Write something that begins with a character throwing a coin into a fountain
“Plink” went the coin I’d just thrown over my left shoulder into the Trevi Fountain. As did the second one, and the third. My parents had been massive Frank Sinatra fans, so I’d been force-fed all his early albums. Naturally, when I decided to visit Rome for my 40th birthday, I’d watched all the old films including “Three Coins in the Fountain” from which I’d learned the legend of the coins.
That done, I sighed whilst turning away, accepting that the outcome was in the lap of the gods. It was still early morning, because I’d been determined to beat crowds. Starting to stroll away, I was already pondering which pastry to have with my morning coffee at that pavement cafe I’d passed earlier when I heard a loud splash. Turning, I saw a uniformed man splashing about in the fountain. Walking closer, I realised he was collecting up all the coins. Gasping aloud, I dropped down onto the steps and felt the tears prick. I’d just thrown my coins into the fountain, how was the magic meant to work if they got picked straight up?
The emotions of the past year rose to the surface and flooded over. I felt better then, it was just too silly to have cried about some coins chucked in a fountain in the hope of some old legend coming true. Much more acceptable to cry about the difficult months that had led to my spending the weekend of my 40th birthday alone in Rome.
I stood up and started to hunt around in my handbag for a tissue, when I heard a quiet cough and felt a hand touch my elbow. I spun round, startled at being touched when I knew no-one. “I apologise” said a small bespectacled man holding out a clean handkerchief, “but I thought maybe you could use this?” He had such a kind face, I instantly regretted my reaction and hoped my voice demonstrated my genuine gratitude: “oh thank you, that’s really so kind of you.” He bowed and started to turn away, but I put out my hand and suggested: “may I buy you coffee and a pastry in return?” He smiled: “there is no need, but I would be happy to join you.”
Introducing ourselves, we walked together to the cafe. Over coffee and pastries, we got to know a little about one another. Carl had met his first wife throwing coins into the Trevi; this was his first time back in Rome after her death. He wasn’t my type and I felt safe in accepting his invitation to join him in sightseeing. We ended the trip firm friends.
Thereafter, every three months, we’d meet in a different European city for a long weekend of friendship, eating, drinking and sightseeing. When it came time for London, I persuaded Carl to stay a week, so he could meet my family and friends. The last evening, it became clear that Carl and Monica, my recently widowed sister, had eyes only for each other.
Six months later, back in Rome, back in front of the Trevi fountain, I made those same three wishes: to return to Rome, for a new romance and for marriage – but this time, for me. Then I walked back to the hotel to prepare for my role as bridesmaid to my sister. Waiting for me in reception was Werner, Carl’s best man. Spotting me he smiled and suggested: “coffee?”
Now he really was my type …
© 2016 Debra Carey