It was dark and quite now. The faint sound of the restaurants generic Italian music was playing in the background, as we parted ways from our classmates. The city was barely lit. Most of the light was coming from other people’s houses. There was an eeriness to this city. I couldn’t put my finger on it, and I couldn’t help but constantly look over my shoulder as we walked through the dark alleyways. It also didn’t help that I kept thinking about these disappearances Miss Anderson mentioned a few hours ago. I looked over at Nicole who was talking about her recent break up which I was only half listening to because I couldn’t help but feel like someone was watching us. Thanks Miss Anderson.
We turned a corner to be confronted by a very lit alleyway. Candles upon candles on each side of the ally leading to something right at the back, but I couldn’t clearly see. I turned to Nicole who was leaning against the wall behind me.
“What is this? Oh my god have we walked in on a proposal? Let’s get out of here” I said and Nicole started to giggle. she shook her head.
“Go take a look” she whispered and gestured with her hand.
I stared at her with a questioned look and she raised her eyebrows. I signed and turned back to the alleyway. This scene reminded of something out of Baz Luhrmann Romeo and Juliet. You know the scene where Romeo breaks into the church to find Juliet dead, And the church alter was cluttered with candles. I breathed a heavy sigh and walked relucatantly slowly up the ally. As I got closer and closer to the end of it something was coming into sight. Above all of the candles was a large painting of Mary holding baby Jesus. It was a shrine of sorts. A small gate was covering it and inside was the painting as well as roses placed in front of it.
I could hear Nicole walking behind me down the alley to where I was. She stood next to me. I turned to look at her.
“It’s pretty isn’t it?” She asked and turned to me smiling.
I looked back at the shrine. The painting was so detailed. The colours so vivid. You could tell someone put so much work and care into it.
“I’m kind of speechless. You don’t see this sort of thing in New York.” I whispered
We didn’t say anything for a while. The air was starting to chill and a light wind blew down the alley making the candles flicker. I thought I heard faint footsteps behind us so I turned around slowly. Nothing was there just pure darkness.
“Do you believe in god?” I turned around to see Nicole facing me with her arms folded leaning against the wall.
I don’t know why I was taken back with this question. I guess it made sense to ask considering what we were faced with in this alley. Miss Robinson did say we needed to get to know each other
“I think so” I said and shrugged.
I wasn’t brought up religious at all. However, I like to think there is something else out there. Somewhere less full of heartache, pain and terror.
“Do you?” I asked genuinely curious. Italy was a very religious country and this shrine very much proved so.
A few moments had passed and I was still waiting for an answer. Her arms were still folded. Her dyed dark purple hair slightly blowing in the wind. She closed her eyes and signed. She slowly opened them and for a split second I thought I saw them change from hazel to silver. This traveling has got to me. I'm seeing things now. She then leaned her head against the wall and looked up at the sky.
I looked up also and couldn't believe what I saw. Stars upon stars upon stars. So clear, so bright and so vivid. When I look up at the sky in New York, all there is, is clouds and smog. But here, I could take a pen and join every star and hope it created a picture. But right now I was scared at what picture it would create. I looked from the sky back to Nicole who was staring at me. Her face to still. A light smirk playing on her lips.
“I’m not sure anymore…. Let’s get out of here” She whispered. Before I could say anything she pushed herself off of the wall, took my arm and pulled me out of the alley.
We had been walking for twenty minutes in an awkward silence. I wanted to push her and ask her what she meant by her not being sure. But her body language said something else so I didn't. We finally came to a halt at a grand house. The front of it had a large steal green door. It was shaped like a churches alter. I looked up to see a large balcony with large gothic arches and French doors behind them. Each window had wooden shutters on them. One was blowing against the wall making a slight noise.
“Were home” Nicole whispered and walked up to the door to press the doorbell.
For a house like this I was expecting a very grand doorbell sound, but no just a dingle. The door opened and a beautiful woman who looked in her forties walked out smiling. She had blue jeans and a red polo neck on. Her dark brown hair reached her shoulders and her eyes were an amazing hazel.
“Bellas!” she squealed and before I knew it I was in the air being spun around. Nicole started to laugh.
“You made it! Welcome Cora, Welcome to Venezia” She hugged me and pinched my cheeks.
This was Nicole’s Mom Amelia. Nicole told me a lot about her while we skyped over a few months. She raised Nicole by herself since she was a teenager. This was one of the things we had in common as my mother did the same.
Amelia placed her arm around my shoulders, grabbed my suitcase and ushered me through the big steel doors. The floors in the home were titled beyond belief. Blues, greens, reds and whites. The walls were all mostly cream and the furniture looked so antique id be scared to even touch it let along sit on it.
We walked into the living room which had a grand black piano in the back. The walls had old paintings of Venice covered in them. One wall had a huge portrait of a man dressed in something that only can be described as something out of the Victoria era. To my left was the huge balcony with the gothic arches that I saw outside. And to my right was the doors to I assume other rooms in the house. This place was beautiful
“Wow this place is incredible Miss Vitolo” I turned to see Amelia sitting on the arm chair under the grand painting beaming with glee.
“Please darling call me Amelia, It’s so nice to have you here. Nicole has told me so much about you. While you’re here if you need anything please don’t be hesitant to ask. What’s ours is yours” She said and opened her arms wide gesturing. Her accent wasn’t too strong as I thought it would be. I could understand her well.
Nicole came to stand beside me and placed an arm on my shoulder.
“Thanks Mom for staying up late to wait for us. But honestly If you need to get an early night for work we won’t keep you” Nicole said.
Amelia worked as a nurse at a hospital outside of Venice on the main land. She works stupid hours and doesn’t get paid nearly enough. This house didn’t look as if she did but it was passed down through the family to herself and Nicole.
Amelia got up from her seat and looked at her watch on her wrist. She sighed.
“You’re right darling. I have to be up in 5 hours. I’m going to have to love and leave you. But Nicole we must talk over dinner tomorrow. I want to hear all about New York. I haven’t been there in many years. I miss it” She said.
I smiled and nodded. “You bet” I said.
She came over and hugged us both before leaving the living room humming to herself.
I yawned and stretched my arms out wide. It had been a long day. I really wanted my bed. I turned to see Nicole blowing out the candles left on the piano by her mom. She looked up at me and smiled
“Bed?” she asked.
I could have kissed her right there and then.
“Yes please” I said and yawned once again.