“Woman with a Parasol” (from a painting by Henri Matisse)


She left. She left her husband and children. She left the chilly city whose tall buildings seemed to contain space that she always felt inside of. She went to Salerno and rented a room in a pensione that overlooked the sea.

Bay of Salerno
Bay of Salerno

It was May. She loved the colors. The sea was bright blue and dazzling in the sun. It was wide, opening toward endless unseen possibilities. The town itself, though, was white, brilliant shining white reflected to itself in the sun. The tiles on the floors of her room were white. This white was enhanced by the blue-green of the shutters on the door to the balcony.

She herself took to wearing white and would go out mornings to inspect the many archaeological treasures of the Sorrentine peninsula. A lone American woman walking, watching. In the afternoon she would return to the pensione for a rest. She loved to sit outside on the balcony, for even though the sun was strong, the breeze was soothing, caressing. She would open her parasol against the sun and gaze out at sea.

After a month she felt more her old self again and began to long for companionship. She observed herself sitting on her balcony, facing into the room as if waiting for her husband to come through the door.

© Antoinette Carone 2009