A moment from Spring Break

Sitting on a bench in a train station in riomaggorie with some time to kill. 20 minutes is the charge for 5 minutes too late.

By user Kevin Botto on flickr

By user KevinBotto on flickr

This time last year I was on spring break in Italy. While traveling, we had a bit of downtime every once and a while. I’m inseparable from my smart phone and thus had the opportunity to spend a few moments every so often writing.

Feature writing for journalism occasionally uses descriptive narrative voice. Writing like this is what I enjoy the most. This piece and others like it are exercises in developing my narrative voice.

I came across this bit of creative writing on my phone earlier tonight. In the spirit of “throw back thursday” (tbt), here it is.


Sitting on a bench in a train station in Riomaggorie with some time to kill. 20 minutes is the charge for 5 minutes too late. The yellow line separates us from the cars.

She folds an arm over her crossed legs and cups her chin with her unoccupied hand. Gelato awaits in Manarola.

Waves crash in the distance, hidden by the eggshell plastered cement building at our backs. We face the side of a mountain, tunnels at our left and right.

Seagulls glide between and above the buildings. Ocean is in the air. The Mediterranean fills the atmosphere and inflates the hair of those present.

Lazy Italian congests the oxygen. Struggling tourists inhale the dialect and exhale broken speech. We are at 2, should we be at 1? Don’t cross the tracks.

A chill breeze maneuvers the airways and rocks clothes pinned to window guardrails. Vibrant textiles linger in suspension.

Cracked plaster decorates the facade of the distant structures. During tourist season, tanned 20 something’s will throw back the palm green shutters to the windows and announce in their delight, “have you ever seen such a beautiful view?”

As for now, the streets are lined with shops closed for the winter. Their entrances barren awaiting the return of chattering masses. The sun cracks from the overcast heavens and gives a glimpse of all that can be.

It is cool. We are clad in layers and weather induced tremors. The terrain emits the desire to shed jackets and shoes.

“Return to me!” beckons the sea. The rocks strewn across the sea shore sigh as the water relinquishes and administers its grip. This is the land of mermaids and pirates and pasta and lemon wine.

Citrus plants bespeckle the terrain. Fresh fruits budding from the spring taunt travelers. Unappreciated lemons sit on the lively lawns. “Yes, it is March, we know,” they whisper, “but with us , it is summer.”

Summer is a grassroots movement rooting from the Earth in Cinque Terre. The five cities want you to stay. They promise a carefree escape from behind their shutters.

I found two similar pieces, one from this trip and another while on a train going from Zaandam to Leiden. If you enjoyed this, I’ll post the others some time.


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