On my first full day home from Mexico, Michael slid a folded piece of paper across the lunch table to me.
“You are leaving for Rome in about sixty days,” he said.
Sixty days. Porca puttana! My sabbatical just became a little more real to me. I opened the paper he gave me. “What is this?” I ask him again.
“Well, I was thinking,” his own excitement was mostly contained, but a little bit was leaking around the edges. “You might want to see a show while you’re in Italy.”
“I am seeing a show. Unless I sell my U2 ticket…” I trail off.
“Don’t sell it. You should stay and see it.”
“But if I sell it, I can leave Rome earlier, and have more days to do something else before I go to Budapest.” Who is the person sitting inside my body, saying these things? I don’t go to Budapest. I don’t go to Rome. I don’t leave home for two months to go be alone in a foreign land. This isn’t me.
But I know that isn’t true. This is me. For the first time. Out loud. This is me.
“I think you should stay and see them.” He’s been nothing but encouraging. “But I thought you could see another show, so I looked something up.”
He took the paper from my hand and explained it to me. It was a list of dates in July and August, each beside a venue and city in Italy. On the bottom half of the page was a printed map labeled with each city from the list.
Again, I asked, “What is this?”
“Francesco Renga. It looks like his shows peaked about three years ago, but he’s starting a new tour this summer. This is a list and map of his shows.”
My heart skipped and my lips cracked from smiling. “You found my boyfriend?”
I was delighted!
I discovered Renga last spring. His song, Guardami Amore, was the only Italian song mixed in with the American pop hits from the 80’s and 90’s playing in every restaurant or store we visited. The melody and the voice became recognizable to me and soon I was madly in love with the Stranger With The Voice, as I began calling him.
On our last morning, we stopped into a cafe for our last good cup of coffee, and they were using YouTube for their music services. For the first time, I got to lay my eyes on the handsome face that had been singing to me our whole trip. For Christmas, Michael bought me two of his CD’s. My infatuation with Francesco Renga clearly inspires him, too.
I’m having so much fun getting to know this person who jumps on airplanes and flings herself far and wide. I could not do it without such a supportive partner. For that, I am forever thankful.