One Reply to “8.9.2013 Journal Prompt”

  1. Ilario holds a finger in the air as though he is testing for the direction of the wind, like that painting of John The Baptist by Leonardo, oil on walnut wood, and a Mona Lisa smile, and the painted Saint points skywards. Ilario waits for quiet and he turns his head a little to show he is listening. He hears the small and distant thunder of cars and trucks and buses, and the last songs of birds, and somewhere the singing of a choir. It is fitting.

    Ilario takes off his shirt and he sits cross-legged in the middle of the road. This will do, he says. He breathes deep and slow and there is a rattle in his breath, the sound of a door opening on old hinges or the movement of a running wheel that needs oiled. Yes, this’ll do, he says.

    Este knows Ilario is already a little drunk, or a little mad, or both. Ilario says he hears angels talking in clear voices. He says they come to him just when the sun slips below the horizon. And the movement of their wings is a stiff wind against his face and they lift him up so that his feet do not touch the ground and they talk to him and through him. Este knows it is madness or drink that makes Ilario say these things, but Ilario is his friend.

    So they sit together in the middle of the road, and Este nods to Ilario and smiles, and he leans in close and kisses his best friend’s cheek. And the city before them is beaten and burnished gold and it is worth it just for this, just to see the city made splendid in the going down of the sun. It takes Este’s breath away and everything is better than it is in those moments.

    Ilario takes Este’s hand in his and he speaks in whispers.

    I know I they think I am mad, he says. I know that. And what is in my head is not what is. But think about it. Isn’t that always the way? We are the inventors of our own lives and the world is a different place in your eyes and in mine. No two the same. And if the laws that govern your existence are not the same that govern mine or anyone else’s, then is it called mad.

    Este’s looks to the sun and he holds a little tighter to Ilario’s hand and he waits. In his head he does not give thought to what Ilario has said, for he knows that the mad sometimes speak with the wisdom of old men. He waits for the last winking moment of the sun and the wings of angels brushing against him and Ilario speaking in riddles.

    Afterwards, they will get to their feet and walk back into the city, to a bar in Santa Croce where Ilario is known. On the wall is a copy of a painting by Giotto and angels scattered like disturbed birds across a blue clear sky. They drink, Ilario and Este, more than is good for them, Verdicchio with a crisp sea-air freshness in its kiss, and Ilario weeps and he asks Este if he saw it too.

    And because Ilario is his best friend, Este says that he did.

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