The first day passed in a jet lag induced haze. After lunch, we stopped by the church to set up some equipment for an afternoon activity. Then, finally, it was time to head to Mario’s apartment. I took a deep breath as I stepped in the room that I had so often been the background during our video chats – and the apartment that would be our home after the wedding. Though small (and I do mean, small), it had a certain charm that only Italian architecture can provide. Anxious to see my reaction, Mario eagerly showed me around while letting me know his ideas of how we could make the space work for the two of us after we were married.
While I was becoming familiar with the space, there was a knock on the door. Mario’s uncle, Zio, whow had recently moved from Sicily to work at Mario’s business, had come over to welcome me to the family. After a warm and enthusiastic greeting, it was decided that we would celebrate my arrival with dinner at Mario’s favorite restaurant. A beautiful trattoria nestled into the Lucca countryside, the evening was as delicious as it was picturesque.
It wasn’t long though until the lack of sleep and the jet lag caught up with me. Though I was reluctant to bring our first night to an end, my eyelids were growing heavy and my ability to speak (and to comprehend) Italian started to nosedive. After dropping off Zio, Mario took me out to the Fiori’s home to get me settled for the night. Once again, the greeting was warm and enthusiastic as this older couple, who viewed Mario with parental affection, welcomed me into their home.
After making plans for the following morning (involving an early pick up so that we could make it to church for the 9am church service), Mario carried my bags into my room and quickly helped me to get settled. Even though I was fading fast, and the temptation to crawl into bed and sleep for the next 20 hours was slightly overwhelming, I still didn’t want Mario to leave. As if sensing my thoughts, Mario pulled me back into his arms and held me for a long moment. I relished the opportunity to be close to him, and held him tightly in return, my head resting on his chest. Neither of us spoke, content to be near each other and savoring the thought of all the days ahead.
The relaxing comfort of Mario’s arms became a little too much for my sleep-deprived state. Sensing that I was about to doze off while standing in his arms, Mario quietly chuckled and pulled back. Smiling at my drowsy expression, he gently kissed me and, after one final embrace, headed toward the door.
“A domani amore mio.”
(“Until tomorrow my love.”)
Never had any words sounded sweeter.