Miss Monday Morning by Rachele Salvini

Right. First of all, it was Monday morning.

It was raining. I had woken up at five a.m. and I had caught the train at six to be in class at eight. Monday morning, you know.

I had put something on in such a hurry that I hadn’t had the time to look out of the window, so I hadn’t realized that the weather was fucking bad.

As I got out of the train in Florence’s railway station, I started thinking about who-the-hell-knows-what. I was trying to cover my head with my own scarf. The laces of my boots were whipping my calves, but I didn’t feel like stopping to tie them up. I didn’t feel like it at all.

I was in a bad mood. I strode all the way from the railway station to the Dome of Florence, trying to walk under the roofs, on the right side of the pavement. I didn’t want to buy an umbrella. I was wondering what people could think of me, especially the traveling salesmen, who were selling umbrellas and windbreakers under all the traffic lights.

I avoided them. It wasn’t a matter of snobbery. I couldn’t really afford to buy a fucking umbrella, because if I had taken one, I would have had to skip lunch at the end of the week. And I’m not even talking about a lavish meal. I usually ate a sandwich or something like that. But still, I couldn’t afford an umbrella. Especially if I wanted to have a drink on the weekend.

And I definitely wanted that.

Student life in Italy is harder than it seems. I should have stopped smoking and spending all that money on cigarettes as well, but I tried not to think about it. I couldn’t afford to live in Florence by myself and finding a job at my age was impossible. So I had to catch a train every day and travel for one hour and a half. And then come back again.

Anyway, the point is that I was walking in the rain, right beside the majestic Dome of Florence, and my boots were making an awful and wet sound on the ground. I was thinking about all that stupid shit every normal student thinks about in the fucking rain, on a fucking Monday, at almost fucking eight o’ clock in the morning.

How life sucks. Or sex.

Honestly, Florence had started to annoy me for a long list of reasons that I’m not going to tell you, but, to make a few examples, one was how bad my university was, and another was my life as a commuter.

Every evening I saw tourists going out for nights of revelry and sex. Meanwhile, I was dragging myself to the railway station to go back home. I used to try studying on the stupid train, but I always ended up sleeping and drooling on my own shoulder.

So, my promenades around Florence were hardly nice. Besides, in that period I had the annoying sensation of wasting my time. My whole life was made of hours spent on the train and in class, tuition fees and anxiety. And as soon as I would have my degree, all I had was… Italy.

Not the beautiful, splendid Italy that tourists visit every year.

I was living in that kind of Italy that newspapers talked about. A country full of young, unemployed people: too many stereotypical thirty-year-old guys who still lived with their parents and who would cheer if they found a job in a call center. Even if they had studied to become lawyers or engineers.

I didn’t always think about that depressing stuff, of course. But as my graduation was imminent, I had started thinking about it more frequently. And I always ended up feeling fucking helpless. I was so young, active, full of energy, creative, and I wanted do so many things — but I felt like it wasn’t the right moment. Not yet. I had to follow the standard path. Studying for my exams and then get my degree. Slowly. I didn’t really know what to do with all my potential. So I was studying, attending classes and getting drunk in the weekend.

It was a stable equilibrium. It worked out well. I had taken all of my exams and also too many shots of tequila to avoid thinking about my life as a commuter.

Anyway, on that Monday I was thinking about one of those very cheerful things. I was probably glancing down to avoid the rain on my face, because I didn’t realize the presence of the guy until he grabbed me.

I looked up to face him, struck with terror. He was clutching my wool cape, but he wasn’t looking at me. Instead, he was talking to another guy that was selling windbreakers and umbrellas. I tried to wiggle out of his grip, but then I saw him stumping up five euros to the selling guy. He sent him away with a smile.

The guy turned to me, let go of me and shoved the umbrella into my hands. I looked at him, puzzled.

“I bought it for you to use it,” he said.

I was in front of him, too shocked to do anything, and it was still raining. The guy was standing there, looking at me and covering himself with his elegant blue umbrella.

“You shouldn’t have bought it. Hold on. I want to pay you back,” I replied, trying to reach for my purse.

“No, thanks,” he said, still looking at me.

“Well, thank you, but you’re making me feel uncomfortable. I want to pay for it.”

I didn’t know what to do. Strangers don’t buy things for you randomly, do they?

He looked me in the eyes for a few seconds. He was in his thirties. He gave me the impression of having a good job: he was wearing an elegant suit and pointed shoes. He was carrying a briefcase. He had blue eyes, maybe a bit too close to each other, and a thick dark reddish beard. And yes, he was handsome. Monday’s fucking good luck. The exception that proves the rule.

“Before you even think about it, no. I didn’t do it to hit on you. I don’t go round buying stuff for random chicks.”

