Once in Venice, or an almost real Valentine’s Day story
Venice in the days of Carnival is both beautiful and crazy. A chaotic wave of fancy costumes, mysterious masks, and laughing voices carries you along canals, palazzos, and squares. And, despite the February mist and cold, you can feel the irresistible scent of spring approaching!
...However, in the morning, when the streets get quieter, it’s the irresistible scent of croissants from Donna Francesca's cafe that captivates everyone.
“Donna Francesca, do you believe in love?” asks a shy boy sitting at a cafe table near the window. During the Carnival, you can meet absolutely any character in Venice — from a beautiful Colombina to a scary Dracula. So no one was paying attention to this young boy dressed in an ancient costume and carrying a bow with arrows. If they had looked closer, thought, they would have realized he was a real … Cupid!
“I prefer to believe in the power of hot croissants and cappuccino!” replied Donna Francesca, smiling and wiping her hands on her apron. However, considering the delicious taste of her dishes, they could easily be a religion of their own!
“Why not in love, Donna Francesca? Valentine’s Day is approaching.” Cupid looked upset.
“Love is a tale for the most naive people. Yesterday, I saw my Giuseppe flirting with Silvia. Of course, I didn’t let him in when he came home in the evening! Just like on that day when he cheered for Juventus!”
“It’s a pity, Donna Francesca! You know what brings me here? As Cupid, I have a special mission.”
“I must make at least one couple happy by Valentine’s Day. And this couple should truly love each other and believe in love. Otherwise…”
“Otherwise I will be fired. I will lose my powers forever and no one in this world will ever fall in love. I came here in hope that I can find the right couple in this romantic city during the Carnival before Valentine’s Day.”
“Any success?” asked Donna Francesca.
“Unfortunately, people do not believe in love anymore. They leave and betray each other, don’t treat each other seriously, are afraid to open their hearts and say they do not need love. I do not even fly in the skies anymore with my bow and arrows — I walk down in the streets to try to understand people better.”
“Oh, how sad!”
“I have also another restriction. I am forbidden to make even one more mistake. Otherwise… you know what. That’s why I feel so hesitant and sad.”
“Cheer up, boy. Let me make you a cappuccino foam heart,” offered Donna Francesca, and took down a cup.
The foam heart she made looked very lovely in Cupid’s cup, but it instantly melted away.
“It’s a sign, it’s a sign,” grumbled Cupid, as he walked out of the cafe sadly. “There’s no love in this world.” He almost stumbled upon a street cleaner who was sweeping away love cards, paper hearts, and gift ribbons.
Walking further, Cupid noticed a very beautiful couple on the Rialto Bridge.
“Buongiorno! Do you believe in lo…,” he started saying. But before Cupid could finish his phrase, the man said to the lady “I never loved you. Sorry. Bye!” She replied, “I don’t want to see you ever again!”.
“Crap!” thought Cupid. He sat down on a bench and opened his laptop. Cupid had his own dating website to match couples. Not that he had big hopes in the site, but who knows!
Unexpectedly, he discovered that his website was absolutely unavailable and showing a scary error. He tried again and again. It was hopeless.
“Hopeless day, hopeless website, hopeless world!” cried Cupid. “Ah, who cares! No one finds love on this site anyway.”
Suddenly, an cheery man came up and sat on the bench next to him.
“What a lovely day, and lovely weather!” he exclaimed excitedly. “Can you tell me where they sell wedding rings in this city? By the way, my name’s Bernardo!”
“A lovely day? Wedding rings? Maybe you also wanna tell me that you believe in love, Bernardo?” asked Cupid sarcastically.
“Of course I do! I love my girlfriend and she loves me. We just know it’s for real!”
Cupid looked at him with hope, and crossed his fingers for luck.
“Today, we are going to meet in person,” continued Bernardo.
“In person? Haven’t you met before?” asked Cupid.
“Just photos, messaging, and video chats on a dating website. We are from different countries and we met online. The site’s called something like “Cupid’s dating website.” Ever heard of it?”
Cupid had a fit of nervous coughing.
“This website’s chat is the only way we keep in touch,” continued Bernardo. “I don’t even know her number or email. She wished to stay incognito. We agreed to meet at the Venice Carnival right before Valentine’s day. It’s the best place for a mysterious girl! That’s her nickname, by the way.”
“Her nickname is Mysterious Girl?”
“Yep! Still, we have to agree when and where exactly we will meet in this huge crowd. Finally I will take her carnival mask off her pretty face and kiss her! And then I will propose to her!”
“Wait, wait, did you say you only communicate through this website’s chat?” groaned Cupid.
“Yes, only!” said the guy and took out his tablet. “Speaking of which, I need to check the chat to see if she wrote me.”
“Sorry, I gotta go, bye!” Cupid ran away. First, he was afraid to see Bernardo’s reaction to the non-working website. Second, he had to find some way out of the situation. He had to! Otherwise… you know what.
But, so far, he was only just able to find a way out of the labyrinths of Venetian streets.
He ran out to San Marco Square just at the moment when the tower clock was striking the time. Curious tourists were standing there and making their wishes. The wishes were meant to come true — at least, tourist guides promised so.
“Wishes? Of course! How could I forget?” exclaimed Cupid. He suddenly remembered that his friend Santa Junior once told him about the House of Wishes and how they made a website for him with a magic elixir.
Bingo! This is where they could fix Cupid’s dating website ASAP and do anything else he wished.
“Please, please, guys, you must help me! I know you are true magicians!” Cupid crossed his fingers more and more tightly... and sent an urgent request to the House of Wishes.
...In the meantime, the Carnival crowd was gathering. And, somewhere amidst it, Bernardo was wandering in despair, and his beloved Mysterious Girl in a Venetian mask could not find him.
“They could be the best couple in the world,” sighed Cupid, checking his website again and again to see if it was still down. “They could be my luckiest project.”
“They could be… and they will be!!!” exclaimed Cupid happily as he saw that the website was finally fixed!
Even more — it now had a beautiful image with hearts on the front page and a message “Mysterious Girl, will you marry Bernardo?” Just like Cupid wished!
In addition, it had a “yes”/”no” button available for clicking only to the user “Mysterious Girl.” And Cupid saw that this user had already pressed “yes”!
Yes, yes, yes! This short and simple word had never sounded so lovely to him before!
...Venice in the days of Carnival is both beautiful and crazy. Its chaotic wave carried Cupid like a tsunami of love and joy.
A wave? Wait! There was now water literally slopping against Cupid’s shoes. A flood had begun on San Marco Square. A regular occurance in Venice, but it was not listed in the weather forecast.
The Carnival crowd was screaming, running, laughing, splashing the water with their shoes, dancing around, taking their masks off, and kissing their loved ones! And the scent of approaching spring was undeniable and invincible! Just like love.
Do you believe in love? Who knows what will help you find or save your love! Take care and, just in case, keep the address of the House of Wishes ;)