Visited Mantua, Padua and Venice last weekend. Wandered around churches, saw Giotto’s Arena Chapel, pondered orgiastic frescoes, wondered if I had anything in common with Cupid and Psyche, and looked at silver shoes. 4-Euro bottles of Chianti, a can of Hell Bier, naked skeletal trees by still rivers that waft the scent of sewage to my nose. Bus rides and smiles that convince me of my awkwardness. Dingy carnivals, water-shooting clown contraptions, giants wielding decapitated heads and massive jars of nutella everywhere. Wandering down twisted alleyways, licking my less-massive stash of nutella off my fingers, sand under my shoes and the sunset fading into the sea. Shells crunch under my clumsy shoes. There are sparrows delicately clutching my fingertips in a whir of wings and feathers, eating Pringles out of my palm, and I am murano glass object after murano glass object, bewitched in sparkly delight and girlish fascination. I’ve been in too many other places that claim to be the ‘venice of the east’, but now I’m really here, watching the sleek gondolas slide elegantly across the water, smooth black and gold empty waiting for lovers to giggle their way hand-in-hand over the water.
Riding the train by night and it wouldn’t be a lie to say I’m angry. It’s a shame. Watching the night-lights go by, taking me home, taking me home. Maybe I’ll be able to smile by the time my feet touch the Florentine flagstones and I make the half-hour long walk home alone at midnight, by the duomo, by the smiling drunk Italian men, by the loud drunk American students, by the scruffy old scary dude who tries to push weed on everyone who walks by every single night in the Piazza Annunziata, on on on down the Viale, by the graveyard and to a white-doored apartment and my bed pressed up against a white curved wall.
I’d be pressed up, curled up, warm, breathing and pliant. I’d be here. I am here. Waiting.