I walk without looking at my map.
It's folded up in my pocket. Useless, because I can't find myself on it. The words are too tiny. The road I am on doesn't seem to exist. This church. This square. I can't find them on the page. It's okay. I've stopped caring about where I am, where I'm going.
Instead I look. I see.
It's possible that I am seeing for the first time.
Turn a corner and I am the only one walking down this alleyway. I look at my feet shuffling over 500 year-old cobblestones. Look up, at walls that Mozart might have trailed his fingers over on his way to conduct a concert. Up higher, a sky so blue it can't be real.
I can walk all day. Winding down passageways and over bridges. Admiring expensive clothing and glass and leather in store windows. Swirls of chocolates and pastries and bread.
This way leads across another bridge. This way, a dead end. A building. A locked door. Men selling masks and key chains. Statues. Ancient wells. The water shimmering in a canal.
A massive church rises up unexpectedly.
I move through a mass of people and I am one of them and somehow not one of them.
I don't know how I came to be in this place. I don't know where I am going next.
A split in the road, and I choose one of the paths with little thought because it doesn't matter which way I go. The truth is, I can't really get lost here. Even without a map. I've figured out that I can follow the signs painted on the sides of buildings, arrows pointing the way to the rail station. Or to the Rialto bridge. If you know these two places, you can trace your way to anywhere.
On a whim I stop to buy a gelato. I sit on an ancient wall and watch pigeons peck at the soggy roll that someone's dropped in the canal, at people taking selfies on a bridge. A burst of song from a roving acappella group. They sing faster and faster, the words in a language I don't know.
This gelato is the most delicious food I have ever tasted in my life. These pigeons are the cleverest birds I have ever seen. The people smiling at their phone screens are heart-breakingly beautiful.
This song, this song. How do I keep it inside me forever?