What did it really mean?
Looking at Lorenzo across my dining table laden with wines and foods, I saw a breeze from the open window lightly ruffle his hair, then subside. I felt I’d been drifting aimlessly through life, and my world had suddenly anchored itself. And the way Lorenzo was looking at me, I began to wonder if something similar was happening to him. But that evening, by unspoken consent, we stayed away from emotion and talked about Piemonte and its foods and wines: the complex Piemontese reds he favored, and the heavenly Asti sparklers I adored.
In the past, trying to recreate that childhood al fresco lunch with Lorenzo had been an on-and-off obsession for me. I had thought it was all about the sunlight, the flowers, the most of all, the food. I hadn’t known that it would never feel complete without Lorenzo. I realized that I had been blocking him out, trying to convince my subconscious that he wasn’t a factor. I mean, I was only a kid the day we met. I couldn’t have realized what that one afternoon with Lorenzo would mean.
Oh come on, I can hear you saying: your major in college was Italian language and literature, and you never made the connection? All I can say is that people can be blind when they want to be.
Not long after my family returned to the US from Piemonte, Lorenzo’s father had died and my parents had lost touch with his mother. By the time I was ready to ask questions about Lorenzo’s family, my parents had no answers. So I persuaded myself it wasn’t important; I had the memory of Lorenzo, and it was OK that he would never be part of my life. I had concentrated on learning about Italy, and that was all I wanted. Until this moment.