Reflections in Padua – Haibun – February 3, 2016


© Gabriella of dVerse

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
old fears

© G.s.k. ‘16

dVerse’s Haibun Monday #6

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.


About Georgia

I love to read...I like to write...I've travelled the world and seen the sites. I'm past my prime and feel so young, especially when near the young. I'm writing this blog, to remember, to think and to share...with the hopes that someone else will make a comment that will stimulate new thoughts and pathways. Actually, I'm a gabber, so the logical extension of gabbing is blogging! ;-)
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39 Responses to Reflections in Padua – Haibun – February 3, 2016

  1. Snakypoet (Rosemary Nissen-Wade) says:

    Well, at least you got a good piece of writing out of it! I got quite caught up in your story.

  2. Pingback: Reflections in Padua – Haibun – February 3, 2016 | Bastet and Sekhmet's Library

  3. To be caught in a tricky situation in a strange country was most unnerving. You took in your stride and that’s important. Great writing Georgia!


  4. Gabriella says:

    I got caught in your story. Watching the clock tick while waiting to take a train that will not wait for you is indeed frightening. I like how in the end kindness changed fate.

    • Bastet says:

      Thanks it was an anxious moment and I agree the kindness of the elderly carabinieri really saved the day and confirmed my belief in the good side of humanity 😉

  5. Mary says:

    Interesting! I have a niece (and her husband) living in Milan, and she enjoys the city. Different strokes. Because of this, I think, I especially enjoyed your haibun. I feel your frustration, and I say – thank goodness for considerate carabinieri! And breathing a sigh of relief that you made it……

    • Bastet says:

      Thanks Mary … I just seem to have a jinx with Milan … it’s a lovely city in its way though and I’m hoping that in the future to visit and find that the jinx has been lifted 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed the story and felt the sensations – really nice to know.

  6. I can see why you wish to avoid Milan. Interesting to me how differently everyone views a place and time. Travel itself can be so frustrating and then wherever it happens we associate with that place as bad. Great haibun!

  7. jazzytower says:

    As I read I thought, ‘that’s why she doesn’t like Milan’ -that snarky bit with the phone. Then the pepper tongue of the younger cop. But they redeemed themselves by taking you to a taxi stand:) A nice write, felt like I was there with you.

    • Bastet says:

      Thanks Pat .. Unfortunately I’ve had a couple of situations in different periods of my life in Milan … this was one of them … but yes the police did save the day and I was very grateful to them … I’m hoping to try another trip to Milan … with better results 😉

  8. Kathy Reed says:

    I definitely can see the place as a forever home and to leave would be heartbreaking. I think this may happen more often in life than we might believe. If it was written from a true story, I don’t know but I hope she can open up to new possibilities in a different place with a different man. Well done.

  9. Paloma says:

    Ugh … I really felt that panic in your piece!

  10. i always wanted to travel..
    but then i walked..
    i always wanted to walk..
    and then i danced..
    and i now travel all around

    alWays thrilLed..:)

  11. Oh Bastet! I was starting to panic reading this. Such frustrating experiences are enough to make anyone alleric to the place where they happen. ButI hope you do go back and see your Japanese friend, perhaps exorcise the bad memory in the process!

    The fact that I got so caught up in your story is the clue to the excellence of the writing!

    • Bastet says:

      Thanks you so much Vivi .. you’ve given me a great compliment! I too hope to overcome this long story of set-backs with Milan … hopefully in the spring I’ll visit my friend and put the bad memories in the past forever. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  12. trishwrites1 says:

    what a great story – you had me there with you

  13. To me missing a train or a plane is a recurring nightmare, so I can tell you my hands started to sweat when I read this… I can so understand that this can build an aversion to a city… Hope you can go and enjoy the city at some point.

    • Bastet says:

      Oh … I understand those sweats – sorry to have brought them back to you! As for Milan, I’ve been there r four times and unfortunately on each occasion, something unpleasant happened the odd thing is I’ve been to many other of the larger cities including Rome and Naples without a problem .. but I’m going to go back t visit my friend and I’m sure this will be the time that things change.

  14. Grace says:

    I can relate to those fears when out and about ~ But when its not raining so hard, I will walk too ~ Enjoyed your haibun very much ~

  15. That is the scenario my nightmares are made of. I could feel the panic rising. My throat became constricted and I was right there, missing buses, and such!
    My sister-in-law is from Sicily and she ran away to Milan when she was 16.

    • Bastet says:

      Those are pretty familiar symptoms to me also, not so much now but very often when I was younger. A very unpleasant feeling … I’m sorry you felt your own panic rising!

      As for going to live in Milan …Many young people leave the south destination the big cities to make their fortune, and it is definitely true (or at least it was until the recent economic crisis) that going north meant you had a better change of working and perhaps finding your place in the scheme of things.

  16. CPP says:

    I could feel the tension and panic building – the sense of fright, the desperation – the sense of alienation …. a powerful write Georgia – despite the unfortunate circumstances … and thankfully, there was someone kind enough to help.

    • Bastet says:

      Thanks and thanks for telling me what kept you reading … I’ll always remember that man .. he was very empathetic I think.

      • CPP says:

        well it definitely sounds like he was “old school” – in understanding and knowing truly what service is … and probably, given that he was older than his partner, realized and had lived experiences that certain generations and people can’t understand, unless they have lived them; of course, it has to follow that accordingly … one chooses to respond with kindness and empathy, and compassion, and not everyone is able to do that – hence the indifference, hostility, bitterness etc.

      • Bastet says:

        Sound like your analysis is right on … as you concluded not everyone is able to respond with compassion and empathy .. I was lucky to run into someone who had that talent.

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