When you have a dream and your blood boils with determination, it is hard to foresee the number of hurdles you will face on the course ahead. Hope is such a dynamic force. Like a ship opening up it’s sails with confidence, a naive young woman can unwittingly sail into fierce storms she never imagined.
When Luciana Ranallo boarded her flight at Bucharest, all she saw was a dazzling future. Her father believed in her. His email to her at Christmas breathed even more confidence and conviction that she could do anything she dreamt of, she could conquer the world. Her mother was not quite as enthusiastic about little her Lucia departing from her home. It was clear that Dorota was full of anxiety about her twenty-one year old daughter, who was as stubborn and strong-willed as her Italian father Marco, who had only been in the same room as his daughter nine times in her life. But Dorota Luciana would never settle until she left Brașov and went to explore the world for herself, starting with London.
For her sake I am glad that Luciana’s hopes were so vibrant that when arrived at the block of flats in Dalston where a friend of her father’s lived, she hardly noticed the yellow stained walls and ceiling, overflowing ashtrays and recycling boxes full of beer cans and empty sardine tins, and the obnoxious stench floating out of the bathroom.
Luciana was thrilled that she had made it. Tommaso spoke to her in Italian at a pace she was unable to comprehend. She had grown up hearing Romanian and Hungarian, and although she could understand her father’s mother tongue, she missed half of what Tommaso was telling her. She did catch that he was going out and would be back later. He had pushed a pile of takeaway menus in front of her before departing. Luciana was not hungry. She had left her home over eighteen hours earlier, and now all she wanted to do was close her eyes and sleep.
She sent a text message to her sister asking to tell her mama that she had arrived in London and would call her the next morning. Ten minutes later, she was fast asleep. She slept through the music blaring from the flat above. She slept through the screaming from across the road. She slept through Tommaso slamming the front door when he returned home at half past one in the morning. Sirens from police cars and ambulances did not wake her. Her first night in London was a peaceful one. She slumbered obliviously to the frantic buzz of one of the cities in this world that is never really asleep.