Home > life, writing > A Time To Fly (15)

A Time To Fly (15)

When Vince and Belinda disembarked from the train in Florence, Belinda’s head swiveled around like a child at the circus.  She had never seen so beautiful a building.  The ceiling was a hundred meters high, made of small panes of glass.  The many boarding platforms stretched out like fingers from the palm of the main concourse.  Alongside most of the platforms were long trains of many different designs and colours, from sleek, low-slung blue stream liners to the standard, tall, stately, brightly coloured diesel engines.  People scurried this way and that, and various students in groups or solo sat on benches or on the floor along the walls.  Most had large duffel bags and full backpacks with the flags of their countries proudly sewn on them.  She saw several American flags, two Canadians, some French, Swedish, German, and even one Brazilian.  Vince suggested they walk to the Spanish Steps.  It was not too far, and the sights along the way would be worth the effort.

As they walked along the wide, paved street hand in hand, Belinda began to feel comfortable with their differences.  It didn’t seem to be of any interest to the people on the street that she was black and obviously far older than the man.  They looked at each other from time to time, and squeezed each other’s hands.  Vince stopped in front of a small boutique window.  It displayed various erotic garments designed to exhibit women’s bodies… and men’s bodies… in particularly stimulating ways.

       “Would you wear that for me?” he said.  He pointed at a red satin bodice on a mannequin that laced up to the neck where diamond-like studs sparkled on the high collar.  Two circular cutouts allowed the mannequin’s breasts to protrude enticingly.  Belinda looked at it, imagining how she might look in it.

       “No,” she said.

       “Are you too inhibited?” he said.

       “No,” she said.

       “Then why not wear it?  Just for me, in private,” he said.  Belinda smiled at him.

       “Because red’s not my colour,” she said.  “If they had a green one, it would be a different story.”

Vince took Belinda by the hand and drew her into the store.  He bought her a green bodice with the bare breast feature.  He also bought her a transparent harem girl’s costume, a black rubber body suit with Velcro openings in all the appropriate places, and four-inch stiletto heeled knee-high boots.  He carried the bag as they continued on their walk.  Belinda’s mind was trapped in visions of her exhibiting herself in these erotic costumes in front of Vincenzo.  She imagined he would recline on a sofa, naked.  Belinda suddenly had an idea, and pulled Vince back to the shop.  She picked out a leather harness that would criss-cross his body, and some briefs that had openings at the front designed to present a man’s organ and scrotum prominently.

       “If I’m to be presented in revealing ways,” she said, “so are you.”  They left the store and continued down the street.

       “There it is,” Vince said.  He pointed to the magnificent broad staircase that led to the cross street above them.  People streamed up and down the broad stone steps, obviously going about their business, not enraptured about walking on the famous Spanish Steps.

       “It’s beautiful,” she said.  Vince pulled her into a shaded corner.

       “You’re beautiful,” he said.  He kissed her passionately and pressed her to him with his strong arms around her.

They strolled around the Spanish Steps area in the descending nightfall.  Belinda wondered when they were going to start for home.

       “We’re here,” Vince said.  He gestured toward a narrow vegetable shop.

       “What do you mean, we’re here?” Belinda said.  An older man and woman were quickly taking their produce inside the shop for the night.

       “Come, I’ll show you,” he said.  He exchanged brief, warm greetings with the man and the woman who were tending the shop and led Belinda through the shop and down a short, narrow hallway.  He opened an old, paint-chipped door and stepped through.  Suddenly, they were in a small courtyard.  A small fountain splashed happily in the centre.  Shadows, cast by flaming sconces that were mounted high up on the walls, danced on the worn, cobblestone ground.

       “What is this place?” Belinda asked, bewildered.

       “This is my refuge,” he said.  “This is where I come to write and practice.”

       “Out here, in the courtyard?” she said.  Vincenzo took Belinda’s hand and led her up some ancient metal stairs that looked like a fire escape.  They passed the landing at the second floor and continued up to the top on the third floor of the ancient building.  The old, glass, double doors were unlocked.  Vince pushed them open and stepped into the suite.  Belinda followed him.  Inside, the room was stark.  The walls were painted warm green.  There was an old wooden desk with a matched swivel chair on casters in the middle of the room.  The chair sat between the desk and an electric keyboard instrument on legs.  A headset sat on the keyboard.  Along the far wall, there was a futon sofa with raw cotton upholstery. A side-table with a simple lamp on it stood beside the sofa.

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