Sunny's First Fellini by MD Kempis

She painted her toenails Love Her Madly Pink while Allen shot pictures of her with his Polaroid. A naked knee tucked under her chin, Sunny looked up and giggled like he was tickling her. Stop, she said, all flirty.

Many of Allen's favorite things end with ini. Zucchini and Puccini and tortellini. Was he conscious of this? Bikini--Sunny emphasized the last syllable-bikiiniiiiiiii-as she stretched out her smooth and thick legs. She'd finished polishing and recapped the bottle. He ignored the question and ordered her to get dressed, exhaling on his black thick-rimmed specs. They were going to see her first foreign film, a classic. Part of her ongoing cultural education.

People stared whenever they held hands. Allen could be Sunny's father, an old-ish father. Her friends referred to him as Humbert behind his back. She would shush them. La Strada, it said on the marquee, starring Anthony Quinn, Giulietta Masina, and Richard Basehart.

A young woman is sold by her widowed mother to a traveling circus artist for 10,000 lira. He's cruel to her, yet he's in love with her. The young woman meets The Fool and eventually runs away with him. Circus Artist finds them and kills The Fool.

What'd you think? Allen asked, as they walked back to the apartment. I guess it's poetic, haunting, she answered. Sunny didn't say she sort of related to the young woman. She barely understood any of its symbolism but she had to offer something sort of intelligent, something he often demanded. So sad and strange, she added. The impression it left like a fading hologram. Sometimes Allen couldn't leave his cramped head. Sunny didn't think he even heard her. Why do you like Fellini so much? she asked. Because of Fellini (and ok, Bergman too) he wanted to make movies. Had he ever told Sunny that? Yes. A few times.

Before they neared the corner, Sunny hopped on one foot and then jumped forward, legs apart. What the hell are you doing? asked Allen, his normally sad brows scrunched together. I just realized less than ten years ago I was still hopscotching, Sunny said. With all the other bambiniiiiii. And Sunny just kept hopping till she came to the imaginary court's end.

The traffic light turned yellow.


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