Title updated for the Daily Prompt: Moved to Tears
I am a better be safe than sorry kind of girl. Always have been. Like with most things, I chalk it up to being Russian. I don’t know what the equivalent saying in Russia would be…probably something like, “it’s better to turn in your neighbor than have to stand in line for toilet paper” but I’m not really sure.
This personal trait, coupled with the fact that I had a blisteringly early flight home, resulted in a four a.m. wake up call from J — who was just wrapping up a work dinner back in the Eastern Standard part of the world.
Grumpy is too cute of a word to describe my state of mind as I hauled my suitcase down to reception to pay my final respects to the Euro. Hatey would be a much better word.
The AC in the lobby had been turned off for the night, so I decided to wait for my water taxi outside. I left my suitcase at the door and sat down at the top of the stone steps that led down into the water of the canal. There were only two or three stairs between me and the murky darkness; the remaining having long ago disappeared beneath the surface. It was still dark out and other than the occasional cry of a water bird, the only sound I could hear was water lapping against ancient stone. My mood began to change.
Venice is often described as being in a state of elegant decay. I had heard or read this expression many times but it was not until that moment that I truly grasped what it meant. Moreover, in that moment, I was part of it. Completely merged with the silent and imperceptible sinking that will one day turn Venice into an underwater museum.
A single yellowish light appeared in the distance as my water taxi slowly made its way down the canal toward me — the motor barely audible. I was the only passenger, but the driver (captain?) had brought his girlfriend (wife?) to keep him company and they whispered to each other in Italian as we pulled away.
It only took about five minutes before we got to the mouth of the lagoon and the boat was able to pick up speed. But for those five minutes it felt like I had gone back in time. Gliding past the centuries-old stone homes with their darkened windows, along a route that had been established in the early decades of the 8th century, with the ancient moon proving the majority of the light that guided us…the present just fell away. It was almost as if until that moment Venice had itself been wearing one of the ornately feathered masks that the city is known for and now it had simply grown tired of holding it.
I was afraid to breathe. Afraid to break whatever spell had been cast. Tears came, as they do now as I write, and I whispered my gratitude to whatever it was that had allowed me to have this experience.
The sun began to rise, bringing the pinks and purples of early morning with it. I stood up and faced backwards so that I could watch the city as it fell away behind us. And I whispered, over and over and over again, “Remember this. Remember this. Remember this.”
Categories: NYC & Travel