However, I do know now that once I look back years from these moments, I will remember them as absolutely glorious. I will most certainly believe with all my heart and all my being, that this was the peak of my life - this very moment, now. Awe, how the mind makes fools of us all. The consistency of its inaccuracies is an amazing crime, with a simple slip behind the veil. Though I can’t help but marvel at its optimistic favoritism.
My skin met the gentle, crisp warm breeze of the Italian summer sea air as I stepped through the open doorway of the train station. My heart was finally beginning to calm from the overexcited pace of moving row to row, pressing my nose to the glass of the train as it advanced across the lagoon. A beautiful sunset was masked atop the precious blue waters, highlighting the marshlands and the distant islands with a valiant orange glow.
As the sun abated, the alien footsteps of tourists likewise disappeared. Alone I wandered the whimsical stone alleyways, over canal bridges and passed tiny trinket shops. I felt pensive, mystified even, by the overall mood that entranced me as well as all of those who have experienced the glory that is Venice by night. Dim yellow-tinted lights revealed various paint-peeled and distressed wood-carved doors with rusted wrought iron hangings and well-curated window gardens.
I bypassed intertwined love-drunk couples and the occasional back alley cafe, filled with locals. Men were sitting around a tilted wood table, yammering loudly to one another with heavy Italian accents, as smoke billowed from their cigars and drink sloshed from their glasses in hand. From time to time I lingered nearby, watching these friendly, heated discussions. Often, I became fascinated by the men’s gestures and verbal articulations.
Farther and farther I wandered and the more comfortable I became, and all the more in love I fell. I imagined falling in love in this place and living in a serene Italian fantasy until my last breath. It was beautiful there, but I couldn’t quite pinpoint what made it so wonderful. Focusing on the details individually, I noticed that the buildings were crumbling, the canals occasionally gave off a putrid stench and the mood teetered, romance versus eeriness.
I hadn’t committed to much of a plan. I had no itinerary, just a blissful solitude. I planned nothing prior to arriving here, so I knew of no attractions or tourist-traps. My only want was to become lost, gloriously astray, so that I may find what it is that Venice truly wanted me to discover. I stumbled in all directions, changing course just for the hell of it. I deliberately claimed the fool, losing all sense of direction.
I continued in this manner for some time, until I discovered a large opening. Some sort of a square, lined with patio restaurants and shops, centered by a small lifeless fountain. Children and other locals pranced around, laughing and enjoying their time, without a care in the world. “Damn, I wish I grew up this way! There’s nothing of these sorts, but greed and selfishness back home in the States. It’s really quite sad,” I thought to myself, as I watched the merriment of the real importances of life paramount.
Moving slowly around the community square, I glanced storefront to storefront. I stopped from time to time, where I tasted fabulous Italian cheeses and wines. I chose to come away with some lemon gelato from a lovely elderly woman. She gave me the gesture of praying hands as I set off. I felt her meaning was that of wishing upon me future good-will. I turned down a corner alley, in the general direction of the Grand canal bridge Ponte dell'Accademia. My lack of destination had changed since the kind woman eagerly directed me toward the town center along the Adriatic sea.
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(Photo by © Brandon Elijah Scott / Eye & Pen)