visiting san sibilia
I play a solo game written by Jimmy Shelter. The values in brackets are the cards I drew that turn. The journal text has been minimally edited for typos and sentences making sense.
I played a lonely poet going by the name of Nemo.
day 1 of Fall
A train horn woke me up from my sleep. To my surprise there were no other passengers on the train, and I could not find the attendant. Something drew me out of the car and onto the foggy platform. A station I did not recall. Through the mist I read the name of this place… San Sibilia.
hearing reading about this place. In a bookstore I worked at we had a pamphlet stand. It contained lots of travelling brochures and “Visit San Sibilia” was one of them. I did not bother to give it any attention at the time, but the design of the brochure changed from day to day.
As I turned around as I’ve noticed my first problem. The train was gone. With all my luggage still there. I was so glad I carried my pen and notebook in the inside pocket of my coat, or I would not be writing this. Anyway, I did have a few marks that I could exchange for accommodation. It was getting late and I didn’t want to be stranded on the streets.
I found this cozy little motel situated right alongside the beach. To my relief I had just enough coins for a week long stay, with a breakfast included! The host was a tall man in a colourful suit (that reminded me of my stay in Budapest). He approached me in the most polite manner that made me self-conscious of my grumpy mood and look.
The room I got had a partial view of the sea. The moon reflecting in the ways was a beautiful sight, but I just wanted to sleep.
day 2 of Fall (2-7)
The host’s name was Lado. He prepared me a wonderful breakfast, and we chatted about the town. When I asked if there were any other guests at the motel, he answered that there have not been any visitors to the town “in a long long time”. He finished the conversation by inviting me to the Theatre d’Amroise, reasoning that he had a spare ticket. I promptly agreed since I had no plans for the evening (and I had not gone to a theatre with another person for quite a while).
I spent the rest of my day looking for a shop with suits. I could not pass the occasion to be fancy for once. A local tailor Ruslan helped me pick a suit, which he gave as a gift. “A welcome gift for my favourite customer” he exclaimed.
As the day drew closer to afternoon, I was becoming increasingly nervous. What was I doing? Going out in an unknown city. I was supposed to find a way out of here. Contact the train company and get my suitcases back. I was supposed to do things that I wasn’t doing right now.
Instead of going to the theatre I laid down on the sandy beach. Watching the sun set for what felt like hours.
that night (Q-2)
I did not hear Lado’s footsteps approaching, but he was here now. Sitting besides me. I think he saw the smile on my face because he chuckled with his unique softness. It was the first time I heard him laugh.
day 1 of Winter (6-5 clubs)
I haven’t skied since my childhood vacations in the Alps, but Lado really wanted to show me the mountains. We planned to stay at his sister’s ski resort that would provide all the equipment.
The resort looked a lot like the place Lado had at the beach. Instead of overlooking the sea, the sight was of a snowy hillside.
Agata, Lado and I spent the whole afternoon skiing down the magnificent slopes. It took me to fall about ten times before I could ski at their pace.
As the evening came over the hills like a warm blanket, I took the chance to read my book (from Lado’s collection). It detailed the history and geography of San Sibilia, but as soon I turned over the page I passed out on the couch near the fireplace.
day 7 of Winter (7-7)
I did not expect to see my name on the theatre poster. Apparently I was reading my poems for one night only! Lado assured me it was going to go great. Well, at least I got to wear that suit I had gotten more than a season ago.
There were not many seats, there were even fewer audience members. I saw the familiar faces of Agata, Lado (of course) and Ruslan. A couple of new people that I did not have the pleasure of meeting yet. In all honesty this is probably more folks than those who read my writing.
After the reading I met with the town mayor in the theatre hall. They said that they liked my poems so much that they would reopen the old library in my name! I was incredibly humbled by that idea. Riley announced the renovated “Nemo Library” will be open next season for everyone to enjoy.
I felt too emotional to sleep. Lado and I sat on the cold sang of the icy beach.
day 10 of Winter (8-4)
Today I had a brunch with the mayor. Riley pointed out to me that because of my poems all kinds of folk became inspired to create.
So many have started to paint that they organised a little gallery in the town hall. Riley had the thought of opening a permanent art space soon. Really changing up the art scene in the town.
day 1 of Spring (K-8 clubs)
I picked up the newspaper this morning, anticipating the library opening. And there it was! “VISIT NEMO LIBRARY” on the front page. I could not express the joy I felt at the moment. And I sat there with this careless smile on my face, until Lado called me downstairs.
day 2 of Spring (4-6)
Was having a long overdue coffee with Lado in the motel’s seaside porch. Just a very cozy day.
day 5 of Summer (10-V clubs)
I was woken up by distant music. I felt the need to trod the foggy streets of morning San Sibilia, looking for the source of the eerie melodies.
I found myself on the train station platform. The train attendant playing their tiny music box. I got into the car cabin on impulse. As soon both of my feet were inside the train started moving.
I did not jump out.
I found my suitcases where they were last time. All my things neatly folded as always.
I reached into the back pocket of my coat. A ticket for a night at the Theatre d’Amroise.