Saturday 16 June 2018

'Letters From Florence' by SJI Holliday

She sends me letters. Actual, proper, physical letters. So very unusual in this day and age. She buys boxes of pretty stationery with butterflies around the edges and the faint scent of lavender. I don’t know if the paper is already impregnated with that, or if she sprays it on herself. Either way, it has an effect.

She writes them with a blue roller ball and there’s never the slightest smudge, never the tiniest mistake. I appreciate the time it takes for her to write them, especially as she’s not writing in her native language and it must take her hours with the phrasebook and the pen and the sheets of scented paper. I imagine her sipping coffee as she writes, a small cup and saucer, maybe blue. Probably with flowers on. Proper coffee too, and maybe one of those little biscuits you get in Italian restaurants sometimes.

We only met that one time. In Paszkowski’s on the Piazza della Repubblica. She told me about Michelangelo as she smoked a long, thin cigarette. We drank red wine, poured from a simple glass carafe. Chianti, of course. I drink it sometimes. When I read her letters. Let’s stay in touch, she said. Her voice throaty and accented and beautiful. I’ll write, she told me. I wrote my address on a little napkin and when I got back from my trip there was a pale blue envelope waiting for me on the mat.

I think we’ll always write. Sometimes, that’s all you need.

First published in The Pygmy Giant


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