Friday, August 26, 2016

The Gondola Walker - Haidji - Short Story

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Excerpt


The Gondola Walker


A whisper crossed the air in the middle of the never-ending silence of a Venetian night.  It seemed to be the wind, circulating between the apparently sleeping floating gondolas close to San Marco’s square.
But even if sometimes the wind plays piano,
moving one gondola after another up and down,
it wasn’t the wind,
but it a child learning to play the notes of a melody,
walking from one gondola into the next one,
playing a symphony.
As would each gondola be
a piano key.
While the canals were
the piano strings,
all parts of a mysterious piano,
Playing long after the afternoon is gone.
A piano also called,
The Venetian Lagoon.


***

Francesco was, after his long day at the gondolier school, sitting on the canal side, watching the gondolas, as he noticed a whisper.
“Can there be a smaller wind inside a bigger wind?  A child wind?
Why are the gondolas moving as if they would be playing a song, if there is no wind at all and the current seems quiet?   Why are they moving at all?”
With his peripheral vision he saw a blue flowery dress passing close to him and black child-hairs flying like shadows over his gondola.
Francesco was almost half asleep sitting on the canal side after his long day learning for the last one of his uncountable exams at the gondolier school.
He thought he was dreaming, hearing a whispered Gondolier song, ‘Barcarole.’ 
 “I should go home”, said Francesco to himself.  “It is late and I am daydreaming after the sun already went down.”

Allegra, the child, stopped walking around and whispered:
“Ciao Francesco!  Ciao Francesco!”  
At the moment she saw him standing up, herself running away before he could turn his head far enough to see her, she whispered: 
“Go to bed Francesco, sleep well, your final exam is soon.  Mine too.”


***

Six months, over 400 hours of instruction:  Sailing law, English, perfect knowledge of Venice’s canals and landmarks. 
Rigorous examinations testing Francesco’s physical endurance, navigational skills, knowledge of Venice’s culture and sights.  
Francesco was nervous about his final exam to become a Gondolier.

Six months, over 400 hours of learning, while Francesco was learning.  Allegra was lucky and happy about Francesco’s successes; many Gondola Walkers’ Mentors did not come so far.  
Nervous about the final exam to become a Gondola Walker, Allegra trained a little bit more inside the Silence of the Venetian night, walking from one Gondola onto a next one, creating melodies inside the silence of a Venetian night.



***



Learning day after day after day, for months, Francesco couldn’t believe he was shortly facing his final exam.


In the past, ...



...

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