The Other Gioconda by Amy B. Moreno

‘See that cloud?’ she leant on the windowsill, pointing up. ‘It looks like a crocodile with a cigarette, smoke twisting out of his jaws.’ Her hand rose of its own accord, imitating the swirl.
       ‘Nphhh.’ he grunted.
       The mists and swirls made their lazy, lustful way above her head, caressing the sky. She let her forearms bear more weight, leant further out, and fancied she felt hot puffs from the crocodile smudge her face.
       The heavy brocade drapes brushed her pale skin with maroon, and she replied by tracing their gold leafy swirls with her fingertip. Below, the waters of Venice glistened and jeered in the twilight. She felt her face reflected below, inky blue water pooling under her eyes; the seemingly solitary witness of a city drowning in its own romance.
       Echoes of ‘La Gioconda’ trilled the water, ‘The Happy Woman’ mistranslated as a ballad singer. Forever remembering her life of many loves, or loves of many lives.
       And he lay behind her in bed, wrapped in his sweltering duvet cocoon; an involved process requiring all the bed covers.
       ‘Shall we order some prosecco from room service?’ she tried, irritated at the tight, brittle hope in her voice.
       His silence echoed off the rose-coloured walls, danced along the brass bed rail, and warped the floorboards. Again, he’d missed his cue.
       Giovanni Bellini’s Agony in the Garden observed them knowingly from the back wall; both scenes at an interlude between main events.
       The flowers on the nightstand wilted with each stale breath, full of the unsaid.
       With an itch scuttling across her back, she admitted that the curtain had already closed on the honeymoon period.

Amy B. Moreno is an experienced interpreter and translator, with a parallel career in working with vulnerable children and young people.  She now writes poetry and prose for both adult and child readers. She has been published by The Glasgow Women’s Library blog and The Scottish Book Trust, plus several websites and literary blogs.  She is currently based on the eastern coast of Scotland. You can connect with her on Twitter: @Amy_B_Moreno

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