Love this, like I love all of your Marcello stories. Please keep posting them!
Is it a dream?
All of a sudden, Marcello wakes up and realizes that he is writing in the garden of God. He can tell, just because he's a goddamn writer. But, is it a dream?
Many times in his life he has wondered what the garden of God would be like. Marcello even wrote a treatment about it but he never had the guts to pitch it. He was concerned over how his audience would react, let alone the studio executives, they simply wouldn't want to produce this script, Marcello had concluded. "The story is not consistent with the style that has made you successful," someone had told him when Marcello asked for clues.
Marcello thinks, "Maybe I am dead and experiencing the after life. When and how did I die, though? I can't remember dying."
Marcello, flustered by his increasing confusion, only knows that the garden of God looks exactly as he described it in the two-page treatment that is sleeping forever in one of his file folders. Incidentally, the treatment's working title was, "Writing In The Garden of God."
His arms resting on a round solid marble table as white as a word processor blank page, Marcello rubs his bare feet against the grass and the shamrocks. His seat, a hand carved marble bench that matches the table color, feels so comfortable.
It must be a friggin' dream, he keeps saying to himself.
He can see in the distance, an horizonless corridor cut through a forest populated with gigantic, unclassified trees, as if an immense golf court with no holes. The ornamental flowers between the trees, the plants, the shrubs, the topiaries. This is every goddamn writer's dream, to see the product of his imagination come real --but, is it real? Or is it a dream?
Marcello whispers, It must be a fucking dream. I am not dead, am I?
Marcello, getting up and feeling all of his muscles sharp and stimulated as though he were the adolescent he once was, takes in the crisp air and sprints toward the buzz coming from about a mile away, beyond the trees. Marcello, running a race against the piercing questions in his head --Is it a dream? Am I dead?-- finds out that the buzz has a shape, dozens of naked men and women following a six-foot, lanky man in white robes. They are chanting in celestial harmony, a song that Marcello, however, cannot fathom. It sounds like a chorus made of as many languages as there are on Earth.
And a few feet above the crowd, five winged women, just like Marcello once imagined angels would look like. Forget the sexless angels that his Catholic priest in Napoli used to lecture about as he brandished the New Testament reciting the gospel of Matthew. Marcello has long chosen to believe otherwise, angels must be unique females, the kind of Sports Illustrated models with wings, that is.
"You seem lost, brother," the lanky man in white robes speaks.
"As a matter of fact, I am clueless," says Marcello as he waves and smiles at one of the angels.
"Then you should join us. Follow me and I will help you find what you are seeking."
"Why should I do that?"
"Because you are as much lost as the others," says the man while gesturing at the crowd that now has stopped chanting.
But Marcello is ignoring him, his eyes locked in the sight of a woman in the crowd, the woman he doted on when he was in college. The woman he many times told how much he loved her. The woman who was the epitome of unrequited love. Alas, the things a man does for a woman when he is young, his heart still in one wholesome piece. It is so weird, Marcello says to himself, to bump into her in these circumstances.
"Anna? Is that you?"
The woman is shocked when she hears her name. Not recognizing Marcello at first, she twists her head in a jerky way towards the voice that just called her.
"Anna, what are you doing here? Are you dead?" Marcello, a mix of frustration and fear starts to overtake him.
"I don't know," Anna says. "I just can't remember what happened to me. I was home, winding down after a hard day. I fell asleep and when I woke up I was with these people. What's going on, Marcello?" Anna, a shadow of despair in her words.
"Don't worry, Anna." Marcello starts towards the crowd but the lanky man blocks him with his long arm.
"You can be with Anna if you join us, Marcello. You can stay with her forever if you want. But you must come with us, Marcello. Follow me," says the man.
Ignoring him, Marcello speaks to Anna.
"It must be a fucking dream, Anna. We can't be dead. We still have so many things to do in life, don't we?"
"Yeah," says Anna. "Maybe someone is dreaming us, Marcello. How do we get out of this?"
"You must follow me," the lanky man barks, the five winged women hovering above him as if ready to come down to his defense.
"Why do you keep saying it, dude?" Marcello, a drop of furious sweat on his forehead. "Who the fuck says that I must follow you? I am a free spirit. I live in America, ferchrissake."
"This is not America," says the man. "You belong to the community now. We have our set of rules. I lead. You follow. That's what the Sacred Book mandates."
"What happens if I don't obey?"
"Well..." Surprise on the lanky man's face. "You just remain on your own, away from our community, all by yourself."
Marcello, almost coruscating with the fury of the free, hits the lanky man's arm down, strides up to Anna, grabs her arm and takes her away from the crowd.
"Then so be it. We'll be on our own," Marcello says. Anna nods.
The lanky man in white robes shakes his head in quiet resignation. Now he raises his arms, now he looks up to the metallic blue skies, now he sings, now he sobs. And the crowd resumes the chanting and starts moving after his lead.
Marcello holds Anna, tightly, and he keeps doing so even after the crowd has dwindled to a buzz again, an invisible dot in the horizonless garden of God.
Marcello, his soul flooded with the joy that comes from getting a shot again at a long lost love, smiles.
"I know something for sure. We are not dead, Anna."
"Then what are we doing here, Marcello?"
"I think that you are right" Marcello says. "Somebody is dreaming us."
Then the two of them embrace and let their bodies frolic down the velvet grass.
And they kiss and make love for the first time ever.
And they tell how much they have thought of each other more often than not.
And they kiss and make love again.
And they feel, for the first time ever, so uninhibited, so free, so true to themselves.
And Marcello is so inundated with the memories of a grand love, the kind of love that only exists in a dream.
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