Saying Hello and Saying Good-bye
I’m going to tell you the story of my Italian lover. Whenever anyone begins a tale this way, the reader immediately knows the story is actually about the writer. Whether he (or she, in this case) knows it, more than she thinks will be revealed when she talks about her lover, the way an image is reflected back by a mirror.
But right now I’m willing to take that chance. To create for you an image of our experiences: the places, the explorations, the meals we took together, the time we spent with — and without — each other. Almost always in Italy. Usually in the northern part of the country, the area where his favorite wines were made: Piedmont. Piemonte in Italian, which is what I will call it, because that’s how we always referred to this magical place of hillsides and fog, of truffles and sun, of deep red wines and the blossoming silver-gilt creaminess of the sparkling wines.
Perhaps that’s what attracted us to each other: the fact that our most desired wines were opposites. He became mellow and thoughtful in his passion for Barolo, while I become energized with the scented flowers and ethereal mousse of Moscato d’Asti. Occasionally he would tire of the depth of Barolo and surface to the splendor of Ruché or Barbera. Or I would yearn for more power and bury my nose in a glass of classic Asti or Asti Secco. But we both remained true to Piemonte. And to each other.
This is why I leapt at the chance to spend a week in Piemonte this autumn. Because I wanted to say good-bye to him. To try to begin to heal.
In the complicated way life works out, this week was my only chance. So I took a deep breath and grabbed it. Even though I knew it was way too soon after he had suddenly disappeared from my life…forever.