the silence in the room draws her out
of the African plains where the cheetah will, in astonishment, look and not find her.
the rain drums on, like water falling over a bathing cap,
echoing with that far-off quality of a cave. Then the phone rings. Rain, a cheetah … a phone? She picks it up, jet-lagged and almost out of breath, her head aching.
“Hello?” She runs a hand through her hair and spreads it over the pillow, creating a delta of black.
“Ms. Melina, this is your morning call.” The concierge’s voice is low, her accent sugary sweet.
Morning, thank you. Sara sets the phone back on the cradle and stretches from head to foot, sweeping a little jade pillbox off the table. Aspirins roll on the floor, and she contemplates scooping two for breakfast.
lo que no mata engorda — what doesn’t kill fattens — the five-second rule — kiss it up to god. crazy things I think about.
After a long, hot shower, she snuggles into the folds of a robe and sits in bed to watch the news. Bells from a nearby church chime, and she starts counting the rings after the third. Nothing but work in Italy is such a waste. She must start making her own travel arrangements.
hotel guests bundled in groups crowd the lobby.
Some talk, some sip coffee, others stare out at the deluge. Sara gathers her hair at the nape and smiles across the room, her gray, almond-shaped eyes bright and shining. The hired driver is late, but she doesn’t mind. She now has time to watch the people on the streets, see the faces of those inside.
rain is telling regardless of the place:
on a plane or a city street, a road, an ancient ruin. She sits back and inhales the damp air. Where would she be if Paolo had not found her?