The sound of a choir singing together brings to mind harmony, exaltation, a blissful sound.
It is uplifting and joyous. It can move us emotionally and with great power. What happens when the choir sings off key? We are startled by it. We are uncomfortable with it. We look forward to when it ends.
Perhaps it is the glossy pictures in magazines or the romantic gondola rides featured in films that romanticise Venice. Yet, as I meandered across the canals of the city of water, I struggled to find the romance or beauty in the maze of streets.
So, on my second night in Venice while the setting sun drew in to the clouds overhead, I entered St. Mark’s square. I nurtured the hope of drawing away from the bustling tourist-packed passageways that ran like veins through the city.
It was an evening in late September when I knew we were losing each other.
I knew we were forgetting. So I wrote. I wrote it all, I described every memory I had with him, laced with the most magical details. The nights we talked on the phone until sunrise, the secret promises we made in the drive-thru line, the summer days he carried me across the parking lot to get ice cream. I combed through my journal entries hoping I could find the moment — the moment it all started fading. As a hopeless romantic, a firm believer in fairytales and happy endings, I didn’t understand how the stars had become so scattered and desperately clung to the hope that I could put them back in line.
That night we sat on the kitchen counter eating takeout Indian food right up until our normal bedtime. When we began to yawn you loaded blankets and pillows into the truck and I made a pot of coffee with more beans than probably necessary.
We cozied into the front seat and sipped from our shared thermos, burning our lips on the edge. Your laughter kept wrapping around me like the warmth from a living room hearth. We listened to ‘90s hits and reminisced about high school and Pearl Jam albums. All the falling I’d been doing this year felt safely in the past as we drove.
If you’ve ever swam, stood by, lived by, or even flown over an ocean once, you know that deep waters hold a certain divinity. There’s nothing quite like diving into cool ocean water in the early days of June. There’s nothing more lovely than immersing yourself in an underwater aquamarine world teeming with yellow, blue, green, and orange fish whose silences are only punctuated by soundless bubbles and the hush of waves washing in above the surface. And after hours or even minutes swimming through the salt water, you feel more clean, sane, and free than you did on land.
That’s why there’s nothing quite like swimming in open water.