My toy-like Piccell blares and jumps, and the shuffling and groaning commences. Tip-toes on cold wood floors and goose bumps on exposed skin greet the creeping window light. The next hour passes as an unfocused blur.
We single-file into a towering grey box with wheels, and the uneasy stench of gasoline fills the air but only for a while. The wheels bump and halt along the cobblestones. While inside, there is only whispering, snoring and waiting.
Another blur passes with a final halt.
More gasoline, shuffling and groaning.
A white box on top of crystal blue water awaits with people talking, clicking and waiting. And of course, there is the elderly couple carefully mounting the box with the stability of ski poles in place of actual walking sticks.
My bare skin sets on the cold surface of the box, and the goosebumps reappear. The sky sprinkles and roars. After a blur of anxious whispers on the back-and-forth of the box, the wind no longer burns and eyes begin to squint. The clouds are forgiven. The turquoise of the water is saturated.
Lonely jellyfish dance along the crashing waves and a hazy daze sets in.
Heads turn, fingers point and bodies arise as a rainbow line of man-made leaning and towering boxes come into view, behind the sun-kissed rocks of the sea. Sighs and gasps make their rounds. The captivating oddness of squished together boxes painted with shades of sherbet ice cream stuns only before the motor of the white box stops, and anxiety overcomes.
The subtle ebb and flow of the box brings another round of groaning as our bodies beg for a literal stopping of motion. The waters refuse and sway us into a hypnotism of sea-sickness.
Our feet touch the docks that tease instability.
Portovenere, the Roman goddess, Venus, would be proud.
We busily wander through the shops and stands, smelling salty loafs of foccacia and fragrant basil that is used to make their world famous pesto. Our minds busy with currency conversions and flavors that induce tongue-tingling and dancing.
By boxes on sea, on tracks, on wheels, we commute to every part of Cinque Terre, and partake in sun-bathing and more busy wandering.
I sneak off for quiet intermissions, letting the wind swish my hair into an indistinguishable disarray. The wind whispers kind words in to my ears while the ocean waves crash into the rocks as if begging for more attention.
Couples kiss and take their time strolling along the mountain-side hike on Lover’s Lane. People pass through, stopping, flash, click. I stare, sigh and will my mind into taking mental photographs.
We return to the apartment. Washing the grit off of my calloused and swollen feet, I unpack my thoughts. As the cold water gives my feet life, I think back to the forgiving clouds and turquoise waters. My heart yearns.