A Pause, in the Clouds
I have no idea how I made it back to the palazzo with Dan. Our final dinner there with friends remains a complete blur. The next morning, the practicality of packing and leaving allowed me to focus on the present, and I embraced it, compartmentalizing Lorenzo’s brief appearance to think about later. Now, Dan and I were returning to the UK to begin married life together.
Ironically, there was a letter waiting for me in London: I’d won a grant to study in Italy. When I finally attempted to retrieve the memory of seeing Lorenzo in Italy a few days earlier, his image refused to coalesce in the cool, gray London rain.
The Italian grant would provide the time I needed to finish my research and writing, hopefully transforming years of education into a career. Dan and I planned to visit each other on weekends. I returned to Italy, to the gentle Piemontese autumn of sunlight and mist, vineyards and villages — secure in the knowledge that Lorenzo was in the US, wrapped up in caring for his young son.
As it turned out, Dan and I didn’t see each other that much. He had a new job with huge workload. And I was reveling in Italian culture, history, food and wines. I wrote and rewrote and tried to dream my future into being, sipping delicate Moscato d’Asti wines every evening in a local café.
I felt a distance from Dan, not only geographically. Dan was always in motion, firm and assured and driven. I was layers of clouds swirling around, waiting to settle. We knew we could balance each other –one certain and one abstract, lighter and darker hues of the same coloring. Yet perhaps that wasn’t enough? After a few months we agreed on a pause in our relationship.