New city with a familiar face: Denise is in Venice! (My lonely heart is saved!) The first thing we did together was get completely lost. Which was only slightly alarming, but mostly thrilling. Venice is an intricate labyrinth of canals, alleyways, and cobble streets. Maps are useless. The mere idea of GPS is ridiculous.

Denise is a natural creature of the night, a perfect partner in crime and antipasta! Together, we wandered for hours, utterly confused and completely grateful for all the little hidden gems that Venice gifted us with, like Libreria Acqua Alta – an alleyway bookshop with tattered old books stacked high in bathtubs and boats and a spine-chilling, candlelit performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons in a 17-century church. We divided the cost of a glorious nighttime gondola down the canal with two pairs of lovebirds who cozied up in the rows in front of us.

As they canoodled, my heart panged for my own Valentino. Denise smiled wryly, patted my knee, and said matter-of-factly: “Summer romances don’t last, Ric.” I hope she’s right.


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