The Gypsy

Anne was only ten years old when she was presented with the violin. She was homeless, spoke a little of several languages or a combination of them; dressed like the gypsy women in shades of yellow and red, having never wished other colours. She knew the black colar as a mourning sign, had once seen a woman dressed this way – a black lace veil covering her head and a rosary round her neck – a crow contrasting with the ochre coloured houses and the deep blue sky of Rome.

Anne owed nothing, just a golden bracelet with pendants on it in the shape of a half moon like the one she had once seen around a gypsy woman’s ankle. The woman was by the Fontana di Trevi, a wooden box by her side and a clove held by her teeth. Anne came near her, watched her profile, her shapely nose. The red petals touched the woman’s face, creating a vivid contrast on her tanned skin. She turned to Anne and smiled, then broke the stem and gave the upper part of the flower to the girl, a fluid draining from it – the white blood of the women with no identity.

And, next, the woman opened the box and took a violin out of it. She played a nameless song, filled with notes that were merely sounds without a nationality. She left the instrument with Anne and went away, walking in the compact sun, a veil descending over her back, a female outline disappearing in an alley. Anne never saw her again. She was not even sure if she had ever existed or if she was a ghost who had found in music her resting place.

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