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Gymnopedie No.1

La poetica di Aristotele vulgarizzata

--Lodovico Castelvetro


The leaves seemed to always be changing, like a motion of color was running through them; like a chameleon changes its skin at whim; like the seasons were falling through and springing out again at the girl who sat below, watching with bright, blue eyes in a dazed stare. It should’ve been that she marveled at the quickness of the colors above her, at the illuminating and dimming light that peered or snuck or didn’t at all through the cracks the edges of such leaves gave. It was her and Helios above who fought for Apollo’s chances, but she always came out radiant, for who could see the sun once the clouds had rolled by? She certainly couldn’t, but she herself could be seen.


People had called upon her beauty so often in their minds as a thing remarkable, but not a single person ever dared the chance to approach that bench which, upon, she sat. So elegantly gentle was her aesthetic that those strangers that casually strolled past, faces glancing briefly—and only briefly—from their black coffees and newspapers or phones, would remember there forward an easier path lie in not knowing her; and they could stay the same as they did, and she too.


In Central Park, along one of the walkways against an inner part of the lake, against a bench like stone in comfort—though metal it was—this girl sat and lived often. No lunch, no drink, nothing but a bag and the wire from her pocket to the headphones plugged into her ears. So loud were these headphones, that all noise was blocked from her. Only the music danced in her mind as she paid her attentions to the gentle stream, which moved to the song and rhythm; and the leaves rustled in an August air, or in a Spring breeze, moving like a graceful, slow salsa ever-onward and momentarily, perpetually always


It was on a single day, though, that He had stumbled upon the ignorable discomfort of the bench, lounging his legs outward—long as they are—and holding his arms stretched to their width. He hadn’t thought ahead that this spot might’ve been accustomed to somebody else, though, and so upon her arrival, Fall-skirt and long hair ablaze beneath the radiance of the sun, he found himself awoken to beauty divine.


“I think you’re supposed to move over.” Her voice was confident with aloof ease.


He couldn’t but stare, awed by her simplicity. She wasn’t above and beyond any other girl, but there was a delicacy to her. She was like a peach, the first of a bunch from a tree that you’d spot; the first peach of the season. It was like when you forgot how pretty the peach-tree is during the cold Winter, and in the new Spring, it made you want to cry it’s so pretty.


“I feel I can’t move. You’ve put a spell on me.”


“No, but I think a spell is in the air.” She had a pleasant smile, as she could only have such a smile. Sitting beside Him, she pulled a single earbud from her ear and placed in His, who was stunned still.


And it was lucky, that He was too stunned to move, for the days and years that it felt—the time so slow it was like by grace that the world stopped spinning for them for that moment, moments in the park—as they traversed the intricate pathway of the conversations that new acquaintances create, for the music crafted a portrait of the moment and presented it to both of them. Lucky that time gave them forever in a day to explore each other in silence; lucky that time gave them forever in a day to find gentle support of each other’s dreams destined for the future, a future made yet known. Lucky that time gave them forever in a day to sing melancholically of that which is so, and of family, or of life. Lucky that forever in a day was given them, so that they could talk so much as to forget the need to talk and seek further comfort in that silence once more, listening to the flurry of passersby, watching the leaves, falling but always there; feeling a soul’s presence as one but two—like three in two possible ways.


As he held her hand, the leaves ranging their colors above and the sun gliding in and out, a pulse beat within her wrist. So serene, this pulse is—was—that with the falling of a last leaf—those leaves that seemed to be falling but the trees full all day; a leaf now the last on its bough—the pulse fell too, falling upon a rosy fade.


He thought to himself: I think I was in love. I hope so, after all this time. And forevermore, that day on the bench, I will miss, but always cherish it then.

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