Venice guide (a short story inspired by my visit of Venice)

13. června 2014 v 15:24
Venice guide for the lost souls
(short story inspired by my visit of Venice)

"A man enjoys the happiness he feels, a woman the happiness she gives."
Pierre A.F. Choderlos de Laclos, Les liaisons dangereuses

I arrived at my gate and he was not there yet. I was sure he would eventually arrive, too. The plane was two hours late. Of course. Well the ticket from Prague Ruzyne airport to Venice Treviso costed only 7 Euro. What else to expect. My boyfriend still did not appear altough the original departure time already passed. I knew he would eventually come. Lucifer would come and apologize for our last fight. He had to! I imagined him in front of me, running late again, his homeless jacket and his rucksack. He was always late. He had this issue with time. Whenever he told me he would be somewhere around two pm, he came at three or half past. It was like illness but I learned to get profit out of it. I had more time to myself. But it also meant Lucifer was not the person you could rely on. Minutes passed and he did not come. He did not texted either. I had suspicion he probably lost his job again and was too scared to tell me. He became the old Lucifer again. "Passengers to Venice Treviso come to gate the gate number thirteen.." I heard the voice of young Skyeurope stewardess with gorgeous make-up and I realized I was going alone on holiday for the first time! And I had a problem. I did not have enought money for the romantic suite near Rialto Bridge I booked for the two of us, I only had money for some cheap single room. But the less money I had the more I got excited. People claim it is always very strange and in some phrases of your life almost a must to go alone on holiday. I never did before. I was twenty seven. I knew my classmates from semiotics studies who travelled alone and enjoyed it very much. My gay friend Juraj went to France by autostop with a tent and with 150 Euro only on his Visa card (without knowing the PIN) and he was begging for free nights over at camps throw the country. My chance came today. I wrote him where I was going. "Go get some rich Italian," he texted me as I was standing in the queue full of poor Czech students and romantic couples with cheap baggage at the gate. "And go to the islands. You can buy a ticket for vaporettos - the water buses, and travel the whole day through wonderful islands, see the colour houses, the day pass does not cost more than like twenty Euros and you gonna love it." As my plane went up I checked the most important thing - that I had my pills with me.

II.
As I logged on to a marriage section for the lonely hearts after a couple of weeks spent without online dating, I noticed that I got a new message. It was that guy I teased last time. I wrote him I was three kilograms overweight but fullfiled other criteria of his and he promptly wrote back that it did not matter and he actually enjoyed my funny note. We started an promising exchange of messages. He had many questions such as "How do you view yourself in five years", "Is family or career more important to you" and "What is the worst thing you have ever done?" I answered with my witty style and also sent him some new stimuls to write about. And my skinny photo. Because since I was taking my pills I put on weight. He lived with his mother and travelled a lot. He sent me thirty- five photos. From his business trips. He looked the same at all of them. Only the scenery was different. It was scary. I started to think he was probably another cocky peacock. I deleted history very circumspectly every time, because Lucifer was using the computer after me. "What is your sexual fantasy?" was the next thing he asked me, admitting that he was crazy for women in sport clothes. Hm, another hit. I looked ridiculous in Nike shorts. And than it came. E-mail with an invitation for a date, and the last question. According to him very important. "Do you have any serious inherited diseases in your family such as diabetes or hypertension?" He was looking for a mother of his kids. I think every person has its illness. But I was not able to answer. I was dissappointed with his lack of sensibility and his Im-gonna-buy-online-wife-now-attitude. How easy is to find a perfect match on-line? Without the magic of the first eye gaze, the situation where the both of you have been alone for a while, and finally you meet, and your hearth knows. Is it really worth to sacrifice all this and make on-line shopping for your significant other? I never answered his last question, and I never logged on to this web page again.

