Mario would arrive in 40 days. The slowest 40 days of my life.
Now that the ticket had been purchased and “ti voglio bene” had been expressed, everything shifted. While neither of us was exactly sure how the visit – which would be just over 3 weeks long – would go, and there was definitely a nervous element to the planning (3 week if its going great? Fantastic. 3 weeks if we find out there’s nothing there? Awkwardly long.), it was completely clear that we were both hoping for the best: that the connection we had felt in Pisa, and all the conversation that had happened since, would lead to something special. Our hearts had already grown together. Now it was time to see what was possible.
Planning began in earnest. I worked it out with my boss to work mostly from home, coming in to the theatre on an as-needed basis. I ran a list of sites around DC by Mario, trying to figure out what he was interested in seeing while in town. The menu for a large Italian dinner that Mario wanted to cook for all my friends began to take shape. And, since this was his first time in America, a road trip up to New York began to formulate on what would be his birthday weekend.
One by one, the days passed. Then, finally, I woke up to the day when there was no letter.
Mario was on his way.