Villa Dei Misteri Paul Rabinowitz Micro-Fiction

pages Villa Dei Misteri

by Paul Rabinowitz

Published in Issue No. 277 ~ June, 2020

You hand me a glass of wine walk across the floor and stand in front of a mirror and I realize I have never seen your reflection before and thought it might be a good idea to capture this moment learn a bit more about myself and how I got here so I sprint down the precariously narrow stairs of your apartment push open the door and run out to my car which I parked haphazardly because these days my eyesight tends to be blurred and I don’t have the focus to even check if my car is the right distance from the curb then I remove my old camera from the trunk and still short of breath with heart racing from the descent down the rickety steps or from the vision of your reflection I blow the caked dust off the lens and recall the old postcard of an Italian village stuck haphazardly in your mirror between gold frame and glass and the reflection of your almond eyes flashing like mezzanotte marble reminded me of the winding road to Villa dei Misteri on the outskirts of Rome I traveled on years ago to see a fresco of a maenad her searching gaze deep and mysterious then with camera in hand still out of breath I ascend the narrow stairs and something in your apartment reminds me of a scene

from an old Sophia Loren movie when my television was black and white Sophia in Rome at the bottom of the Spanish Steps her smokey eyes reveal something looming deep inside

like how I feel when I look at you and am reminded of that winding road I traveled on to Villa dei Misteri when my driving skills were sharp and heart racing with excitement to see the fresco of the maenad and remember when 

Sophia turned her head and stared into the window of the empty cafe the director captures the reflection and I watched her narrowing eyes peering back at herself as the camera sealed the moment forever on celluloid intimacy that comes only when a woman looks at herself sees truth or a man standing behind her holding a glass of wine haphazardly in his hand looking not at her but the reflection revealing something lost like Sophia’s complex eyes on a black and white screen 

and you plunge the corkscrew into the bottle of Red Chianti gifted from me who parked haphazardly on your curb in the middle of the night in the pouring rain to leave something at the foot of your narrow steps not only to make you smile but to learn more about myself and how I got there in the first place then you gaze into the mirror and the end of the movie comes rushing back to me when the master director captures that moment that I had never seen before and like Sophia you turn your head slightly away from the lens and with lips closed and eyes narrowing you search the room for my empty wine glass resting haphazardly at the edge of your dresser amongst scattered bracelets hair pins and a ring and I look through the narrow eyepiece hold my breath and straighten my back then with the same precision and skill I used to navigate the winding road to Villa dei Misteri I gesture to you with my hand exactly where your eyes should rest to capture for the curious what surrounds me when I see you and why I ascend the precariously narrow stairs in the first place.



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Paul Rabinowitz is an author, photographer, and founder of ARTS By The People, a nonprofit arts organization based in New Jersey. Paul’s photography and short fiction have appeared in many magazines and journals including Long Exposure Magazine, Linden Avenue Literary Journal, Pif Magazine, and others. Paul is the author of Limited Light, a book of prose and portrait photography, and a novella, The Clay Urn, (Main Street Rag, 2020). Paul is at work on two novels Confluence and Grand Street, Revisited. Paul has produced many mixed media performances and poetry animation films that have appeared on stages and in theaters in New York City, New Jersey, Tel Aviv, and Paris. Paul is a spoken word performer and the founder of “The Platform,” a monthly literary series in New Jersey, and Platform Review, a journal of voices and visual art from around the world.