III.
Lucifer was a ex-boyfriend of my friend from a fitness studio. Of course. What else. Was I competing with her or was it really his eyes that I caught the first night? I saw him in a bar and I knew it was him. Man I was looking for, man I knew from my past lives. But I was already taken. So I showed him to my friend. And they started dating. And than they broke up. And he asked her for my number.
"Where are you going baby?" whispered my boyfriend of four years while watching football match in his slippers.
"With the girls, to the cinema and for drinks," I answered and did not looked him to his eyes.
I was not sure if I loved him. We made love every day. He paid the deposit for the flat. He was sparing some money for a new one. He checked my phone every day so jealous he was. Every morning when he was leaving to work at six he told me how incredibly beautiful I was. We had kind of a happy family life. But there was something missing and Lucifer had it. He was older. He was the most intelligent man I ever met although he never passed his A levels. He owed a lot of money. He had no job and since my friend kicked him out of her flat nowhere to live. He stayed in one basement stock, without toilet. He knew how to talk about culture, art and sacral geometry. He knew how to gain me. That evening I did not go to the cinema. I went to his place. I never felt so excited in my life before. There was something dangerous and pervers about him. He had no electricity in his squatt. Just tons of candles. I wished we could both die in huge fire when he kissed me. I did not take my trousers of. We spent moments of petting I never ever had before. At three o´clock I was running back home. My boyfriend was sleeping and my life was soon to be ruined. That night I lost my secure home, my friend from fitness studio and the man who loved me. But I found true love for the first time in my life. Destructive and hungry. The world stopped being black and white. I saw colours in the streets.

IV.
First advice in Venezia: Don´t take a wheel cabin bag like I did. You will suffer when you have to cross all those wonderful bridges! I knew Venezia from our school trip so I found my way to hostel very easily and rang the bell. The period of rain brought aqua alta, the floods, which is no reason to be worry about. Usually only Pizza San Marco gets wet
I had only 100 Euros for six days because I paid the rent instead of Lucifer two times. The suite costed 140 Euro.
"My friend was not able to come, can I change the booking and take single room? " I told the young male receptionist. He was too skinny and too Italian to interest me.
"Was it your man or your female friend ? " he asked seductively.
"Female," I lied. But at my registration and booking fee was Lucifers and mine name.
"Maybe we can sleep together in my room," he suggested and smiled.
I looked at him rigidly and became sullen.
"Ok. I give you the room number one. You can pay when you leave !"
"I want to pay now," I insisted. I needed to know how much money there will be left for next five days. Sixty Euros. Not bad in the most expencive Italian destination. When I worked in Goldfingers, a strip bar in the Prague city centre ten years ago I used to get six hundred Euros every Friday as a tip from one VIP client. For nothing. Only for serving him drinks. He chosed somebody else to go to private room with. Unfortunatelly the rivalry among those women was too big to handle this kind of job for longer time. They paid high price for this kind of earnings. They lost respect for men, for themselves, for normal life. Like Lucifer did when he used to be rich and used to come to brothels. Receptionist was probably reading my mind. He draw me a map how to get to Billa supermarket and said we could go out for dinner. I did not wanted so I politely postponed his offer for tomorrow. When I went to shower he was staring at my ass and wished me "Buona doccia!" Nice shower. I forgot to mention that he gave me a room next to his.

V.
It was all so intensive. Every night I came to Lucifers subbasement and he fucked me the whole night. Than I went to work and he went to sleep so he had energy to fuck me again. After one month I realised I pay every time we go out. Almost every time. No one had to see us as he was hiding himself before execution. His philosophy was that man does not need to work. Or, maybe at least only four hours a day. Not more. He used to make a lot of money from one IT idea, had expencive cars and prostitutes but lost everything. I wanted to save him. To give him comfort. To show him family life. He was the man of my life. The man who showed me what I can - find a job of my dreams but lost security. He started to work again. We moved in together. The magic slowly went away.

VI.
I wanted to come back to Prague in new outfit yet my budget was as you know pretty tight. I got lucky in Burano market.
If you wish to bring home some cheap new clothes from Venice you should visit this island on Saturday morning, until 2 pm. I saw gorgeous jeans for eight Euros but was not sure if they fit my bum. The shop-assistant from somewhere in Middle East told me I should try them on in some restaurant near by. So I went to this fancy place toalet and tried my bargain pantaloni on while some rich family went to the cloakroom with their kids. The jeans fit perfectly. I thought maybe I could escape with them but I was not sure about how big the island was and if the shop-assistant would be able to catch me. I also believe in carma so I went back and paid. I made picture with him, too. And showed him my business card. When he saw I was journalist from a fancy magazíne he gave me a handbag for free.