“I didn’t even think about it,” I replied, maybe a bit harshly.

“Oh well, maybe you’re too polite or hypocritical to admit it, but I’m pretty sure you thought about it.”

He was right. Truth is, that even though he was right, he was starting to annoy me. He was cocky and seemed like one of those people who think they have seen and experienced everything.

And, most of all, he was standing right in front of me, looking at me with a disgusting, sly smile on his face.

“So, if going round buying stuff for chicks is not your favourite pick-up move, I must suppose that you just go round being an asshole,” I said.

Oops. Not nice.

He stared at me for a few seconds, as if he was wondering if he liked me or not. Then he smiled and covered me with his blue umbrella.

“Maybe you’re right, Miss Monday Morning. But something I know for sure is that, usually, preventing women from getting wet isn’t my preferred choice.”

He smirked. I gazed at him, but he kept a straight face.

“That was a good one,” I replied, seriously.

I was obviously being sarcastic. I tried to seem annoyed for a few seconds, but after a while we started laughing.

And, in that precise moment, I thought: if we were in a movie, we would fall in love immediately.

I started having fantasies about making out with him. I noticed his thin lips and his strong jawbone. I thought that I would have liked to meet him by night, in a bar or something, drinking tequila and having a laugh. Monday morning wasn’t the most romantic time.

I thought he had a sexy smile and I wondered how he looked like when he was naked. I thought about his ass, about his hairy legs. Maybe his hairs were as reddish and dark as his beard. I thought about his chest and his back and his shoulders and his hands — were they venous? Callous? Soft? Strong? I had to know.

I had a quick look. They were the venous kind. Great. No wedding ring.

“Are you making sure that I’m not married?” he asked, looking at me with his sly smile again.

“No. Just making sure you don’t have a gun.”

I really don’t know why I said that. I watched too many Tarantino’s movies, probably.

“Well no, I’m sorry. No gun. What about you? Do you have one?”

“In this moment I don’t know if I wish I did, but nope.”

And then, with that final nope, our conversation ended. Just like that. Poof.

It ended with the odd, typical silence between strangers.

I thought about saying something, but I didn’t know what to say. I looked at him and I spotted him glancing at my tits, but he immediately turned his eyes away. He fixed his tie and cleared his throat. He looked a bit awkward.

If you don’t ask me out, I’m going to kill you, I thought.

“Well, Miss Monday Morning.” he started.

“Thank you for the umbrella.” I interrupted him. I didn’t want to forget about it, but, most of all, when I was embarrassed I started talking nonsense. “You shouldn’t have, but thanks a lot.”

He shrugged. “Of course. I know how hard student’s life is. You were saving money for some tequila shots, right?”

I knew he was being a bit sarcastic, but he had hit it on the nail, more or less. And he had even guessed my favourite kind of shot. What an asshole. I had to go out with him.

I mean, the whole situation was exactly like in a movie. And my life was so ordinary. Boring. Strenuous. Repetitive. I needed romanticism and excitement. I only had sex with casual and boring students. He was intriguing, with his suit and his beard and his cockiness.

He had to ask me out. I had to fall in love. I couldn’t wait.

“Well, you’re damn right. Tequila shots, that’s my thing.” I answered, smiling at him.

Talking about drinks: it was the perfect moment for him to ask me something like do you want to take a drink with me, you sexy Miss Monday Morning?

But then, he surprised me again. He lifted his hand. I thought he was going to touch my arm or stuff, but he patted me on the back, as I was one of his pals.

“Good girl. And why, instead of drinking every fucking weekend, don’t you save money to go abroad, now that our beloved Italy is sinking in a sea of shit?”

I opened my mouth to speak, but, before I could think about anything to say, he walked away. As he had approached to me so suddenly, he went away just as quickly. He lifted his hand to greet me.

“Have a good day, Miss Monday Morning. Bye.”

“Bye.” I replied, puzzled. I was standing still, just next to the Dome.

My shoelaces were untied and my schoolbag was heavy on my shoulders.

I looked at the guy. He was walking away. His suit fitted him perfectly. I looked at his briefcase and at his blue umbrella.

He was taking long strides. You could only watch him and realize he was one of those guys who had succeeded in life.

He had found his place. He knew precisely where he was going.

And I was looking at him, with my scarf still on my head.

I watched him disappearing behind the Dome.

I glanced down. My new umbrella was in my hands. It was one of those small and cheap rainbow ones.

I thought of opening it, but then I realized it didn’t matter.

In the meantime, it had stopped raining.

Rachele Salvini is a 22 year old Italian student of Creative Writing.
She lives and studies in London, but she started writing in English last year, during a semester as visiting student at Sarah Lawrence College, NY.