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A Slice of Love

Una fetta d'amore

Written by George Tzintzis | Illustrated by Brooke Tuesday | Translated by Veronica Mejia


[ English / Inglese ] 

Prince Ali—James’ cranky old Persian—was out gallivanting the streets, too distracted with somebody’s leftovers or charming a stray tabby to hear James’ call. Any other night wouldn’t have mattered, but James¹ would be driving back to Sydney with his family in the morning and starting his first day of university later that week. Summer had officially come to an end.

He didn’t want to go study business like the rest of his family back home. In fact, he wanted to stay here in Melbourne with his aunty and study photography and art—he wanted to write his own destiny, away from generational expectations.

As he walked through alleyways to find his pesky prince, he stumbled upon a boy lying on the littered floor, hands under his head, staring out into the heavens wishing he was up there himself. Judging by the slumped apron on the floor, he was probably having a private moment of relief. 

He looked peaceful and James didn’t want to startle him. In the corner of his eye, the boy—Frankie—saw sunlight and tilted his curious head to the right, only to find himself staring into the sage eyes of a boy, about his age, with glowing blonde hair.

‘Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you. I’m just looking for my cat, Prince Ali, he’s a grey Persian who looks like he’s angry all the time. Have you seen him?’ James said.

After a moment of thought, Frankie² turned and looked back up at the night sky. He replied, ‘He’s probably on the other side of the shop. All the cats in town end up there when we throw the pizza out.’

‘Thanks,’ James said.

But before he turned around to go, curiosity got the better of him.

‘Why are you lying on the floor, it’s kind of gross?’ Frankie smiled.

‘I like the floor, it’s grounding. Solid. The one thing in life that makes sense when everything else doesn’t.’

James didn’t know what it was about this boy but there was a familiarity to him, a long-ago forgotten question that he needed the answer to. He felt possessed, a summer trance, and laid down next to the stranger following his gaze to the Milky Way and the cosmos beyond.

James went first and told him about his photographic dreams. Frankie second, blurting out his dying hope of studying paramedicine instead of taking over the family business. Two boys stuck on a rock, hurtling through space constantly moving through chaos while its residents stay stagnant.

As the boys confided in each other, told secrets they’ve never shared with anyone before, the hour struck midnight and the magic seemed to pass. James sat up to the sound of a bell, not a chime, but a little rascal up to no good. He knew he had to go, back to his life, back to his reality.

As he got up and started to walk away, he turned around and looked down at the boy with his head in the stars one last time. A boy he just met, but felt like he knew lifetimes over.

Frankie sensed this and turned his head smiling at James. ‘Meet me here in a year’, Frankie said.

‘Meet me here in a year and tell me you chased your dreams and did what you wanted to do, so at least it was one of us who fought. At least one of us made a difference.’

A simple promise was made that day.

An unbreakable bond, an unlikely connection.

 

1. James, born in March of 2004, is a Pisces. He has blonde shaggy hair, green eyes that change with emotion, a warm skin tone, gold piercings all up and down his ears, and frown lines from squinting too much. He loves art, photography, vintage cinema, plants (specifically succulents—cacti if we’re really going there), and cats. He dislikes liars, bad endings, big crowds, anything fast and cheating.

2. Frankie,  born in August of 2004, Frankie is a Virgo although he has some Leo traits - or maybe that’s just because he’s Italian. Tall and athletic, with dark-brown short hair and deep brown eyes, he’s covered in pizza toppings most of the time, and sun-kissed skin all year round. He loves soccer, old episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, the beach, summer and dislikes the cold, superficial people, bad cooking and cars - now.

 

. . .

 

Italiano / Italian ]

Il principe Ali, il vecchio persiano irascibile di James, era fuori a girovagare per le strade, troppo distratto dagli avanzi di cibo lasciati da qualcuno o affascinato da qualche randagio soriano per sentire il richiamo di James.

In qualsiasi altra notte non sarebbe importato, ma James sarebbe tornato a Sydney con la sua famiglia in mattinata e avrebbe iniziato il suo primo giorno di università più tardi quella settimana.  L’estate era ufficialmente giunta al termine.

Non voleva andare a studiare economia così come il resto della sua famiglia a casa. Anzi, voleva rimanere qui a Melbourne con la zia e studiare fotografia e arte – voleva scrivere il proprio destino, lontano dalle aspettative generazionali.

