I had a glorious moment tonight when I remembered again why I’m here in Venice.
Because, and I say this with some embarrassment, there are occasional moments when I forget. Like when my feet are tired. Or when I’m lost, and not in the good way (say, if I can’t find the apartment while carrying two bottles of wine, and I’ve had to pee for thirty minutes). Or when I notice that every single damn person in Venice is with someone else. I have lonely little pathetic moments when I remember the times I’ve been here with loved ones, and how nice it was to have someone to chat with instead of being the perpetual eavesdropper. (And I chose to come alone. This was what I wanted. What I want. So it feels stupid to have these moments. But there it is.)
Every time I feel this way, I immediately find a cafe and I order either a cafelatte or a spritz, depending on whether it’s before or after three pm (the time is arbitrary to my own taste — I’ve seen people drinking at nine in the morning). I pull out my knitting or I write in my journal, and the world gets positively radiant. It’s amazing.
Tonight, I couldn’t decide what to do. I’d had stunning luck at finding yarn (cashmere at Lellabella!) and bad luck at finding the Hemingway exhibit I read about yesterday (I was a year late). The light was leaving the sky. Should I go home? Find dinner? Have a snack? A drink? Go grocery shopping? I stood on a bridge, confused and tired. Then I saw a tiny old woman in a wheelchair sitting in front of a cafe in Campo Santa Maria Formosa. I sat next to her. Buona sera, I said, and she looked surprised at being addressed by a stranger, but she responded politely if coolly.
I pulled out my knitting.
She did a double, then a triple take. Then she started grinning at me. I grinned back. At 6:26, the bells started ringing (in eighteen years of coming to Venice, I’ve never been able to figure out why or when bells ring). I sat in utter, complete joy to be exactly where I was.
She left shortly thereafter while the bells were still ringing, giving me one last grin and a tiny wave as her daughter pushed her chair away. Sadly, she’s not caught by the video below, but in this moment, I had tiny tears of complete and total joy.
These moments are why I’m here.
Get a Free Short Story!
Subscribe to get a free copy of Socks for Alex, a Cypress Hollow Short Story, compatible with all devices!