By Giulia Cozzi
Giulia returns to share another short story, inspired by The Beach at Trouville (1870) by Claude Monet. Check out Giulia's first short story for The Gallyry: The Garden.
Fresh air, finally. Aimée breathed deeply and inhaled the pristine air of the Cote D’Azur. She smiled. At last, a day off. At last, some time for herself. Time to take time; time to let life be without any preoccupations of what tomorrow will bring. Time to be herself and enjoy the little things that life brings. Those little things that are always there but difficult to notice when the pressure of the everyday is daunting. A smile. A flower. A friend’s hand. A beautiful dress. The sun in the sky. And the smell of home.
That was the first day off after months of hard work and Aimée was determined to make the most out of it. She wanted to let her mind wander, wander to unknown places, wander without restraints and simply be. The hat business in Paris was going very well: eight months after the opening, she could finally buy the space which meant no more rent to pay. Sales were increasing every day and customers kept coming back to buy the latest models to flaunt in summer. She used to sell to bold women who were in search of a unique style, a style that could characterize them, make them stand out, make their strong personality emerge through their bizarre hats and odd dresses. All the hats Aimée made, with the precious help of her loyal assistant and friend Bella, were unique, extravagant and highly unusual. In the 1930s, hats looked very much alike: squared, minimal and falling on one side. Aimée wanted to make something different, something that could allow women to express their true self and feel confident. She wanted to create hats that made a statement. And she succeeded. She was actually making a profit out of her dream. She hinted a smile: to all who did not believe in her and her dream; to all who were sceptical about her talent and her ability to conduct a business; to all who did not help her. To all of them, she hinted a satisfied smile. After years of hard work and sacrifice, she made it. And today, it was a day to simply enjoy success.
The sun was up in the sky, yet every now and then a group of clouds would come in and play around with light, creating fascinating contrasts. The water was a beautiful blue that captured the eyes and the soul. People were chatting happily around the beach, making jokes, laughing and sunbathing. The atmosphere was cheerful and still. No expectations, no rush, no worries. Simply sun, sea, hot sand and friends. Aimée looked at Bella, immersed in a fashion newspaper, and felt blessed. Bella was her best friend, her business partner and the kindest person she had ever encountered in her life. Ready to stand by her side, even in the most potent storms. Aimée could never thank her enough for her support and strong temperament, for her genuine way of approaching life even in the toughest situations. On that day, she felt in peace. She felt in peace with herself, with society, with the world, with nature. She felt in the right place at the right moment. A wonderful Sunday afternoon by the beach to celebrate beauty, love and dreams. Aimée sighed in satisfaction. Bella turned the page and glanced at the friend. She could sense Aimée’s happiness and this made her smile. She deserved all of it.
After a lovely afternoon spent reading, talking, laughing and staring at the sea, the two friends decided it was time to leave. It was time to go back to real life and embrace it. But before leaving that paradise, as the sun was going down, the two friends looked at each other and smiled in silence. A subtle sign of mutual love and support.