In Between Continents

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.

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  1. #1 by Jennifer walmsley on October 31, 2010 - 9:11 am

    Loved this. A short story filled with detail and great sense of places with its dangers told in a casual style. The ending made me say to myself, ‘Oh! No!’

  2. #2 by S de Assaf on October 31, 2010 - 9:46 am

    Unusual images, loved the trail of poems I magined them like a path made by the moon on the sea.

  3. #3 by Tom Remer Williams on October 31, 2010 - 2:57 pm

    Many thanks for your comments, and to TPG for publishing this!

  4. #4 by Mimis on November 1, 2010 - 3:42 pm

    Very cinematic, could easily make a dream-like sequence for a short film. Ah, but again, aren’t all short stories a bit like mini scripts? And vice versa? :-)

  5. #5 by Leah on November 3, 2010 - 8:15 am

    Beautiful writing! Totally captured me.

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