by Tom Remer Williams
I spent the summer of 2003 working my way south through Italy. I filled a notebook along the way with sketches and stories, like the time I lost my glasses from the window of the night train and woke in Rome to a shortsighted hangover, or when a lizard in Campania led me to a phone in the scrub, which led me in turn to a cliff-top party above a phosphorescent sea, and a year-long affair of the heart.
When I bottomed out in Sicily the notebook was almost full. I bought a boat ticket to Tunisia and slept rough in the docks at Trapani, fighting off dogs and cat-sized cockroaches. I woke to find my pockets had been slit and my wallet was gone.
The dawn boat departed at noon; I finally rested on deck. Later I woke beneath an amethyst sky, midway between continents, and hundreds of leaves of paper lay scattered in our wake. These floating pages – a trail of pale geometries extending to the horizon – brought poems to my mind. I reached for my notebook but it had gone from my bag, and only then did I notice the boy by my backpack, shedding my stories a page at a time, and sending them spinning into the sea.
Tom Remer Williams would write more stories if he rode his bike a bit less.