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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Lonely Lenore

It was 1948 and Leonore, like the decade, was in her late 40's.  She had worked hard all her life as a secretary for a small shipping company in Minnesota and dreamed many dreams.  One of her dreams was travel.  She always longed to travel.  On her meager income, she would carefully pinch pennies and save all year long so that she could take the bus or the train to some place other than Minnesota and see a bit of the world.  It was all she had to look forward to, most of the time.

With the passing of her father last year, she had been left a little money from his estate.  This year she was going to take a little of that money and use it for travel.  But, not her ordinary travel.  Nothing within the United States - not even Canada.  No, Leonore had decided to travel overseas.  She was going to take a boat and go to Italy - Venice, the city of canals, gondolas and gondoliers.  The whole idea seemed so romantic to her.  Lenore could use a little romance in her simple life.

Upon her arrival in Venice, she checked into a small bed and breakfast run by a widow, Sophia.  Sophia, short and round with dark hair pinned on top of her head, had lived there with her husband when he was alive, but after his death, needed some income.  So, she opened her home to tourists.

Sophia showed Leonore to her room.  Leonore looked around the spacious room and noticed the french doors leading out to a Juliet balcony.  She stepped out and looked out over the city.  Her room was up high and she could see rooftops for as far as she could look.  Sophia left Leonore to get settled and went down to tend to the needs of her other guests.

As Leonore unpacked and showered, she decided that she would eat her supper in town that evening.  She changed into a soft green dress with full skirt and white sandals.  She grabbed her envelope purse and, after getting suggestions of where to dine from Sophia, headed out the door to the nearest gondola.

As she floated in the gondola, she looked around the city - the ancient buildings, laundry being strung from one window over to the window across the canal, traffic lights in the canals where marine traffic met.  The gondola pulled up to some steps and she stepped out onto the stones, hopped up the stairs and headed down the street to a nearby outdoor cafe.

After her delicious meal, she ordered coffee.  She sipped it quietly, smiling while she watched couples, hand in hand, stroll down the sidewalks together.  She thought how nice it would be to have someone to call her own.  She had loved once, but he had gone off to war and was killed.  It was hard to get over.  A tear slowly came down her cheek, past her smile, as she watched the couples, which seemed to be everywhere.

Lenore finished the last of her coffee and reached for her purse to leave.  As she pushed her chair under the table, a tall, handsome man bumped into her.  Their eyes met.  He said "hello", paused and then said "excuse me" to her in Italian.  She very nervously smiled at him.  Lenore turned quickly and left the man looking after her.

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