The couple across from us on the high-speed train from Firenze
to Roma fascinates my wife and me. Marta tries to calculate their age
difference – she says he’s 10 years older, I say closer to 20. I imagine
which celebrities they look like – he a bit like David Duchovny
at precisely the right angle, she a Mediterranean Meghan Markle. They sit close
and a part of one’s body is always touching the other’s. His leg wraps
around hers like a blanket or maybe a bandage. Will the rubbing
of the three-day stubble of his salt-and-pepper beard leave her
skin scuffed? I have nothing better to do on this trip then imagine the origins
of this relationship, but I can also imagine its potential ending.
I’ve brought no book or iPad; I have nothing to pass the time.
Will he just go back to his wife and she to her studies?
Will they carry these moments inside them their whole lives, their names
branded on each other’s hearts? Or just forgotten like a piece of gum
whose flavor has dried up? It doesn’t dawn on me until now what they think
of us, whether they view us as old farts or, worse, generic American tourists
as their tongues flap like butterfly wings, rotating between words
in Italian rhythms landing in each other’s mouths. Part of me is jealous
of them, I realize, of their nonchalance, of their youth, of their potential.
Marta runs her fingers over my arm like a feather and I kiss
her cheek. Every couple holds on like that gum: stuck together, trying
not to be pulled apart.
David Colodney realized at an early age that he had no athletic ability whatsoever, so he turned his attention to writing about sports instead of attempting to play them, covering everything from high school flag football to major league baseball for the Miami Herald and The Tampa Tribune. David is the author of the chapbook, Mimeograph (Finishing Line Press, 2020). He earned an MFA at Converse College and holds an MA from Nova Southeastern University. David’s poetry has appeared or will appear in a variety of journals, including The South Carolina Review, Panoply, Cathexis Northwest Press, and The Chaffin Journal. He lives in Boynton Beach, Florida, with his wife, three sons, and golden retriever.