Sitting alone at a small cafe, she waited patiently. Thoughts of the past week raced through her mind. The palms of her hands were pasty. The name of the cafe was Rilassarsi.
Relax, she thought. Are you kidding me?
This was the last thing on her mind. She just needed to see him and almost couldn’t contain herself. The feelings were overwhelming, with the slightest touch of sickness in the pit of her stomach.
She had been born and raised here after her father had been transferred to Italy during his tour of duty and met the love of his life. Being bilingual had its perks, especially when it came time for her to find work. Now, at 24, she found herself possibly in the same situation her mother had been in so many years ago, but it all seemed not so far. Even though she wasn’t there, she knew in her heart what her mother must have been feeling at the time.
The cafe was situated on a street corner next to a bakery. The smell of fresh bread was in the air. She ran her hands across the red table cloth, feeling the fabric, taking it in, making sure she was grounded. She wanted to take in every detail and never forget.
She lost herself for a moment, looking at the flowers in the planters beside her, thinking of him, wanting him. She knew that certain things had to happen first, and searched for wisdom within her that her mother instilled.
“Hey.” He said.
She looked up to see him walking towards her. He was dressed in slacks with a button up shirt. She couldn’t get over how handsome he truly was. His smile alone was enough to send her heart racing into overdrive. Never had she ever felt this way about anyone, and she never wanted it to end.
As he came closer, she stood up. Falling into each other’s arms was exactly what happened. It seemed as if they were supporting one another; they had both fallen hard and it showed in their eyes. He planted a kiss on her cheek as they pulled away from each other.
“How are you? Good, I hope.”
“Yes, I’m fantastic.” She said, not being able to hold back a nervous laugh, which he followed in sync with.
“I have a table, maybe we should sit now. People are starting to wonder.”
He glanced around at a few of the patrons, nodding and smiling apologetically.
They sat across from one another, holding hands. Neither one of them could stop smiling. It seemed impossible for either one of them to just sit and talk without having a constant smile.
“I just want to say that I know you have to go. I just wish there was more time.” She said.
“I do too.” He said, squeezing her hand a little more. “I feel bad about the other night. I feel I scared you.”
“Well, I know you have some concerns about us, about what to do. I just want you to know that my life is filled with joy when your around. You have filled my heart with love and I will keep it with me when you’re gone. I accept that your job, your duty, is what you have to honor right now. I will wait for you.”
He could feel the love deep within him growing for her. Just knowing that she cared enough to express her feelings so early in this relationship, even suggesting waiting for him made him feel exhilarated.
“Thank you for being so open with me. You make me feel and experience emotions I didn’t know I even had. I have to admit, that’s why I probably frightened you the other night. Everything seemed to be moving so fast.”
He drew in closer to the table, leaning across, staring into her eyes. She accepted the invitation, moving in also, licking her lips, watching every movement in his expression while he spoke.
“I’m so sorry for feeling vulnerable, but now I know it wasn’t that. It was something more, something positive.”
The edges of her mouth turned up ever so slightly. She was overflowing with joy, but listened carefully.
A bead of sweat sprouted from his forehead and he quickly wiped it away.
“All I’m trying to say is that I’ve fallen for you. I’ve fallen for you hard, and I’m not sure what to do next.”
She couldn’t stand it anymore. The smile found its way back and she squeezed his hand tight.
“I feel the same.” She said, then kissed the backside of his hand.
“You don’t have to say anymore.”
“No. I do. I want to.” He said.
He got up and moved to her side of the table, sitting next to her, and turned his chair towards her. She sat quietly, holding his hands firmly in her lap, one hand overlapping the other.
He pulled in close, looking deep into her.
“There is so much that I want to say to you, but feel like that maybe I should keep my mouth shut until another time. But then, heaven forbid something were to happen to one of us. I regret not saying anything to you just considering that possibility.”
This was already making her heart rate increase. He was pouring his emotions out for her and she welcomed it.
“It absolutely drives me crazy to see you. Ever since I saw you for the first time, something has changed in me. My heart skipped a beat. You are the first person, ever, to make me question who I really am. I want to be better for you. You are breathtaking. I love to make you laugh and it just makes my day to see you smile.”
She grabbed hold of him, wrapping both arms around his neck.
“I knew you were the one the moment I laid eyes on you.” She said through tears of joy.
He closed his eyes, taking in every second. “Baby. There isn’t much time.”
She pulled away, nodding her head while wiping stray tears away.
“Our lives have been like one, and this is going to be something I miss and cherish at the same time. You are so brave to do what you do and I pray that you’ll be safe and remember our love when you take flight.”
He pushed a strand of her hair back. She gravitated towards his hand as it brushed the side of her cheek.
“You had better hurry. Give me one last kiss. I’ll be here when you return.”
He touched his cheek to hers, kissing ever so slightly and whispered in her ear.
“I love you.”