by Stefania Zamagni, translated into English by Ruth Stephens
Chapter 2 – Never Say Never
The day of the exhibition arrives. Fabrizio knows this is his big chance.
The gallery is about to open and his paintings are on the walls. It’s a strange feeling to see them hanging there ready to be viewed by the public. To show one’s own work is a bit like revealing a part of oneself to strangers.
Fabrizio is nervous and impatient. His eyes are burning and his hands itch. Marianna comes towards him.
“Don’t worry. Everything will be fine.”
She squeezes his arm, looking into his eyes. That look gives him the reassurance he needs.
The bell rings, the door opens and the clients start coming in. The gallery staff serve cocktails and canapés to them as they arrive. People greet each other, chat, drink and file around the room in a continuous stream to see who is arriving. Clearly, this evening the gallery is the place to see and be seen!
There are at least a hundred people, yet Fabrizio notices that no one is looking at the paintings. Four artists are exhibiting, all young and unknown. For the gallery this is a gamble; no other gallery would take a risk of this kind but this is the most successful gallery in the city, so it can afford to take a risk.
Marianna introduces Fabrizio to one client after another. He smiles and nods but after a while he loses all sense of time. He has a glass in his hand that is mysteriously always full while his mind becomes ever less clear. He seems to be in the middle of a circle of lights, colours, people and laughter and everything blurs into a dream. Marianna is beautiful. But to Fabrizio, who is watching her, she seems unreachable.
He wakes up the next morning on a sofa in the gallery. He looks around him. There are empty glasses and the remains of food everywhere. The paintings are still on the walls, silent witnesses. He goes to look at them and sees that many of them have “sold” signs affixed to them, but not his.
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