I walked in the rain in Padua remembering other rainfalls and other cities. Weaving through the people coming and going from the station, I soon found myself at the bus stop. A sea of umbrellas over a mass of people stood waiting for the same bus, and I contemplated taking a cab to my son’s house.
Her mind flipped back several years. I’d come to deliver our travel documents to my husband’s company in San Donato, a nearly deserted area of Milan back then on a Sunday. I was waiting alone for a bus, the rain trickled listlessly from the grey Milanese sky. The rapid passing of cars going and coming from the local airport made me feel even more alone. I had to catch a train for Rome in three hours, I’d been waiting for the bus for over 45 minutes. The schedule said buses passed every half hour. I went into a nearby cafe thinking to ask information – I was roundly ignored by the everyone. When I asked to use the phone to call a taxi, I was told that it didn’t work, although someone had been using it only 5 minutes before.
I went back out onto the street. No sign of a bus, but a carabinieri prowl-car passed and I gestured desperately trying to get their attention. I was pretty close to panic by now. Two carabinieri were in the car, the youngest got out of the car and frowning asked me why I’d hailed them “like we were a taxi service or something”. I explained my plight and said: “In my country when we’re in trouble we rely on the authorities for assistance.”
The elder officer smiled and said: “Yes ma’am you did well! The buses are irregular in this part of town, especially on Sunday.” He invited me to get into the car and drove me further up the line to another bus stop.
Twenty minutes later, I was still there and my train would leave for Rome in just under an hour and a half. It was all I could do to hold back tears of frustration. The carabinieri had passed me by twice. I saw them roll up again and stop. They offered to take me to a taxi stand and I gratefully accepted their assistance. My heart racing I caught my train just as the whistle blew announcing it’s departure.
I looked around me, the old memory fresh in my mind. The rain had stopped falling so I decided to walk to my son’s home. After all it would be nice to take the twenty-minute walk rather than be crunched in a bus.
in a sea of umbrellas
© G.s.k. ‘16
This month Gabriella from “Gabriella’s Writing Corner” presents dVerse’s Haibun Monday offering four of her lovely photographs as inspiration – you can click the first link above to see them all and on the link here to visit Gabriella’s blog.
By the way, this is a true story and I’ve other lovely stories about Milan and its hospitality to add to this one. I’ve never been to a colder greyer place throughout all the years of my travels, I’ve grown to avoid Milan if I can possibly do so. I’ve heard that other people have not had my problems .. and one of my dearest friends lives there, a Japanese entrepreneur who has asked me to come visit so she can take me to the tea house she goes to weekly and the local zen-do. So, perhaps in the future I’ll overcome my age-old allergy to Milan. I hope so.