My reflection in a storefront window pane really was the first indicator that Venice was sizzling.
The mirror-like window revealed my sweat-drenched T-shirt and matted-down hair. I had one day in Venice, and in my rush to see it all, I hadn’t given the summer’s temperature a chance to drag me down
Truth be told, I didn’t even recognize myself at first. Odd how that happens—I certainly know what I look like—but for a fraction of a second, my brain interpreted the image as being another man.
Then I figured it out. Definitely me.
And not only was I soaked with sweat, but I looked tired. Exhausted, come to think of it.
That shouldn’t have come as a surprise. I had flown from Phoenix to Venice, with an arduous six-hour layover in Philly, without a wink of sleep.
I hadn’t felt haggard, though, until my reflection caught up with me. Then Venice started shifting fast.
My alone-in-a-new-city adventure faded into the realization that I was
quite lost. My swift stride over canal bridges slowed to a crawl.
A jerky gondola ride. Marveling at a thorn from Jesus’ crown. Treats of gelato and made-in-Italy pizza. Those were my plans for Venice.
Instead, I slept.
On a curb.
In full view of everyone who passed by.
And I couldn’t do a thing about it.
By the time my eyes opened again, the shadows in front of me had shifted. My first view of Venice—brilliant papier-mâché masks, eclectic glass jewelry—had faded.
I was still tired.
I was still lost.
Alone in Venice.
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