Piazza Indipendenza

from by Lee Foust

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A French junkie scores in Florence.

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PIAZZA INDIPENDENZA



She’s drawing in her Pink Panther elementary-school copybook. They sell them in big piles on tables at the Oviesse, along with the neon-colored Evicta backpacks. That’s where she probably got the bleach, too. But that was weeks ago and the roots are well grown out. She fingers the tips of the tangled strands about her collarbone with her left hand while her right hand, drawing a palm tree, plows right through the paper.

She stops.

Her mouth twitches. She wonders if it twitches all of the time or only when she notices it twitching.

She flips to a further page and begins to draw a heart, remembering how cold it had been last night in the park in the fog. But there really isn’t much of a point in going any further south. Rome is more difficult and the weather’s probably about the same as here. It’s been winter in Paris for more than a month. Ha!

Her cappuccino cup has been dry for a while now. She had gotten it up at the counter, paid first, and then taken the coffee over to a table and sat down—as if there wasn’t an extra fee for table service—but nobody had said anything to her about it.

The old hunchbacked guy comes in and goes around the counter and into the back room. It’s more casual around here, off the tourist track, this side of the central market and in back of the train station. Via Faenza, etc.

She bustles around now, gathering up her papers and notebook and putting on her big yellow raincoat. No one pays any attention to her when she goes back into the other room.
The hunchback comes back around the bar and orders a coffee. He nods to everyone, drinks it off, pays, and leaves.

She comes back, after a while, and gathers up her belongings again, during a lull in business, when almost all of the tables in the café are empty. She goes and stands in the doorway for a long time.

It’s just getting dark.

Her mouth is twitching again. She gets lost somewhere in the bright violet BAR PATRIARCA sign across the street.

She turns abruptly, then, to the pleasant couple standing at the counter, smiles and says, “Bon soir!”

“Buona sera,” the woman behind the cash register replies politely, cheerfully even, but without looking up.

The French junkie steps down off of the curb and wanders cat-a-cornered across the intersection.



10/27/1989
Florence

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from Sputnik, released March 11, 2016

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Lee Foust Florence, Italy

Lee Foust is an author and performer from Oakland, California who has lived in Florence, Italy since the mid-1990s. He teaches for various US universities abroad and is the father of one. Lee is the author of Sojourner, a collection of short stories and poems about the mystery of place, and Poison and Antidote, 9 Bohemian tales of San Francisco during the Reagan era. ... more

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