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  • Writer's pictureThe Fake Guru

The Girl under the Yellow Umbrella

Updated: Jan 15, 2022

THE SUN BURNED in the sky.

It was just past midday, and I was thankful for the cool blast of the AC in my eclectic Italian rental car. The gear box was finicky, but the bluetooth and ventilation system worked fine – so overall, I gave the glittering, teal-colored Opel Karl a thumbs up.

I was transitioning inland; from a city on the eastern coast of Otranto, Puglia, to a city on the western coast named Gallipoli. There is little in between these ports but agriculture, scattered villages and dusty highways – and, looking out the window, the landscape had only yellow, crusty fields on offer. The vegetation is barren and browned. It’s all hot air, dust, and hot tires on the tarmac. The dashboard showed 140km/h. I was eager to make it to my destination.

That’s when I saw her. Slouched in a plastic chair under a bright yellow umbrella, gaze downcast, she was melting away on the side of the road. Her head was slumped on her hand. She wore a bikini made of the whitest white and a pair of butterfly sunglasses made of the blackest black. Her vivid appearance made a stark contrast to the desert landscape, and as I zoomed by, for a split second I entered a parallel dimension:

I found myself at an intersection between a Dalian painting and Warholian pop art. At any moment this Marylin Monroe-esq girl and her surroundings – bright yellow umbrella, white bikini, plastic chair, and all – would lose solidity and droop down the wall in a gloopy mess of molten lava. I was alone on another planet and there was nothing and no one else there but her and I, and in that instant, when time stopped, I did not know who she was, why she was there or whether she was sleeping, dead, alive or even real.

Maybe, I thought, she’s just working.

Then time unfroze and I flew by.


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