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October 4, 2014 / hbrowne4

Venezia By Deasún Ó Maonaigh

Venezia

She leaned back trying to take her ease as she had seen and heard a million times that that is what one does when one is on a gondola in Venice. But she was failing; no one had said anything about it being comfortable. She looked down at the water but averted her eyes with a shudder. In the postcards the water always looked a perfect turquoise blue, not at all like the squalid dirty drain like substance surrounding the boat. She’d almost had a heart attack a moment earlier when the sleeve of her cardigan almost touched the stuff but she had saved it.  This was just awful. Stuck on a tiny boat on a bed of sewage and the heat! And then trying to suffer all this with a smile stuck on her face.  She looked around; everyone was laughing but her.

She glanced up at the canal side houses brimming full of domesticity not a meter away from her.  The full paraphernalia of domestic life; clotheslines; sweeping brushes; televisions, cut bread on a breadboard. She was surprised but she felt a longing for it; a yearning for the familiarity of domestic life.  Her daughters had sent her here. It would be good for her; to get away. She had agreed with them just to stop the fussing. She wanted quiet.  Jim was gone. All she wanted was quiet.

She looked again at the bank of domestic life and suddenly spotted him – a big reddish brown Pointer standing just back from the balcony, inside an open doorway. ‘He’s exactly like Robo’ she thought. ‘Jim had loved that dog’. Images flooded back to her of Jim and Robo both bounding up the little Sugar Loaf while she straggled behind with the girls. And later she had straggled behind with all the bags as Jim and Robo and the girls had bounded up the hill. Unbeknownst to herself her face broke into a smile.  She called Robo as she had always done. ‘Here Roby Doby’.  The dog cocked his ears, paused for a second and then jumped. His full body weight came down on her and the two of them tumbled into the water. Amid all the chaos, the splashing, the barking, the shouting she noticed that everyone was laughing but her. She was crying. But she was crying tears that contained a life time of joy.

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