At first I thought I might still be dreaming. In a month’s time, not a single day had passed where I hadn’t heard from Mario. Some days I heard more than once. And yesterday we had had that great conversation!
Surely there was some mistake. Maybe it was caught in the email server and hadn’t yet arrived. Or maybe he had just had a busy day. Even with the six hour time difference, there were still many hours before he would go to sleep. Most likely I would receive a letter later on in the day.
I headed to work, fairly calm, but slightly unsettled. As I progressed through the meetings, readings, assignments and rehearsals that were scheduled for that day, I remained distracted. Every opportunity I had to be back at my computer, I would take a moment and check to see if he had written.
The hours passed. My work day was done, and I dejectedly fought traffic on my way home.
What had happened?
I was at a complete loss. Everything seemed fine yesterday. Our conversation had been fun, light-hearted and seemingly enjoyable on both sides. So why would he suddenly decide not to write? We had always taken turns, and since I had written him not long before we had chatted on Sunday, it was definitely his turn.
By the time I got home that night I knew that it was too late to expect any letter that day. It was way past midnight in Italy and since Mario’s work necessitated that he rise early in the morning, I knew that he was most likely already asleep.
This meant I had way too many hours before my own bedtime to think about the fact that there had been no letter.
I knew I needed to distract myself. Luckily, Ruby, a good friend of mine, called. Ruby and I had been talking about becoming roommates, and she was calling to let me know that she had been able to make an appointment to see one of the houses we were interested in renting. Could I meet her in half an hour?
As Ruby and I toured the house, I tried to focus on the task at hand. But I was too distracted. Finally, the tour ended and once we were outside, Ruby pulled me aside.
“What in the world is going on?”
I hesitated. Up to this point, I hadn’t told a soul about Mario. Not that we had met, not that we were writing letters, not that I found myself getting dangerously attached. I was having a hard enough time convincing myself that something was going on, and I didn’t know how to explain it to someone else. Especially after today.
I hemmed and hawed a little bit, making some poor excuses for why my mind was a million – or, more precisely, 4,000 – miles away. Ruby just looked at me, arms folded.
And it all came out. As we stood there on the sidewalk, leaning against Ruby’s car, I began to tell her everything. The story of how we had met, the unexpected invitation while I was in Switzerland, the subsequent letters, our conversation the day before, and, most importantly, the silence of today. Before I finished, the sun was setting and the street lamps were beginning to light up, and yet she stayed there, listening to my tale. Finally, someone else knew what was going on.
The perfect response.
Having finally confided in someone, I felt infinitely more relaxed. Ruby, on the other hand, was, understandably, a little bit shocked. Not only by the events in the story, but by the fact that I hadn’t breathed a word. How had I kept this to myself for all this time?
After a few more questions, and a lot more details, Ruby gave the only advice she could. I would just have to wait and see what tomorrow would bring.