Last Friday morning, I was barely able to contain my anticipation as I boarded a train heading for Milan.The books I had packed sat untouched as I could barely even concentrate on anything aside from side-eyeing the Facebook interactions of the man next to me.
The purpose of my excursion was to attend that evening’s performance of “La Boheme” at Teatro alla Scala, the most renowned opera house in the world, where my favorite opera just happened to be being performed the week of my birthday. Coincidence? Well, yeah, probably–but I suppose it’s the universe’s way of making up for me getting stuck in a Burger King bathroom the following afternoon. Oh yeah, that happened.
As I stepped off the train and into the grand Milano Centrale station, I inhaled deeply. The Dolce & Gabbana ads seemed to wink at me as I made my way down the large staircase, trying not to feel too much like a princess.
After arriving at my hotel and watching a pixellated French news station, I set out on the difficult task of making myself look as mysterious and glamorous as possible. Seeing as I was going alone, my sole aim was to appear a mute baroness or perhaps an heiress in disguise. So thanks, Zara, for helping me out with that one.
Stubbornly, I walked the three kilometers from my hotel to the theater. I could feel the blisters forming, but the anticipation of the oak doors opening at any moment acted as a natural pain-reliever.
I glided into the theater, keeping my nose in the air and refusing to smile, despite my vast excitement. When I arrived at my box, however, my cover was easily blown. Each box at La Scala contains five seats. Two chairs rest alongside the balcony, another set of chairs sit directly behind those, and in the back of the box there rests a lone stool. I am sure you can imagine where this is going.
I perched on my stool as if this had been my executive decision and not my inability to read Italian instructions when ordering tickets.
The performance was lovely, however. Perhaps it was just the simple feeling of being at La Scala, soaking in the silk wallpaper and the diamond necklaces around me that made me so inexplicably thrilled with every note and every gesture. At intermission, I tucked my nose into a glass of champagne to hide my smile.
It wasn’t until the performance was over that I realized the part of my brain responsible for logic had been severely fried. I stepped outside and saw the masses flooding into taxi cabs. I checked in my purse to ensure I had proper fare. “Taking a taxi sure would be a good idea,” I told myself. Which is precisely why I chose to walk home at midnight, feeling my shoes cut into my heels with every step. I was no longer a baroness, but a baroness with an unfortunate limp.
Somehow, bloodying shoes I had just bought earlier that day was the least of my problems as I fell into bed with a smile on my lips and an aria in my ears.