I see thousands of new faces when I travel, but in the blend of humanity passing by, one person might spark a curious notion. What is their story? As a fiction writer, I’m not bound to reality, so join me while I fill in the blanks for women I’ve encountered.
Venice, a city so quiet and perfect, tourists wonder if anyone actually lives there. But many do and they are a part of the culture as much as the Rialto Bridge. She was one of those people. Tonight, she went to the Teatro La Fenice, the theater of the phoenix, so named since it rose from the ashes of the former theater that burned down. Was she a phoenix as well, rising from the ashes of her past?
She dressed in a long aqua evening gown, suitable for the occasion. She worked hard to retain her slim figure, but her face could not disguise the passing of years. On this night, the sparkle in her eyes made those years vanish. How could she not glow in the company of this young, handsome man?
She loved the opera and her Venice had a fine company. But with the passing of Giorgio, her husband of thirty-two years, she seldom attended. She hesitated to be alone at a festive event. Her dear friend Veronica told her of an escort service she trusted. She thought such a thing sordid, but Veronica assured her they were gentlemen.
So, here she stood in the foyer of the Teatro La Fenice drinking champagne with a broad shouldered man in a tux, twenty years younger than she. Others cast glances. She was blind to them. Dignified and charming, he made her smile in a way she could not remember, as though a young girl again. They soon took their seats in the box to which she subscribed. Madame Butterfly was about to begin. While he had made good conversation, she realized now she must have contributed most of it. He played the part of the good listener.
The man focused on the stage as the lights dimmed and she took in his profile with the distinct chin and reflected on what might be. She thought little of women who used escorts and believed they sought just one thing. Yet, here she was, with such a man. He had been charming this night and she never thought about seeking anything else but companionship.
Until now. Perhaps?