After driving for thirteen years in this 200 sq.km area of lively desert, you would probably think he would have already got used to looking at all these massive assemblies of historical monuments recreated. But no, it was not so for Mathews. Despite looking at these numerous facsimiles every day through the dark blue tinted glass of his silver Cadillac XTS stretch limo, one place that never failed to fascinate him was The Venetian. He had seen the replicas of The Statue of Liberty, The Brooklyn Bridge, The Leaning Tower of Pisa, The Eiffel Tower, The Great Pyramids of Giza and The Sphinx, all situated in various hotels in the city but The Venetian was the one which he admired the most.
As a chauffeur, it was his duty to take his commuters to their requested destination as quickly as possible, but on those rare chances when he was to pass by the hotel, he always made an excuse to slacken his speed. Today was one of those blessed days when the destination was the same. Waiting for the lights behind a canary yellow hummer with its sunroof open on the Las Vegas Boulevard or more commonly known as The Strip, Mathews thought of the few minutes of that blessed day when he had sneaked in as a bell boy as a teenager. The place was said to be an authentic replica of Venice and true to its name. For someone who spent his childhood in the floating city, it was as close to real life as it could be and hence flooding him with memories.
He simply shook his head got the thought out of his mind, and focused on dropping the passengers in the hotel. On reaching the drop point, he got off and opened the rear door for the lady and his husband to come out. Surprisingly though only the lady stepped out, and the husband was nowhere to be seen. He was sure that the couple had got in, but before he asked the lady anything, she told him to bring her luggage from the vehicle. Mathews completely forgot about the husband and without hesitation picked the two suitcases and followed her in immediately. He simply couldn’t believe his great luck to enter the hotel again, and this time legally.
The lady in her body-hugging flashy velvet LBD in front of her didn’t grab his attention as much as the beautiful, lively interiors of the tenth-floor reception area. The ceiling was painted of a light blue sky with numerous black clouds hovering about ready to burst, just as they would be in his home town almost throughout the year. The walls were decorated with Venetian paintings, obviously all of them replicas. Even the stairs and the doors had a Venetian charm to them. Mathews followed the lady to her room, where he kept the suitcases near the window. Outside the window, he saw, not the landscape of Vegas but rather the Rialto Bridge. His favorite place in the city under which, he would watch as a kid, the world famous gondolas pass by many-a-times laden with flowers.
Suddenly a loud honk wakes him up from his dream state, and Mathews opens his eyes to look at the green lights blazing in front him. He quickly shifts his gear and trudges down the road hoping that the passengers didn’t notice the sudden honking. He turns towards the Venetian and wonders how easy it was to get used to the unending traffic present 24×7 throughout the year here, but not adapt to the sight of the beautiful hotel. He gets down to open the door, thinking whether his day-dream might just come true. But instead, a young man in his mid-twenties comes out in a tuxedo with two women in bright colored minidresses. He gives Mathews a handsome tip, asks him to pick him up tomorrow at 7 in the morning and goes inside laughing with his female companions. Mathews stands there longing to go in, not for the casino, not for the delicious Italian food or not even for the women inside, but just to have a glimpse of an imitation of his childhood home.