Lazy Afternoon in the Piazza by Sophie Harbert

Piazza in the afternoon










It is late afternoon and the piazza seems half asleep.  The water in the fountain gurgles.  The sound of the fountain and soft rhythms of background conversations become a duet, interrupted periodically by the cry of birds and the vroom-vroom of motor scooters.  Occasionally, a car drives through the piazza and the motor noise drowns other sounds.  A constant but barely audible buzzing can be detected in the background.  It’s nearly impossible to tell what it is — a TV? 

The awning above moves slowly in the cool breeze.  The breeze carries a faint, smoky smell.  It’s probably a cigarette, but it is far enough away that it’s not unpleasant.  An elderly couple walks arm in arm.   The way they lean so closely into one another, with the warm glow of the sun around them, calls to mind young lovers—not a frail man and woman in their 80s.  In the far corner of the piazza, a mother stops to adjust her baby’s stroller and give him a kiss.  The bright red of the stroller matches her dress perfectly.

The church bells ring.  It is now 4 o’clock and the piazza begins to awaken from its nap.  More cars are pulling into the square, and the hum of their motors is a rude intrusion on the stillness.  The conversation of bar patrons becomes noticeably louder.  As if startled by the commotion, the breeze goes away.

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