United States

"All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath."
- F. Scott Fitzgerald

Message to Readers

Hi Everyone, I'd love to know what you think about this piece, inspired by a villa in Italy. I'd especially like you to look at my style, more descriptive than anything else. Thank you so much!

Villa de Paolo

October 17, 2015

PROMPT: Returning

     I dreamt I was there again last night. It was as if nothing had changed, and I slowly meandered uphill on the uneven cobblestone path that seemed so familiar, slowly running my hand against the smooth, purposely polished top of the stone wall. I stopped just before the plateau, looking at the view I had seen so many times before, filling me with much more feelings of nostalgia than I would have thought. The gentle hills rollings were an almost too bright green, so healthy from the heat of the Tuscan sun, and layered on top of each other so that there were no flat surfaces to be seen with almost a round valley forming around where I stood. The number of olive groves and wineries were innumerable, the landscapes only dotted with a few houses here or there, the ones that the workers used during picking season. I  remember frollicking out there in my younger days, helping them.
    I turned, and saw the driveway that wound to the other side of the flat surface where the hill peaked, from where I was I couldn't quite see the view on the west side. From what I remember from the years, the structure looked like a downsized castle, spread out across several buildings with huge courtyard in between, and gardens facing the back. There was the wall built of an even, desert shade of brick, surrounding the entire estate, immediately visible when I turned around. I took a slow step into the level stone driveway, that covered every surface but the small outlook alcove.
            It took longer than it should have to cross, because of my apprehension of what laid inside. I could see the iron gate before I entered,  remembering the easiness of how it swung back then, never a thought went to how it made no sound, and how there was no need to secure it tightly for fear of the wind pushing it to and fro. I used to run in, past the gate, through the arch, and into the first courtyard, only the size of a room. Past that, into the ancient building, which only had been lit with electricity for a few years when I lived there. I could hardly see the tapestries that had hung there for generations, the foyer so dimly lit.
           To the left of the front room was the place I knew best of all: the dining room, that was always friendly and welcoming. I loved the fireplace that was so tall and wide that there was a simple wooden bench in one side that many people would sit in, climbing up the step it rested on. All sorts of family treasures and keepsakes rested on the mantle of the fireplace, as the it was more of a platform that canopied the entire step. I have fond memories of the room being crowded beyond recognition with tables for a party, each place set with care and chairs collected from all over the house gathered. Up a step and to the right was a small room to set out food, a hallway of sorts, in between the dining room and kitchen. The kitchen was modern. A family heirloom as the table, made of a wood that was worn with age in a loving way; a sink, refrigerator, oven, microwave, this kitchen was the glimpse of the current world among the ancient haven. Many meals were prepared there, I remember the heaping helpings of tiramisu that I learned how to make.
I was about to exit the small side door off the kitchen to go  meander the gardens as I used to love when I the memories came down off of the blanket they had been coating everything with, and I saw how the villa really was. The crumbling structure around me, in place of the arch. The fireplace reduced to nothing more than a pile of rubble, and the treasures on the mantle nowhere to be seen. I reached down to try salvage any of the tapestry that was left, but it merely disintegrated in my hand. There was a reason I left.

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