Kristina Dailydaite MISSING IN VENICE

Venice is a strange place. Things tend to disappear here. For example, once that writer from America, Hemingway I believe was his name, lost his shirt button. The button was the third one from the top on the white shirt, the one with the studs. It was a beautiful button. He was just sitting on the bench in front of Great Britain’s pavilion in the “Venice Biennale”when the button just popped off. Another time, a different friend from America, who had recently moved to the United Kingdom, Eliot, lost his cigarette case. Probably he lost it while he was drinking coffee in a coffee shop in Giardini Pubblici and reading Tristan Corbière for the hundredth time.Maybe it was a good thing that he lost it, because afterwards he quit smoking. However, the story is not about either of them. The story is about Gala. The divine Gala, muse and savior of her second husband who was called S. Dali. In fact the story is about Gala and how she lost her baby daughter in the city of Venice. Because Venice is a strange place, a place where people lose things – each other, love, lust, where the safest place to be is your mother’s back when you’re 3 years old.

The morning Gala lost her daughter started with the sun in the sky and leaves falling off the trees.. Since there was no coffee left at the house, Gala decided to go out to a café and have a cup of the finest Brazilian. There was no one at the house besides her and her little daughter so she had to take her daughter with her. Everybody knew that Gala (Elena Ivanovna Diakonova, that was her true name) didn’t love her little daughter.  Every time they walked together, Gala would just drag her, because she was little and couldn’t keep up with her mother. And Galawould never sing a song or read a story before bed.

They went to the most famous coffee shop in Venice, Café Florian, because it was close enough to get it fast, and coffee was a drug to Gala. As it was said, coffee is like a cold comfort, which would never be traded in for a change. As soon as they entered Florian, Gala saw an old friend of hers, Max Ernst, who was spellbound by her like most of the men she knew. He was a nice guy, Dadaist, but a nice guy. She bought a cup of coffee for herself and a glass of hot milk and a muffin for her daughter. They sat at the table and she started talking to Max, not minding what her daughter was doing.

Time passed, glass was empty, muffin – eaten. The book the little girl had brought was read through again. Since mommy wasn’t paying any attention to her, she decided to go outside and look around for a while. Listening to the sound of the city, a melody of a cold steel rail over the green field, tasting a true smile, not a veil. Even though she was little, she knew a lot about the world. She knew what it was like to trade your heroes for ghosts, she had seen people exchanging a walk – on part in a war for a leading role in a cage, which seemed inglorious to her.

The day outside of the coffee shop was beautiful. It was the day she first saw a Zeppelin, the augur of bad news. She followed the Zeppelin with her eyes, started walking when she couldn’t see it through the trees, started running when the augur was disappearing from her sight. She ran faster than Babe Ruth in his best run. She was trying to catch the flying balloon until she realized she didn’t know where she was. She tried to find her way back until the sun came down. Those, who look at the stars from the other side tried to light the way. It was too dark and she was too small to get home, so she found a safe place to sit down. She wrote a list of things in the margins of her book. Things which would help her find way back home. She believed that if you closed your eyes and wished for something very much it might come true. She also believed it was very childish and stupid to think like that, but she believed that she was a child as well. So she closed her eyes and wished. None of those things she wrote down were next to her when she opened her eyes.  She never went back home, she never saw Gala again, she never got to meet Luis Bunuel.

Not only things, but people get lost in Venice.

Kristina Dailydaite: “This girl is from Lithuania, recently moved to York, UK. She hasn’t written a story in her own language, she doesn’t write stories in perfect English either. She writes stories in broken English, combining the hideous with the pretty one, making her pieces play the chess.”

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