There was no more pain inside of her. Now she looked at the experience of the last three years as though it was a scene in a giant crystal ball, something of ten pasts removed. But it had been real, she knew that. The invisible fortress she had built around herself during the disaster reminded her of what she did not want to experience ever again. In the aftermath she had put up signs like “Danger zone”, “Land mines”, “No Trespassing” all around said fortress – which was so complicated and enormous that no map or GPS could ever bring anyone through it even if some fool attempted to climb its walls – and she had put on one of the blank Venetian masks for good measure just in case the impossible happened. Ah, and there, of course, were her monsters guarding the fortress against any possible intruders. Illaria, her cousin’s girlfriend, had once told Gaia she needs to meet a guy who would simply ignore all the contraptions she had set up and blast her fortress into oblivion as though to say “I don’t need no fucking maps or GPSes to lead me to you and your fortress stands no more chance at stopping me than a block of ice has hope for survival in the blazing furnaces of Murano’s glass makers.” But those were words. Gaia didn’t care for those. She knew she wouldn’t let anyone get that close to her ever again.
There was no way she would go through the thing that hurt the most – the delusion and betrayal. Gaia had thought she had known her tormentor. She had thought he – this once so charming prince – would be man enough yet he had chosen to be a coward who hid behind his beloved silence like a little boy hiding behind his mother’s skirt.
And what an exquisite torture he had unleashed upon her. One that lasted for three damned years.
Everything had started with rain – a soft drizzle of phone calls that always went unanswered for no reason. And soon enough it had turned into a full blown shower pouring down relentlessly – and then the flood began. There were no sirens announcing it the way it happened in Venice. One fine morning she had simply woken up realising she had been in the middle of it for months. And she had screamed, only to have her voice muffled by Hope. Go to hell, you blasted thing!
It had been a strange flood that had risen from upside down. It had smothered her. It had destroyed her. It had caused her unutterable pain and a razor sharp desire to die. Such a torturous agony was not suited for living beings, right? Wrong. It had to be impossible to survive it, right? Wrong again. Life during the flood had been very much possible and existent. Gaia herself was a proof of that.
She had felt every flaming acid molecule of the flood grate her soul, explode in every cell of her being and the wounds they had caused had been deeper than any physical weapon could ever inflict. Gaia had craved oblivion, death even, only to be spared feeling it, but none of that had come to her rescue no matter how she pleaded.
“They sent me here so that the salty air of the sea would cure my fucked up brain.” Gaia tried to pass the chuckle off as a sarcastic one but it didn’t come out quiet as convincing she had intended.
“They really said so?”
“Did they use the words “fucked up”? Yes, they actually did.” She nodded and smiled.
“And has the salt in the air done the task assigned to it? I mean, who knows it might come in handy as a cure some day.”
Gaia closed her eyes. “I don’t know. Maybe there is not as much salt in the air here as is necessary in a severe case such as mine.” She opened her eyes and glanced at the seagull perched on a wooden post. “They say that everything needs time and in my case I’m afraid it will be a very long time until my brain is cured. Ive turned into a cynic. Things I used to believe in – or thought I did, anyway – now seem foolish and amusing at best. They’re senseless now, for the most part. The flood cleansed me of contamination that my being needed to be disinfected of so that I could breathe again.”