The Old Soldier remembers what it was like to be young and in love…What? I knew you wouldn’t believe me. Oh, my blogging and writing brothers and sisters of such little faith. I’ll prove it to you. But before I do let’s get a couple of things out-of-the-way…
I’m always encouraging readers to take out a free subscription to the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette. Look at all this stuff around here. If you’re a blogger or a writer, you can’t beat this content with a stick. So don’t miss an issue. Have every issue delivered to your inbox. The subscription tab is at the top of the page.
The other thing is, you do know The Gazette has a flash fiction contest, right? That tab is at the top of the page, too…
These warm, sunny days in Pittsburgh are perfect for walking. The Old Soldier takes long walks. And while I’m walking I think about love and life and sex and death and money and writing. You know, the usual.
Well, today I took a long walk from my apartment in Oakland near the University of Pittsburgh into the Bloomfield neighborhood and I saw a poster in a store front window. The poster was about this year’s Bloomfield “Little Italy Days” Festival which will be held on September 24, 25 and 26. The poster reminded me of a flash fiction story that I wrote a few years ago about the festival. This is the story that I wrote.
La Dolce Vita
Bloomfield is a neighborhood in Pittsburgh. Because of the large number of people of Italian heritage living in the neighborhood, Bloomfield is known as “Little Italy.” For three days every year during the nice weather a food festival is held.
Food booths line both sides of Liberty Avenue. The smell of hot sausages, green peppers and onions and many kinds of pastas and their sauces cooking fill the air. There are also stands cooking and grilling non-Italian foods like Chinese fried rice with beef, shrimp and chicken and all kinds of egg rolls. Other food stands serve gyros, shish kabob, humus, ribs, kielbasa, hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken. There are many stands that sell things a customer cannot eat but the things are nice to buy.
The songs of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin issue from large speakers. The crowds flow leisurely back and forth. The crowds are made up of people of many different ethnic backgrounds. Adults push babies in baby carriages. At different times during the day musicians and singers perform on a stage setup on a blocked-off side street. Sometimes the singers sing in Italian. Above the heads of the crowds, on flag poles up and down the avenue, the red, white and green bars of the Italian flag snaps in the breeze.
Brad Wilson was happy. He was happy because Kristin Clayton walked beside him. He’d known her for more than a year and now they were both sophomores at the University of Pittsburgh; but this was the first time he’d actually asked her out. He was pretty sure she liked him. They’d spent a lot of time together freshman year with mutual friends but this was the first time he’d actually asked her out just by herself.
“Brad, look,” Kristin said. “Smoothies.”
“I love smoothies.”
They waited in line and he bought two from the woman behind the stand and gave one to Kristin.
“Thank, you,” she said.
The two continued slowly strolling with the crowd.
She said, “It’s good.” She smiled up at him.
“It is good.”
They kept strolling. Overhead, the flag of Italy snapped in the warm breeze. Brad was working on his courage.
“Ah, Kristin?” he said.
“Hummmmmmmm?” She was watching the sights.
“Ah, well, see I was thinking. I mean maybe…Well I really like you and, ah, we’ve known each other for more than a year now and like I was thinking maybe you would like to be my girlfriend.”
She stopped walking and looked at him. He could see she was confused.
He said, “I mean no pressure. I mean we’re really good friends and that’s…I really like us being good friends. I like doing things together.” He thought, that was weak. Man, that was so lame.
In silence they strolled on. He thought, think of something to say. Quick, think of something to say.
Kristin, concentrating on her smoothie, said, “I was kind of hoping that I was your girlfriend.”
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