“Was this the right way?”
I was strolling down the narrow alley of a side street in Milan. I could feel the cool droplets of flavored ice cream dripping down my hand, indicating that the hottest hours of the day were approaching. With one quick, swift movement, I slurped the edge of the cone. Mango and raspberry, my favorites! Their rich combination of tropical tastes melted in my palate, leaving behind a scrumptious flavor that made me a glutton for another lick. The sweet and sour delicacy slightly brushed my lower lip like a tender caress, sending a sensation of serenity all through me. Absolutely delicious!
My only source of coolness in that scorching heat was rapidly ending, but I didn’t really mind because I could easily find another Gelateria. Here in Italy, ice-cream shops were like McDonalds back in the States; Everywhere!
The narrow alley, outlined by a row of buildings that seemed to stretch to the horizon like an infinite stoned ocean. Unlike the modernized center of the city, this petite side street was surprisingly antique. There was something about these buildings formed by taupe blocks and elegant archways that jumped from one to the next in a perfect curve that aroused in me a sensation of comfort and tranquility. As I walked down the lane, it seemed as if I was walking through time. Everything of that tiny road reminded me of a bygone era; From the miniature doors, to the restricted stone cubes that were perfectly posed on the ground as if they had been destined to form a sort of mysterious mosaic.
I had walked for about fifteen minutes down that alley, when I finally looked up the street name to check my position. “Via Fiume” I said out loud, trying to convince myself that it was the right way, also if, deep down, I knew that I was lost because I didn’t recall this name amongst the other directions.
I checked the time. Suddenly, all of that calming atmosphere emanated by the vintage buildings turned into an oppressive feeling. They were already slight spaces between them, but now it felt as if they were now crushing on my direction, imprisoning me between their stoned constructions. With a concerned glance, I stared forward, hoping to find a way out of this intricate maze of roads. Quickly, I had only a quarter of an hour to reach the Young Stylers School of Milan.
Since I was young, I had had an immense passion for designing clothes. I remember passing hours and hours cutting and stitching different outfits. First for my dolls, then I began to use my younger sister as a model for my future dream designs. For me, designing clothes was a way to express myself. Just like an artist with his paintbrushes and palette, or a writer with his ink and pens, I would grab my needle and thread and release my inner sensations of joy that were bursting inside me like uncontrollable fireworks on to a piece of fabric. My hands would frantically be engaged with something and my sight would never abandon the masterpiece, I hoped, that I was creating. Everything around me became still as I went on and on stitching and threading and threading and stitching as if a thick bubble surrounded my concentrated figure that was hunched like an old’s man over the fabric. My parents, realising the intensity of my passion, helped me to follow my dreams by sending me to a fashion school abroad. And what better place than Milan, the capitol of fashion?!
Now, though, everything was going to vanish like a burst bubble because I was going to be late. Taken over by a stoke of hysteria, I began to ramble aimlessly. I turned right onto another side street, that proved to be exactly equivalent to the one that I had just traveled. I turned again right, on what seemed to be an additional copy of the first two streets and it was. On the third turn I realized that it was pointless. I was definitely, unequivocally lost.
Suddenly, through the loose neck of my shirt, I felt a coolness trickling down my back like a frosty nugget of ice that was smoothly gliding on my delicate skin. I shivered. My gaze then turned upwards towards the sky instinctively. What was once an ocean of immense serenity was now rapidly fading, turning into a malignant sky covered up by masses of turbid clouds.
As if the situation couldn’t get any worse, a rumble of thunderstorm roared through the atmosphere, followed by a violent flash of light that lacerated the various shades of gray. Like tears, the thick raindrops come pouring down striking me. Great, now I was late and wet and...oh no my designs! I swiftly scrambled underneath a ledge of the building that served as a shelter and waited.
I stared gloomily at the narrow alley that was being moistened by the dribbling of the rain. Luckily it has quieted a bit, leaving a tender drizzle that alighted like the fall of a leaf on the damp surface. Silent peace flooded the atmosphere, interrupted only by the slight ticking of the rain droplets on the wet asphalt. I inhaled deeply and a strong odor of wet earth penetrated in my lungs. Exhaling, all my torments subsided.
Finally, seeing that the storm had placated, I decided that it was time to carry on walking. I was about to step off the protected area of the roof, when I felt a gentle touch holding on me. I whirled around and all I could hear was my heart thumping like a galloping horse. Standing in front of me was a tall, broad young man of about twenty-five years old. His damp, dark locks fell gracefully over his intense blue eyes that were gleaming like diamonds towards me, contoured by thick, black lashes. His fleshy mouth grinned, revealing a set of perfect white teeth. He said something, but I couldn't understand.
“Parlo inglese” I mumbled, without taking my eyes off his. With a heavy italian accent he offered to help me find the Young Stylers School since he had an umbrella and I was completely wet, just like he pointed out. Classic excuse to tow a girl, but this time I didn’t mind, after all the serene always comes back after a summer storm, in one way or another.
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