The Magic Fountain
It was all just so magical; the twisted houses were magical, the Gothic church built on Roman ruins was magical, even the beaches sitting side by side with the port and the hawkers were magical (although you had to ignore the fat, dead, blue rats to retain that magic).
But this, THIS was beyond magic, as though the supernatural world had been amplified by a double dose of fairy dust and wizards’ incantations.
The mist leapt up from the fountain with each beat of the music, on pointe through red, pirouetting through yellow and into green, then with a brise vole it leapt from pastel blue and landed on her cheek. The audience gasped at each movement of the water, and although she couldn’t really understand what they were saying, their smiles and the constant stream of phone flashes said it all.
Yes, magical. Beautiful. A tourist spectacle that would always be a crowd pleaser.
But that didn’t really matter, not really, she was just another tourist who had left her cynicism at home and was ready to be charmed.
The music ended and the fountain faded into gloom, and she joined in with the applause. She shifted in her seat, aware she was surrounded by strangers in the darkness, and she lightly touched her wallet under her jacket where her few euros remained; she wouldn’t save them from the hawkers only to have them stolen in the night.
Music swelled from the amps, a classic by Frank Sinatra, and she felt a wave of romance and nostalgia as the fountain pulsed back into life.
And that was when she saw them.
They swirled into view, their individual movements so in tune with each other that it took her a moment to realise that there were actually two of them. They spun together, laughing into one another’s eyes, silhouetted against the soft pink jets as Frank sang his song just for them.
She was all glitter and reflection, capturing the fountain’s dance in her drop earrings, and the pastel colours smeared themselves across her blonde hair. Her eyes glowed as they looked up at her tall partner, her long neck tilted up to catch his eyes.
And he. Oh he was the epitome of the Spanish silver fox, his white collared neck shirt unbuttoned only at the top and his trousers tailored to suit his tall, slim body. A gentle smile played on his lips, as he twirled her around and around, creating such a gravity with that spin that everyone’s eyes were drawn to them, until their orbit took them out of sight again, and the crowd was released.
She sighed. Now THAT was romance.
She loved that he was taller than her, loved his large, warm hand encompassing hers and the press of his other hand on her back, but what she really loved was his grace. He swept her along effortlessly, his strength pinning her to him with one hand while his body pressed her backwards, their perpetual spin both delicious and terrifying.
She was afraid to look away, to break their momentum and rhythm, to lose this perfect moment in the night air; one misstep would bring their partnership to an end, and the thrill and fear clogged her throat and drew her mouth into a rictus smile. All she could see was his eyes, twin dancing jets cascading through the rainbow, her surroundings were only a flash of dark and light in the corner of her eye.
It was perfect, so perfect, and she didn’t want it to end, this dance of coloured light; she had no idea why he had suggested coming here tonight, it was something that out-of-towners came to, and yet when he had whispered “Let’s dance”, she had been unable to resist.
They spun again, and she was dusted with a fine mist; if she stayed this close to the fountain much longer she would melt, her hair and silk dress drooping, and everyone would know that her glamour was as imaginary as the magic inside the fountain.
The music picked up tempo, and the fountain sprayed them again, but she couldn’t let go, couldn’t stop, couldn’t ruin this moment.
It had been a whim, both to come here and to dance; it had felt right to bring her and show her off, because he knew that was what he was doing, displaying her to the crowds and at the same time claiming her for his own.
And he was right, they had stolen the fountain’s thunder, they were who everyone’s eyes turned to and followed.
Her right hand was cool and a little damp, but her back was still warm from her tanning in the afternoon sun, and he splayed his hand wide to catch as much of that warmth as he could. Her head was tilted up towards him, her eyes unwavering in their attention, her smile so bright that he couldn’t help but return it with his own. She was beautiful, her long blonde hair trailing down her long slim neck and back, its colour shifting through the rainbow as the lights switched around her. He knew she’d chosen her dress for the way it complimented her body, hugging her torso until it reached her hips where it floated away, and he was flattered that she had worn it for him.
She laughed, and he smiled down at her, aware of how they must look to the people around them and wondered at the answering silence in him. He wondered why he wasn’t caught up as well, caught up in her, but instead judged both of them for this facade.
She was beautiful.
And just like the crowd gathered around the fountain, his friends and family all thought they fitted together like a jigsaw, but lately he’d only found a stillness in his heart whenever he’d looked at her, and it had begun to seep into their conversation and kisses. He felt that as a pair they were the substance of a greeting card, all two dimensional hearts and platitudes. She was never late, everything always perfect and stylish, and they never argued. Everything was always so light and easy and far too simple.
They spun again, and he felt her grip tighten on him; was that fear in her eyes? He spun her faster, hoping to catch and hold onto that look, but it disappeared into the darkness along with that small leap in his heart.
And despite his smile, he wished for that look of fear to return again.