Published: November 9th 2010November 9th 2010
It was midnight - still boiling - and the couple had not booked a hostel. Their stomachs rumbling, they headed towards one of many overpriced Milanese gelaterias still open. Their hot mouths and tired bodies were grateful for the artificial sweetness and a moment of rest under dying neon lights. Then they sleepily lumbered along, fingers sticky. They scoured the streets for a place to sleep.
"Theres a park up there," Brendan gestured, "and it's quite warm out."
The couple trudged uphill, through the gates and down the path. There was a nightclub somewhere in this park - they could feel the heavy bass pulsing through the earth. Swinging their huge bags down and collapsing on top of them, the couple took a moment to breathe. They smelled bad - of crowded trains, stale sweat and cheap pizza.
"Shall we get the tent?" asked Sally.
"Best not put it up in case someone sees... but sure, we can lay it flat," Brendan replied. He fumbled in one of the bags, pulled out the tent and laid it in a shady spot behind some trees. Once the sleeping bags were on top it looked quite inviting. The pair settled down for the night, curled up to shield their faces from swarms of mosquitoes drawn to their sugary blood.
A nearby sprinkler popped out of the ground and turned itself on.
"What the? Sally, wake up! Grab the stuff!" Brendan cried. Dripping, clutching bundles of soaked possessions, Sally and Brendan dashed for the path. Brendan's socks thick with mud. There was no point in going back for his shoes in the impenetrable blackness. He dumped their things unceremoniously on the ground and slumped on a nearby bench. He scowled, his face covered in huge red mosquito bites. A tramp walked past and chuckled.
"Brendan, are you alright?" asked Sally, putting a reassuring hand on her boyfriend's shoulder.
"I hate Milan."
A sprinkler popped up just behind the bench.