City Stories


Chapter Three


It must have been five in the morning, and Lisbon’s infamous Pink Street was bustling. There were tons of people straying, looking to hit the next place on their personal schedule. To most, navigating the night felt like a mission that required absolute completeness.

Intoxicated, Vincenzo decided to hail a cab and make his way home. He did have a day off ahead and was aching for some mighty needed sleep. He said goodbye to his company and chased his ride for a few meters.

The driver somberly saluted Vincenzo and went off. The car zig-zagged away; along its course, it found dozens fumbling around, searching for their mates, having a smoke, finishing up their warm drinks. The steady brightness of the sky welcomed the new day like a good old friend.

Recollections of the previous evening flooded Vin’s mind. He had met up with his friends in Santos. The smells of grilled sardines and pork meat permeated the entire block. Mouths begun to water, as thirsts had already been quenched. The tables around had been seized by families and groups like theirs in a heartbeat. The music flying over them was solemn, even silly; and yet, nothing could ever compare.

The ride home was nearing its end, but visions of the night’s events kept seeping in; it was a high that could not have been faked. Friendly faces and smiles had surrounded all moments – Lukas, Ruth, Frances, Axel, and Johnny. They had danced, they had sung along tirelessly. They had drunk beyond capacity. It had all felt like instants never to be replicated. Each minute, a single shot to be taken. Each hour, an entirely different transition to the entire picture.

Vincenzo left the cab with a respectful farewell. As he walked towards the entrance of his apartment’s building, a whole new anamnesis ensued. Somewhere in Vila Berta, he had made acquaintance with this lovely, witty brunette. Serena was this breath of fresh air, visiting from Italy. They had connected in the blink of an eye. They lost themselves in one another, secretly hoping for it to be some kind of remedy, some kind of cure for the harshness of life.

The door of the apartment opened before Vincenzo’s eyes. The silence was overwhelming. His thoughts made up for any lack of reaction from the environment he saw himself in, yet again.

A sweet scent of perfume ran through his nostrils and up to his soul. Serena. He could feel her in his arms, once more. Her flowing locks lay on his shoulder, her lips on his silent cheek. He heard her sing his name, gleefully, in a night that seemed to have no ending. Her eyes spoke truths he was not sure he could understand but, regardless, he longed for them to be mentioned one more time. He coveted her presence. He felt like the start of the next day was an utter failure, as she wasn’t by his side.

As he stepped into his room, remembrance hour faded into absurdity. Nothing had seemed to have fallen into a reasonable place and somehow, life was supposed to go on. He gave in to the inexplicable order of things, took off his clothes in commiseration and placed his head against his sorrowful pillow. Sleep was the ultimate biological requirement awaiting fulfillment.

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