It was baffling to me that someone could be so accepting of their body, that they were willing to stand in front of a room full of young girls – possibly the harshest beauty critics conceivable – and bare everything. I was even more surprised to see how the features I hated on my own body became beautiful on someone else when seen through the eyes of an artist.
(Originally published on Allora, Viterbo. The above image is a vintage-looking postcard I picked up in a tourist store… looks a bit different nowadays!)
I’m walking down Via del Corso, my eyes set ahead on the Palazzo Comunale. A movement draws them away and up to the second storey of a bright yellow apartment building, where two young girls around eleven or twelve hang out the window looking down at the street.
A middle-aged man, looking harried, strides determinedly below them.
One girl, wiry and brown, elbows the freckled blonde. Puffing up her cheeks and pursing her lips dramatically, the blonde girl leans out the window. A glob of spit rolls along her lips.
It hangs for a long moment.
The brunette pouts, ready to be disappointed, when the ball of saliva drops with a plop on the balding man’s head. I get a glimpse of wide-eyed laughter before both girls duck quickly inside.
The man jerks, wipes his head, and looks up at the cloudless sky, his brow furrowing. He continues on his way, wiping his hand on his pants.
The brunette peeks tentatively over the window ledge, and when she sees the man rubbing his head she collapses onto the other girl in a fit of giggles. They look eagerly down the street for more victims, but only see me, on the opposite side of the road, my eyebrows arched in a way that indicates that I saw the whole performance.
The blonde’s hand flutters to her mouth, which has popped open to form a perfect O. They disappear, lithe as cats, into the dim, dull house.