A piece of writing from October 2010

Venice seemed to hold a certain joy for me, one that I could only understand when I would place myself outside a sunlit café on a deckchair and recline with a glass of crushed ice and Sicilian lemonade by my side and I would watch the boats drift lazily past on the silent and calm canals. I would often daydream about books I had read the previous day, myself often being the hero involving myself in complicated mysteries that had me confused into such a state that I would drift lazily out of the café and float around the churches and the cool, calm libraries.

Like many cities, Venice is a pigeon heaven but the pigeons that resided in the dusty church towers and the notches on the side of the canals posed a sort of decorum about their presence. They would glide around the squares gracefully, landing gently on a fountain and delicately taking sips from the crystal water below. I would enjoy watching the pigeons flutter around my chair as the clinking and tinkling of china plates wafted in through the open door to the kitchen. I did hold a certain dislike for the canals because in the wake of a busting canal barge it would leave a spot of clear water straight behind the motor and through that patch I would see the debris that had been dumped into the canal by the residents and the rats that lived in the unpleasant and taciturn water. I would think of them as so unintelligent and dark that I would reside in the hotel for the rest of the day.

For a long time after I would dream about those rats and how they scuttled through my dreams, attacking the very heart of my thoughts and I would wake, with a cold sweat dripping down my pallid and scared face. I would then for the rest of the night wander around my room, detached from reality and not really conscious of what was happening. The night would hold very long and I would sit on the end of the mattress of the small and cluttered bedroom and watch the stars glowing in the placid and friendly sky, watch the canals glitter in the moonlight and I would feel safe again. From then on I would wish for the hotel doctor to come and reassure me of my worries but alas no-one came and I spent the night cold and shivering.

Next morning, although the scares and worries had gone from my mind, I would stay away from the canals, with their endless bottoms, trash that had been there for many years, rotting in the dark, murky waters.


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