In winter there came the rides. Landing from the sea, the fabolous sailing-ships-coaches of a great circus layed as falling leaves on the Shore of Schiavoni.
It was so thrilling looking at the pontoons sailing, full of colours and lights, just like plunging into the sea from the highest trampoline of the dam of the Lido.
“They have arrived!” shouted Anna. She had an eagle eye, although she was really short.
To that cry, all of us, so naughty, suddenly became diligent pupils, unimpeachable. “We are doing well at school, and we do our homeworks”, this was the imperative ruling our day. It was worth it. Once the last notebook was closed, we all went running off.
We always knew where to meet each other during those days, in the afteroon. To the rides.
The Roller Coaster, the Cave of the Fears, the Shoot to the Bear and the Bumper Cars. The rides were to us the materization of the Aladdin’s Lamp. Every time we rub against our pockets as if they were lamps, looking for coins, and we ask to the genius for one more ride, one more candy, a lollypop, a sweet, some cotton candy, a goldfish.
Anna was the champion of shooting from the roller coaster, most of the times she won one more ride, so she was the last to run out of money.
Anna, the little brat. We called her that because she adored to spite the boys and they, in turn, called her “pocket Venus”, such was the perfection of her beauty.
The rides kept us chained untill the genius of the lamp gave us the last ten liras. Sometimes the fog rolled in, but it did not matter to us.
Actually, the cold made us more euphoric. With the excuse of it, we hid ourselves under our scarves and hats, getting up to some mischief. The labyrinth of glasses and mirrors was the ideal place to meet the boys. We pretended to get lost for hours. It was the excuse to play the kitten. Venice offered me that, too.
A floating playground.
In the evening, exhausted, we took the steamboat from Arsenale and we sat on the prow.
It was the best way to get the wind on our faces and to drink the happyness we had just left behind.
And on our boat we sailed back home.