Morning in Amaseno

Submitted into Contest #235 in response to: Start your story with one or two characters going for a run.... view prompt


Friendship Adventure

Monica and Courtney, cousins bound by blood and friendship, embarked on their morning run through the quaint streets of Amaseno, a picturesque Italian village nestled amidst Monti Lepini and olive trees. The cobblestone paths echoed beneath their synchronized strides as they breathed in the crisp morning air, their laughter harmonizing with the chirping of birds.

Monica, with her olive skin and espresso-colored eyes, radiated the warmth of her Italian heritage. Born and raised in Amaseno, she knew every corner of the village like the lines of her own palm.

Beside her, Courtney embodied the spirited curiosity of an American abroad. Her long, sun-kissed hair trailed behind her as she eagerly explored the narrow alleys and ancient facades that adorned Amaseno. Her milk chocolate eyes sparkled with wonder, absorbing the rich history and vibrant culture of Italy with every passing moment.

As the morning sun ascended above the horizon, Monica and Courtney concluded their invigorating run and made their way to La Centro Bar, the heart of Amaseno's social scene. 

Courtney's eyes lit up as she greeted the barista with a warm smile, and a friendly morning, “Buongiorno”, her enthusiasm contagious as she ordered her favorite Italian pastry. Though she was a visitor in this charming village, Courtney felt a sense of belonging in the comforting embrace of Monica's homeland.

For Courtney, Amaseno was a treasure trove of new experiences, a vibrant tapestry woven with the threads of tradition and modernity. And for Monica, it was a familiar embrace, a sanctuary where memories were etched in the stone walls and cobblestone streets.

As they watched the world unfold beyond the confines of La Centro Bar, Monica and Courtney knew that their journey together was just beginning.

La Centro Bar, nestled within the heart of the small Italian village of Amaseno, exudes an irresistible charm that effortlessly draws locals and visitors alike. As Courtney steps inside, the warm aroma of freshly brewed espresso envelops her senses, mingling with the sweet scent of pastries and the subtle notes of roasted beans. The air hums with a comforting buzz of conversation and the occasional clink of porcelain cups against saucers.

Outside the quaint coffee bar, the scenery transports Courtney into a picturesque Italian idyll. Verdant olive trees stretch across rolling hills, their emerald foliage bathed in the gentle glow of the morning sun. The cobblestone streets wind through the village, flanked by rustic stone houses adorned with vibrant flower boxes overflowing with blossoms of every hue. And towering above it all, the majestic peaks of the Monti Lepini stand sentinel, their rugged silhouettes painted in shades of amber and gold as dawn breaks across the horizon.

As Courtney savors her cappuccino and her flaky, chocolate-filled croissant, at the counter, she observes the eclectic mix of patrons that frequent the bar, each one a character in the tapestry of Amaseno life.

First, there's Giovanni, the jovial old storyteller with a twinkle in his eye and a laugh that fills the room. He sits at a corner table, regaling his friends with tales of bygone days and mischievous escapades, his hands animated as he weaves his tales with a theatrical flair.

Next to Giovanni, there's Sofia, the fiery-haired artist whose canvas is her sanctuary. With a sketchbook in hand and a dreamy expression on her face, she sits in quiet contemplation, her nimble fingers bringing to life the vibrant colors and bustling energy of the village on paper.

And then there's Luca, the youngest son of the head of the hunting team who kill wild boar almost every morning up closer to the mountains.  He’s quiet and reserved.  Leaning against the bar with a wistful smile, he hums softly, his soulful tunes adding a melodic backdrop to the rhythm of Amaseno life.

Sergio, the town drunk, cuts a figure of both pity and amusement in the quaint streets of the old-world Italian village. With a weathered face and unkempt appearance, he embodies the consequences of a life lost to the bottle. Sergio's ability to speak Italian, Dutch, and broken English reflects his varied experiences and the fragments of a life that once held promise.

Holding what’s left of his five teeth in his mouth, Sergio can be heard yelling, “Bellissschhhiimaaa” at the local older women, and little girls on their way to church.

In the morning, Sergio can be found recounting the tales of his drunken escapades from the night before, piecing together fragmented memories with slurred speech and bleary eyes. His stories often meander through the fog of alcohol, weaving between exaggerated accounts of military service and lamentations about his failed marriage. These morning narratives serve as a glimpse into Sergio's troubled past, a past that he struggles to reconcile with the harsh realities of his present.