Mentre camminava per i vicoli alla ricerca del suo fastidioso principe, si imbatté in un ragazzo sdraiato sul pavimento, con le mani sotto la testa, che fissava il cielo desiderando di essere lassù.

A giudicare dal grembiule accasciato sul pavimento, probabilmente stava vivendo un solitario momento di sollievo.

Sembrava tranquillo e James non voleva spaventarlo. Con la coda dell’occhio, il ragazzo - Frankie - vide una luce e incuriosito inclinò la testa verso destra, solo per ritrovarsi a fissare gli occhi saggi di un ragazzo, più o meno della sua età, con i capelli biondi e luminosi.

“Scusa, non volevo spaventarti. Sto solo cercando il mio gatto, il principe Ali, un persiano grigio che sembra sia sempre arrabbiato. L’hai visto?”. Disse James.

Dopo un attimo di riflessione, Frankie si voltò e tornò a guardare il cielo notturno. Lui rispose,

“Probabilmente è dall’altra parte del negozio. Tutti i gatti della città finiscono lì quando buttiamo la pizza”.

“Grazie”, disse James.

Ma prima che si girasse per andarsene, la curiosità ebbe la meglio su di lui.

“Perché sei sdraiato sul pavimento, non è un po’ sporco?”

Frankie sorrise.

“Mi piace il pavimento, è un punto d’appoggio. Solido. L’unica cosa nella vita che ha un senso quando tutto il resto un senso non ce l’ha”.

James non sapeva cosa ci fosse in quel ragazzo, ma sentiva una certa familiarità con lui, come una domanda dimenticata da tempo a cui doveva ancora dare una risposta. Si sentì posseduto, in una sorta di trance estiva, e si sdraiò accanto allo sconosciuto seguendo il suo sguardo verso la Via Lattea ed oltre il cosmo.

James andò incominciò a raccontargli dei suoi sogni sulla fotografia. Frankie, per secondo, spiattellò la sua voglia sfrenata di studiare per diventare un paramedico, invece di continuare con l’azienda di famiglia. Così due ragazzi, di fronte a scelte difficili, sfrecciavano nello spazio muovendosi tra il caos, mentre le persone attorno restavano immobili. 

Mentre i ragazzi si confidavano l’uno con l’altro, raccontando segreti che non avevano mai condiviso con nessuno prima, l’ora scoccò la mezzanotte e la magia sembrò svanire. James si alzò al suono di una campana, neanche un rintocco, ma un piccolo furfante che non aveva intenzione di fare nulla di buono. Sapeva di dover tornare alla sua vita, tornare alla sua realtà.

Mentre si alzava e cominciava ad andarsene, si girò e guardò per l’ultima volta il ragazzo con la testa tra le stelle. Un ragazzo che aveva appena incontrato, ma che gli sembrava di conoscere da una vita.

Frankie lo percepì e girò la testa sorridendo a James.

“Incontriamoci qui tra un anno”, disse Frankie.

“Ci vediamo qui tra un anno e mi dirai che hai inseguito i tuoi sogni e che hai fatto quello che volevi fare. Almeno uno di noi due ha combattuto. Almeno uno di noi ha fatto la differenza”.

Quel giorno fu fatta una semplice promessa.

Un legame indissolubile, una connessione improbabile.

    George Tzintzis

    George Tzintzis is an aspiring author who thinks in frequencies and feels in vibrations. When he’s not writing about past lives or coaching the next generation of gymnasts, he’s either shuffling his tarot deck or conversing with spirits. Someone who always wears his heart on his sleeve, George hopes his writing will shift dimensions and spark love in the farthest reaches of the universe. One day, he hopes to find love himself.

    Connect with george on instagram

    Brooke Tuesday

    Brooke Tuesday is an Australian / Spanish multidisciplinary artist, currently located in Melbourne. Going back and forth between wanting to be abundantly simple and endlessly complex, she has a practice that engages in the art of collection and alteration. Through a lens of what is no longer, each work is viewed as a memory, aiming to crystallise the universal but rarely captured experience of imperfect relationships and the intensely consuming emotions that come with that.

    view more of Brooke's work

    Veronica Mejia

    Veronica Mejia is a recent MBA graduate passionate about Diversity & Inclusion. From Peruvian roots, raised in Italy and now living in Sydney. She loves to connect with people from different backgrounds and find similarities. She defines herself as a world citizen.

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