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day 18

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day 18 pic only.jpg

Day 18
Size: 24 x 18 inches

Oil on board


Day 18/50 • “Fiction Friday”


Even before the city turned sour, Antonio was bad about dropping bits of trash into the canals. For all the things he tried to do right and well, he’d held onto this habit knowing it was a dirty, loathsome thing. He used to do it without thinking, careless as a kid would be. But even after he grew to know it’s wrong to litter, he kept on. But only in the canals, never on the ground. As if the water had a way of washing away his sins. 


“I can’t love you” had been the echo in his head for days. It was playing over and over and over, and this morning it had a rather accusatory tone. As if his boyfriend of two years just decided Antonio was to blame for him no longer being able to love. 


Antonio was crossing the little bridge after getting an espresso. Not quite halfway across and with a certain bitterness, he threw the little napkin he’d walked out of the café with into the canal. He took two more steps before stopping. Pausing before turning to look, he decided he wanted to see the trash--his trash. The napkin softened and opened in the dark water, almost flat again and bobbing on the surface. 


His eyes drifted up, following the sides of the canal to the next bridge. His hands patted and smoothed the surface of the stone rail absentmindedly, the way one does when folding laundry. Every other person crossing the bridge in the distance looked exactly like Vanni. Well, not exactly, but one guy did lift his left leg higher than his right the same way Vanni would do. And Antonio swore another guy had on a shirt just like Vanni’s favorite, the one that had two small holes on the upper sleeve. Details of imperfection were coveted by Vanni because he thought they put people at ease. 


“I can’t love you.” Every person turned and yelled this to Antonio from the far away bridge. Then they would pretend nothing had been said and walk on, floating down the walkway until turning out of sight.

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