As the day wears on, Sergio's descent into inebriation becomes more pronounced. He traverses the cobblestone streets, stumbling from bar to bar, his presence met with a mixture of tolerance and exasperation from the locals. Despite their attempts to ignore him, Sergio's persistent presence becomes an unavoidable fixture of daily life in the village.

By evening, Sergio inevitably finds himself at the only bar willing to entertain his late-night indulgences. His haggard appearance and the weight of his losses are evident in every stumble and slurred word. The loss of his wife, a wound that refuses to heal, hangs heavily upon him, casting a shadow over his once vibrant spirit.

In Sergio, the townsfolk see a reflection of their own vulnerabilities and shortcomings, a reminder of the thin line that separates fortune from misfortune. Yet, amidst the haze of alcohol and regret, there lingers a glimmer of humanity, a faint hope that one day Sergio may find solace amidst the ruins of his shattered life.

Next to Courtney is her cugina, Monica.  She silently commands respect as enters the bar, and all the men greet her with a friendly, “Buongiorno”.  Monica is a striking figure amidst the traditional ambiance of their old-world Italian village. Unlike the typical inhabitants of the town, Monica stands out with her distinctive features and unconventional style. She possesses a captivating beauty characterized by her beautifully curvy figure, reminiscent of classic Hollywood allure. Her skin boasts a flawless tan, adding to her allure as she moves with an air of confidence through the cobblestone streets.

What truly sets Monica apart is her hair, reminiscent of iconic figures from different eras. Her locks, a shade of almost white blonde, much like Marilyn Monroe's legendary hair. Yet, keeps her hair short, reminiscent of the petite elegance of Mia Farrow, adding a unique charm to her persona.

As a hairdresser, Monica's expertise shines through in her own distinct style. She effortlessly blends elements of rockabilly fashion into her appearance, creating a look that exudes edginess and individuality. Her choice of clothing and accessories reflects her rebellious spirit, further emphasizing her divergence from the traditional norms of the town.

In Courtney's eyes, Monica is nothing short of a rockstar. She admires her cousin's confidence, creativity, and the fearless way she embraces her identity. Despite being an outlier in their quaint village, Monica's presence injects a sense of vibrancy and modernity into the community, challenging the conventions of the past with her unmistakable flair.  Even the way Monica stands at the bar, sipping her espresso, she looks the part that of an actress in Hollywood, posing for all of the paparazzi.

As Courtney takes in the sights and sounds of her beloved family town, she can't help but marvel at the rich tapestry of stories and personalities that make Amaseno truly come alive.

Courtney sets down her empty cappuccino cup onto the saucer with a soft clink, the remnants of the frothy drink lingering at the bottom. With a graceful motion, she motions for Monica, her cousin, catching her attention amidst the lively chatter of the La Centro Bar. "Pronto?" she asks, the word carrying with it the anticipation of the adventures that await them.

Their cups left behind on the La Centro Bar counter, a silent tribute to the moments shared in the cozy confines of the café, Courtney and Monica make their way to their Vespas. The sun, a golden orb ascending over the horizon of Monti Lepini, casts a warm glow over the landscape, promising a day filled with possibilities.

As they mount their Vespas, the engines purr to life, a symphony of anticipation for the journey ahead. Courtney and Monica, two kindred spirits bound by blood and shared experiences, embark on their expedition to the beaches of Terricina.

With the wind tousling their hair and the promise of adventure guiding their hearts, they ride off into the sunrise, leaving behind the familiar sights and sounds of the village. The roads ahead unfurl like ribbons of possibility, leading them towards the turquoise waters and sandy shores of Terricina, where the day awaits them with open arms.

February 02, 2024 14:13

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Joseph Ellis
12:42 Feb 08, 2024

Really nice slice-of-life story Courtney. I enjoyed the cast of characters and your writing is solid. You have me Googling Amaseno to compare with my mind's eye. For a suggestion, I'd have loved some more dialogue, even one line from each character could add a lot to their characterizations. Like how “Bellissschhhiimaaa” adds a lot to what we know of Sergio in just one word.


Courtney Caruso
15:27 Feb 08, 2024

Thank you. Amaseno is my heart. It is a small farm town where everyone knows everyone. But it’s far from Rome and it’s kind of in the middle of nowhere surrounded by mountains but it’s like a second home to me. I agree with more dialogue but I wanted to try and work on being more descriptive because I don’t think I was strong in that department before.


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