Tag Archives: Fellini

Beauty Like These Decades While Walking So Slowly in the Sunlight

Photograph by Jose Padua
Two decades ago I’m walking
down 18th Street when
two beautiful young women
walk my way and as we pass by
each other one of them looks at me
then looks to her friend and says
with an accent out of a Fellini movie
one sweet, luscious word—”bello.”
I’m pretty sure “bello”
means “beautiful” in Italian
but as always there’s that splinter sized
sliver of doubt that nonetheless
has the strength and power
of a mother bear protecting her cubs,
and I wonder if I’m wrong
and “bello” isn’t beautiful,
but is instead the same as
a musical term instructing the musician
If this is the case
the woman isn’t describing me
as beautiful
but rather is telling
her friend not to walk so fast
because it’s a hot summer day
and her feet are aching,
words that have
nothing to do with me.
When I get home
I look up the word to find
that it does indeed mean beautiful
and I look in the mirror
thinking “maybe” and “possibly”
because my hair did look good.
Nowadays if someone passing by me
were to say “bello”
I would skip looking in the mirror
and instead wonder,
on a day when I’m uncharacteristically
calm and content,
how that person had
managed to look
into my soul.

-Jose Padua

Photograph by Jose Padua