An early, hushed Sunday morning in New York City. Cool air wafts through the open window. I sit at my kitchen table with a cup of tea from the set I bought in a little town outside of Portland over twenty years ago. My “cottage set” I’ve always called it – a round tea pot and heavy mugs, deep blue with garlands of flowers on them, the handles like twisted branches. They always bring to mind the Cotswolds and thatched cottages with gardens – though I’m far from any kind of cottage existence.
A dense fog last night leaves the flowers in my window boxes dewy and fresh. In the distance I hear a lone train whistle from the Sunnyside train yard, the early chirping of birds, the muted peal of faraway church bells, the low passing rumble of a car or two a few blocks over.
My mind is focused on the writing at hand – when in the morning quiet, I hear the click click of a woman’s heels on the sidewalk below – and immediately I’m back in Venice.
Exhausted upon our arrival, we rested in the early evening, almost asleep. And through the open window, we heard for the first time the sound that would forever remind us of Venice: the clicking of women’s heels in otherwise silence, ever so slightly echoing in the narrow calli below – mysterious, intriguing, beguiling. Who is she? Why is she alone? Where is she going?
I take a sip of tea, glance out the window, and decide that I must go back there – to the city of soft summer evenings, canals and bridges, and breathtaking beauty.