If you only knew what you meant to me, to my life. You were my first. My country of choice. My first trip to Europe. My first passport. You were a trial and a lesson for my troubling anxiety and ultimately the biggest personal accomplishment of my life. You were the test I assigned to myself to prove I was still in charge, still alive. I never worried about being in control because I never felt like I had any other choice. Getting to you took everything I had. Sometimes it felt like fight or flight. I just put one foot in front of the other. There was no one else to double check if my ducks were in a row, no one to rely on except my own ambition and determination. If I wanted to find the right airport shuttle, if I got in the wrong line at the airport – which I did on one leg of my trip in Dublin and had to ask for a lot of help at the airport. My heart was beating rapidly and my biggest fear that I would miss my flight became a possible reality. . But once I got on the right taxi boat to the island of Venice, I was on my way. The boat was a bumpy ride that was at the same time joyous and exhilarating with fat rainy drops fogging the little plastic windows. I watched a boat go by loaded with wine barrels and I knew I was almost in Venice. When i stepped foot on your concrete landing I just stood there and slowly turned a full 360 degrees. I was there, in Venice, Italy. I did it. So far I was winning my own battle. This is the best i have felt since I opened my vintage clothing store so long ago. It was always about the challenge and the defiance. Oh sure, I took the wrong Vaporetto a couple times. I missed my stop once and ended up traveling in a full circle visiting every stop twice. That was an expensive mistake because it took a big bite out of my 6 days of Venice time. It did give me an opportunity to be in close proximity to regular working residents traveling to work, home, hospitale. I wanted to photograph them but would never ask. We were all seated closely as in a subway car but there was no crowding. There was the young couple in the corner down below deck where I was sitting, the older woman with a sack full of groceries, the colorful man with the high black rubber boots, dirty white overalls, and yellow fisherman jacket. It was just another workday for them. It was getting dark and the last stop was quite a way from my hotel. I put one foot in front of the other and walked briskly. It was a warm evening for November in Venice.
See you again my friend…