Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Villa, pt. I

Let me tell you about my villa.

It doesn’t exist yet, except in my head, and even there, not completely. Speaking about it will make it exist more: so shall I do.

Welcome.

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The villa is perched on a hill overlooking the ocean. You get up to it by a winding pathway, broad enough for two bicycles side by side but narrow enough that cars are distasteful.

The paving stones are mostly gray, but you pass spirals, nebulae, suns. The path’s borders burst with graceful trees, some of which have signposts nailed to them: Giardino dei Sogni, La Mar, Zauberschloss. Dirt tracks edged in driftwood and seastones wind away into their shade.

Benches with metal sides and wooden seats recline almost out of sight along these paths. Some have claw feet. Others sprout iron branches, iron leaves, iron flowers with glass marble centers. One, facing the ocean, is shaped like the shell from which Venus stepped, and if you look closely you will see fish fossils hidden among the flutes.

When you finally reach the top of the hill, a semicircular courtyard greets you. In the center is a statue of a monster covered in eyes: if you count them, you will discover that there are 108.

The villa reclines across the courtyard, sphinxlike, more noble than elegant, more patrician than graceful. As you cross the courtyard, you feel your back straighten.

Stairs cascade down from the imposing double doors: broad steps, on which perhaps a cat sleeps in the sun. Marble steps, though rough-surfaced in case it rains. You walk up to the first terrace, and from this perspective you can see carvings hidden in the threshold. When you get to the second terrace, you see a mural on the ceiling of the doorway. Eyes look down from a mass of vines - strange eyes, that seem to follow you.

Two niches line the sides of the deep doorway. Sometimes they hold flowerpots; other times, they hold urns in which feathers are planted, and twigs, and rusted old keys.

There is no conventional doorbell. Instead, you fill out a calling card, and clip it to a string that dangles from the mouth of a snake carved around the doorway. Through a rectangular pane of glass you see the gears moving as your name and message disappear, shooting up out of sight into the villa’s insides.

Now, you have nothing to do but wait by the door for the master of the house to receive you.

2 comments:

  1. Isn't having a florid imaginotion the most amazing thing?
    Your villa is fantastic, maybe you'll invite me for tea one day, I'll fill out a calling card in Italian if it's ok with you :-P

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    Replies
    1. Yes, it's like having a teleportation device in your head!

      We must do tea - or, if it's in the summer, lemonade.

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