(I'll hafta get back with a link to Boccaccio's original story..)
Wikipedia info on Griselda
And the following is my version of the tale.
As always, suggestions, clarifications, questions are always welcome & encouraged
! (Writing is a two-way street... the writers need the
readers, and vice versa. So feel free to speak up!)
I sat alone in a corner booth next to the cafe’s front window, legs pulled up to my chest, a lukewarm cup of coffee resting in my hands, just under
my nose. The place was quiet, a lull before the storm of drunks who demanded fries and coffee were kicked out of the bar next door.
I looked through the jagged streams of rain that drizzled down the cafe’s bay window to the slick black streets. Stark white headlights passed and
shown on individual raindrops. The yellow streetlights made the thin and scraggly trees look waxy. On the sidewalk, a puddle formed around a chewed
blue wad of gum.
I knew that if a lone drop of water fell into the puddle, each ripple would be a perfect contiguous circle, lazily coasting outward, and the sliced
reflection of the streetlight would be carried, swayed between the rings, then slip back and congeal in gently rocking waters.
However, with such a steady rainfall, the downward force of each drop collided with the next, which created ripples like small shoulders, stiff and
strong, that charged and rammed into each other, smashing, breaking, constantly interrupting – ringlets of headstrong will that crashed into each
other, ran over each other, gave in to each other. So strong, yet so weak.
Thus, the streetlight reflection never had a chance, flashed randomly in small, frizzy bursts. A foil wrapper sailboat fought to remain upright on the
churning puddle. Meanwhile, the bubble gum island stoically accepted the battery of turbulent, albeit miniature, waves.
The waiter came over offering a refill. “Guess you and what’s-his-face had another fight...”
I nodded, but did not meet his eye. “Yeah, another melodramatic fight over nothing.” I sighed deeply, “But it’s always my fault, so there’s
no point in arguing or whining.”
The waiter bit his lip, topped off my cup, then walked away. I sipped my coffee. The crinkled tin-foil boat swayed furiously on the heaving water,
leaned this way, then that. I cheered for it silently.
“Hi...” a soft voice said.
She scared me, the way she was suddenly in my peripheral vision. I didn’t notice her walk up to the cafe, didn’t hear the clanking jingle of the
bell as the door opened, but there she was, smiling and asking if I was ok. I shrugged, looked back out the window. Nothing earth-shattering. Did I
feel like talking? I shook my head, saw that the silver boat had now bumped into the bubble gum island, tried desperately to navigate around it.
How about listening then? I turned my head and looked her dead in the eye. And for a moment she was so happy that I wanted to leap from my booth and
smack the happiness right out of her.
“Sometimes people need to talk without being interrupted, and sometimes people need to hear other people talking. You look lonely, thought maybe I
could help.” Her lowered eyes flickered up, then back to the floor, then returned to me.
“I don’t need help. I need a backbone.”
She smiled. “May I?” she demurely gestured towards the seat opposite me.
I thought of saying, “Hell no! I want to be alone. I want him to get worried that his sweet girl hasn’t come home yet, so worried that he combs
the city, scours the streets and searches the bus stations... That when he finally comes here he’s got a trail of snot and tears behind him.” But,
I knew deep down that he’d never do that, and that I simply wanted to be away from him, not completely alone. Besides that, she wasn’t asking for
change, or a free meal, or trying to sell me tube socks or a ‘real Rolex watch’ for five bucks. Besides that, there was nothing fancy about this
woman. In fact, she was plain -- hair pulled up in a loose bun, her clothes simple, but comely. What harm could she do?
So I smiled back, said ok. She leaned over, wiped the crumbs from the brown pleather cushion, sat down across from me.
I glanced over at my boat and saw that one of its sharp corners had poked an anchor into the gum, worked hard to keep itself upright against the
constant battery of waves.
She smiled. I offered a cigarette. She politely declined. I shrugged.
“Why do you smoke?”
As I sparked a match, I debated the virtues of telling the truth when speaking to a stranger. “Well...” (ah # it. What’s the worst that can
happen?) I coughed. “Well, when I started smoking, I wanted to die, but I was too chicken-# to actually go through with it. Now, I’m addicted, and
I lack the willpower. I’ve never officially, really quit.”
“Fair enough,” she nodded.
“Hey, can I get another cup?” I called out, and the waiter brought it directly, along with an ashtray and a pack of matches. (The service gets
better and better the more you frequent a place.) A moment later, as I sparked a match and lit my smoke, I heard the bubbling broil of french fries
being lowered into the fryer, the loud belches of two drunk men as they stumbled out of the next-door bar.
We watched them walk by the cafe, stand and debate the menu posted in the window by the door. While she poured cream in her coffee, she said the man
she lived with before Mel (the man she was with now) loved her so much he tried to kill her. And no matter what anyone else said, she knew that he
really loved her.
My eyebrow arched. Well, I guess that’s the difference between true love and real love. I mean, how much more real can you get than attempted
With her slender fingers wrapped around the white porcelain mug, she stared into the brown-black coffee, the swirls of cream.
[edit on 6-12-2006 by Diseria]
[edit on 6-12-2006 by Diseria]