Being back in Venice was making me nostalgic. I found myself visiting all my old haunts; I cut through the park I used to walk my dog in, I had a scone at my favorite cafe, and I walked by the loft that I had shared with James. The new owners renovated it, and it lost some of it’s charm and personality. I strolled past the museum that I never broke into, and stopped by the bank to visit my most secure safety deposit box.
It had been a long time since I checked this box, and the security measures were more involved than I had remembered. They made me feel safe, though, and I ran a finger across the lid once I was alone with it in the small room. I hesitated for a moment, then opened the box.
The first thing I saw was a photograph. I picked it up and looked it over with a bittersweet smile. The photograph showed me in a pink sundress, strappy sandals and the biggest smile I’ve ever had on my face. There was a tall, dark and handsome Italian man holding me close; James. We were standing on a bridge over the Canals, and looked very much in love. This photo was the one we had selected for our engagement announcement, and the sun was gleaming off my ring. I stared at the photograph for a long moment, remembering how happy I had been that day.
Below it, there were a few other photographs; James and I on holiday in Ireland, a group photo with us and some of our friends the day he had proposed to me, and a photo of me as a baby with my mother. Under the photos were a passport and a certified birth certificate; my real identity. I had stopped using it completely when I left Italy and had been living under disposable identities the last couple years so that I wouldn’t be found.
I absentmindedly fiddled with the various other knick-knacks in the box, then rearranged the small collection in their container. I locked the box, and wiped away a single tear of mourning for the life that I almost had.