VII.
My grandmother got pregnant at the age of 18 with her high school classmate. Krystof, a guy from a very rich anti communist family. At that time when granny found out about her pregnancy, in the late 1949 the socialistic leaders confiscated all the possession of her boyfriends family- old villa, the jewels, paintings, furniture, money. His parents commited suicide, they hang themselves in their garden which now belonged to one state officer, while Krystof was sentenced to a ten years in uranium pit. Antonie my grandmother got outcasted out of her family. Krystof managed to find her a flat in the centre of Prague but soon after she moved in in spring 1950, two men came in and took everything. Even her wardrobe. She was enemy of the communists empire. And her unborn baby too. She went for a visit in uranium pit with her big belly in June once and in July there was a girl named Antonie born. Her mom had almost nothing to eat and no money to buy a pram. She was always going with her friends pram, put her little baby girl together with her baby boy. Year passed by and when my grandfather appeared Antonie got pregnant again. She was asked to marry my granddad but she had one condition - she had to give her little daughter away. It was the wish of Kryštof. They found a very nice family of university teachers for her. Later they got her school reports or pictures by post. Nobody ever told me about this little girl named Antonie. She would be sixty years old today. They never spoke about her in front of me. But I guess my grandmother spent her life in pain from this lost. My mother Tereza was born with serious illness. Was it a punishment or just a consequence of the fact that during the pregnancy her mother had to deal with adoption of her first baby?

VIII.
Ok, the receptionist finally managed to take me out the last evening. We were sitting in a beautifull piazza from fifteenth century on the first floor in a bar named Miro closed to Rialto bridge. The atmosphere was unique. He kept talking about his family and growing up in Libanon. I had a problem because I forgot to take my pills yesterday which meant I could be sick soon. But during these couple of days in Venice I somehow became more brave. I broke off his speech and told him: "Sorry but I do not find you attractive."
"And you dont even want to spend a night with me? I am cuddly guy."
"No. Sorry."
The light in his eyes faded away but we ordered another quattro bianchi e fragola, four kinds of white alkohol in one drink. Not good idea for my pills against epilepsia. But I felt more confident now. This trip changed me. Lucifer had no more power over me.
"Well, we have to find you another husband!" my companion insisted. He looked down at the piazza and showed me one man..
I did not even wanted to look. But the receptionist explained:
"He is pharmacista, French pharmacist. Nice husband for you. I met him last year, he helped me to get some pills I was not able to pay with my poor libanese insurance. "
I made an effort and turned around. There was a hot tall fat mulatto man with a sad expression in his sexy face.
"He is thirty seven, he lost his wife. She gave birth to a wonderful daughter, back home in France. During the delivery the doctors found out she had cancer everywhere. They even did not tell it to her. Only to him. Lets meet him," suggested the receptionist, dragged my hand and made me to stand up.
"What would pharmacist suggest me when I did not take my epilepsia pill," I thought to myself while running down the stairs. Receptionist told me simple rules of his meeting-new-partners-game.
"I introduce you, if you want to stay alone with him, you wink. If not, I than accompany you home."
Waw, Venezia is a place where people are not yet lost in internet dating, I thought. I loved it. In two minutes I was standing there. French pharmacist had his glass in his hand, turned to me and our eyes met.
"Alain," he introduced himself. I told him my name too. I got wet instantly. And I winked as crazy! Receptionist definitelly lost the gaze in his eyes, he excused himself discreetly and left us alone in the night.

IX.
I am very smart I think because the crowd from the bus hurries to the check-in and than drinks expencive coffee for three Euros and some of them even can not afford that. Because Treviso Airport is not for the rich. I took my small cabin bag with me to the coffee shop at the corner opposite the airport building. I had nice coffee for ninety pennies and a croissant. I stole some magazines as I decided I should start to learn Italian. Than I picked up my cabin luggage and left so I do not miss the plane. The feeling of yesterday date feels me up with energy.
After two hours of walking through Venezia in the night he asked me how long I was gonna stay.
"I´m leaving tomorrow," I admited and I saw the instant disappointment in his eyes. He was not looking for one night stand! He immediately took me back to my hostel.
"I will come again," I tried to show my value.
"I will host you next time," he whispered and we kissed. I knew this feeling of security. It was familiar to me.
"Are you insane? Why did you come back so soon ?" was the last words I heard from my libanese souteneur. In the morning I left the hostel quickly. He wrote me a message that he was happy to know me and that I was beautiful. But maybe if I quit drinking so much I could be thinner. His note left me paralysed.
"So did you met rich Italian?" my gay friend asks.
I am fat and old. I did not.
But in two weeks the air ticket to Venice and back landed in my e-mail. The pharmacist added no message. Only "Hope this is OK. "
My epileptic mind got high.
 

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