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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1606758-La-Dolce-Vita
by Alex
Rated: 13+ · Preface · Cultural · #1606758
Maybe something I'll keep working with.
University project. Might develop further.

La Dolce Vita by Alex Mugford

         I walked past it many times; draped over a mannequin in the window of the too-rich-for-my-blood boutique on Via Condotti. I always stopped to admire it, trying to discover why the price tag said three thousand Euros. The velvet stitching, perhaps? I suppose it was pricey because it was made at that Asian sweatshop on the Moon. I usually stared at the Italian fur coat for about thirty seconds until the woman inside gave me dirty looks (and I knew something about dirty looks. I was married to Ann-Marie for twenty years). I flipped up the collar of my thirty Euro coat and kept walking; shooed like Julia Roberts in ‘Pretty Woman’.
         Off Via Veneto was Césarina’s where street rats like me could get a decent meal for thirteen Euros. Césarina Masi herself taught me all I knew about wine. With her I discovered the ninety eight Castello di Brolio: Youthful, full-bodied on the palate, velvety texture, plenty of color, slightly roasted with warm character (all which describe Ann-Marie perfectly). There were warm summer nights where I’d indulge my palate and consume four bottles of the Brolio. In drunken stupor, the Piazza Trinità dei Monti was where I chose to work off my indulgence. Although the one hundred and thirty eight step decent down the Spanish Steps was in itself sobering, beautiful American girls eager to sample the night life easily brought me to my senses – the night life being me. They wanted the Vatican, Flavin Amphitheatre, Trajin’s Column, the Circus Maximus, and to my luck, a dark and handsome Italian man. The wine on his breath, they thought, was just part of the authentic Italian experience.
         Loathing their taste in Roman monuments, I tried to convince them to see the Ara Pacis - in my opinion, the epitome of Roman excellence. Unlike the Amphitheatre, the Column, or the Circus, the Ara Pacis didn’t associate itself with death. On the west frieze, Aeneas was carved into the marble, glorifying the founding of Rome; Augustus’ secret weapon to political ideology. The south frieze was an imperial procession, even with little children tugging on their parent’s togas. I tried to tell those stupid American girls about the east façade; how the seated matron holding two babies, surrounded by blooming flowers, animals and windblown drapery represented peace and fertility. It was a time when Rome wasn’t at war, only Augustan prosperity. Only a few meters long and high, the Ara Pacis wasn’t large or expensive enough to hold anyone’s attention.
         When I saw the Italian fur coat again I immediately recognized it. It was on the ground outside of Césarina’s. A woman in a sequenced dress wearing precious open toed, stiletto heeled shoes with diamante detailing kneeled hunched over next to it, heaving up the contents of her stomach. The contents looked youthful, full-bodied, with a velvety texture, plenty of color, slightly roasted, and warm in character - with a slight hint of stomach bile (which also describes Ann-Marie perfectly). Her diamond necklace from Tiffany’s on Fifth Avenue drooped down and swung in the expelled wine like a pendulum. In the pocket of my thirty Euro coat was two Euros, a fifty cent piece, and a twenty cent piece; barely making my coat worth more than her vomit splattered three thousand Euro coat. I told her that living the sweet life doesn’t mean you’re happy (at least that’s what Ann-Marie used to tell me). I felt the wine and bile in my stomach start to rise so I flipped up the collar of my thirty Euro coat and kept walking.

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