The remaining 24 hours of our road trip sped by. Birthday dinner in Little Italy (where Mario felt like he had died and gone to heaven), and trips to Times Square (Mario was completely overcome by the lights, energy and sheer mass of bodies), the Empire State building, Central Park and the Brooklyn Bridge. Sunday saw us fighting hours of traffic to get out of the city and on our way home, with the briefest of detours in Philadelphia. But finally, in the late hours of the night, we pulled up to my house in DC.
We had survived.
It seemed like we had been gone forever. Even though it had only been an extended weekend, a lot had changed. Once again our relationship had deepened and it seemed like there was no limit to how much we could grow attached to each other.
Back in DC, Mario was possessed by one, all-consuming mission: to find me a new purse. Now there was nothing wrong with my purse. It was fine. Functional. Yes, it was inexpensive (I think it was a Target special), but it served my needs. Mario, however, was appalled by my purse. Part of it was his Italian nature (this was, after all, a very fashionable culture). The larger part of it was he didn’t think it was big enough (which was only true when he was adding his wallet, sunglasses and cellphone into the mix). But no matter the reason, Mario was determined to buy me the perfectly stylish (and sized) purse – one that, every time I used it, would cause me to think of him.
We had actually been looking for over a week, and had spent time in several New York stores trying to find this perfect purse. But to no avail. Mario, in his desire to gift me with a purse that he could be proud of, tended to drift towards the more expensive brands until the price tags had both of us choking in amazement. We just couldn’t seem to find a purse that satisfied his style, my needs and fell within an acceptable price range.
Mario refused to give up. This purse had turned into a symbol of his devotion and he was determined that he would find something before he left. Every time we were out in DC, sightseeing, out to dinner or simply running errands, he would manage to pull me into one more store.
The man liked to shop more than I did.
As the days passed and we still had no luck, I decided to take Mario to a nearby mall. Lots of stores. Lots of options. Surely we would find something. As we wandered, hand in hand, through the mall, we continuously struck out. The Fate in charge of finding the perfect purse did not seem disposed to smile upon us.
Having exhausted our options, we decided to head back to the car. We rode up the escalator in silence, disappointed in our lack of success but nonetheless content to spend time with each other. We got off on our floor and as we headed towards the parking garage we passed by one of the many jewelers located in the mall. Mario paused. He looked over at me, a question looming in his beautiful eyes. I don’t know what he read on my face, but it was enough. Without a word, he changed course and we walked through the door.