We are wandering through ancient streets and hills. Well, I’m wandering, for I have no clue as to our destination, if any, she is strolling. She’s avoiding the main thoroughfares as much as possible, taking alternate paths as only one who lives and breathes these streets can. I tease that I think we’re lost, but I envy the ease of how she knows her way around, casually acknowledging points of interest. I see how every now and then she starts to go for my hand, but then stops herself. I don’t know what to do about that, so I put my hands in my pockets and try to remember to keep them there. Otherwise, she is charming, engaging and yeah I like her, but nothing more. She knows this. When she smiles at me, the corners waver a little, and it makes me feel a little bad, but what can I do?
We stop at a quaint trattoria for one of the best meals that I can remember, which is not saying much. I am enjoying the meal immensely, lost in the deliciousness of it all, but she barely touches hers. I’m watching her push the pasta from one end of the plate to the other, not really knowing what else to do. As we pass the maître de upon leaving, he gives us a hearty enough sendoff, but somehow I know he knows what is going on between she and I.
It was early afternoon when we started this impromptu tour. It was now dusk and the city was becoming a different kind of alive. There was something vaguely familiar, comforting about it that tugged at me, but I could not put a name to it. Ever watchful, she could tell it was bothering me and blatantly grabbed my arm to pull me around a block or two, turn a corner and then stop. I look up and grin.
We had been strolling around these Rome streets all afternoon, and I knew I saw it in distance earlier as we walked a part of Via dei Fori Imperiali. It seemed so far away then, I was wondering if we would get to it at all, but here we were now standing right in front of it. The Flavian Amphitheatre, or as the name the world mostly knows it by, The Coliseum, beautifully lit up for the night.
As she had held my arm, it was only natural that she takes my hand to hold; I don’t try to retract it. Her fingers are long, her nails short, yet well-manicured, and like her soft smile, I see the tiny tremors belying her nervousness as I notice the ring on the third finger of her left hand. A ring that I know was not there a few minutes ago. I am lost for words as it all comes together. I thought she was a good friend. Yes, but no.
She is my fiancée.
This afternoon, the places we stopped, the maître de at the trattoria, this moment – all of it a rehashing of the day I proposed to her, at dusk, here in front of The Coliseum. For me this afternoon was a random, but wonderful wandering. A change of pace from the emptiness that has become my life. For her it was bittersweet reminiscing. A gentle rehashing in the hopes that it would trigger something of the life we had before the car accident wiped my memories. An urgent prayer it will trigger something. A desperate plea trigger anything.
It triggers nothing.
She knows me intimately, yet I really don’t know her from any of the other tourists milling around us. Her eyes are beseeching the words that cannot fall from my lips. I shake my head sadly, watching as tears form and start to trail down her cheeks, with neither of us doing anything to abate them, as I feel lost anew.
This week, Lorraine asks us to weave a tale with the threads of lost.