Chapter 14 – Frozen

Where do the bubbles go?

Awakening on the final morning of our week together, I saw Lorenzo standing on the terrace, talking on his phone, dressed in one of his familiar, soft white shirts, his tousled, golden-brown hair catching the early rays of the sun.

Soon I would be taking the train to my new university, and he would return to his department in Torino. We would make plans for our next encounter. But my heart missed a beat when Lorenzo turned and I saw his face become carefully controlled, his body unbearably taut as he finished the call.

It was Rainbow, he told me. She had been trying to reach him all week, and he hadn’t been answering her texts or emails. Now she was back in California and she’d called to tell him she was having his baby, she wanted him to make the child legitimate – and he was going to San Francisco to marry her.

None of this made any sense to me. What had he promised her? What was she promising him? Was it the irresistible thought of his own progeny? A son, Rainbow had told him. The timing was right, from their brief fling months before. And with the promise, a threat: Rainbow would kill herself…
My heart contracted. All the fresh, flower-filled, green-gold days Lorenzo and I had spent together, warming and opening to each other, became suddenly frozen in time, as clearly visible yet unreachable as if they were caught in a block of ice.

Then impossibly, I was on my train and Lorenzo was on his way to a flight to California. I couldn’t breathe. He had disappeared. Evaporated from my present and my future, as ethereally as the effervescence in my glass of Moscato d’Asti, when the bubbles rise to the surface, pop and vanish.

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