed.


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