Updated: Sep 13
18th December 2018
In the candlelight, I couldn’t stop looking into her twinkling eyes while sitting across from her on a romantic cold evening. Her beautiful eyes often expressed so much more than her words did and on that special evening, she couldn’t stop showing me how happy she was about my achievement. What I loved the most was that she didn’t even say, “Congratulations!”
I mean, why would she? It was her success too as much as it was mine. On that pleasant evening, I was finally relieved of the responsibility that I had accepted when I stepped into this foreign land referred to as Italia. I was finally a graduate in the field of Computer Science from the Sapienza University of Rome and it had taken me three years to get to that point. Though the journey wasn’t easy, I hadn’t just earned a degree but also met the girl who struck my heart with her thunder.
Sipping wine as we sat outside the Italian restaurant under a big fancy umbrella, I was rethinking if it was the right time.
On one hand, there was a part of me that said, “You have been in a relationship for two years now. It's time to pop the question!”
On the other hand, there was this fear about how she would respond. Even though I was fond of her and I was certain about her feelings for me too, I was really nervous about how she would respond if I asked her about marriage. Especially considering how her parents set such a poor example.
Looking at my formal shirt with rolled-up shirtsleeves and a folded tie in my left pocket, I thought my attire wasn’t helping in making this situation as perfect as I had wanted it to be. To be fair, I wore the same shirt for my thesis defence that afternoon and we met that evening to have dinner and celebrate the night as planned.
Even though I loved the Windsor Knot she tied before my presentation, both of us agreed that we couldn’t go to dinner with me wearing my tie and overly formal blazer. As I was preoccupied with my thoughts, I felt her hand on the top of mine on the table and with her raised eyebrows, she asked if everything was okay.
Looking at her, I just smiled and her lips widened to return a smile. Everything seemed perfect and I wanted to halt time if I could and never let that moment pass. When I started in this land filled with blue skies, historical landmarks, incessant rains and extremely hot summers at times years ago, there wasn’t much hope that I would even complete my course. I felt underqualified back then and every step seemed like rowing against the tide just to fail.
But having her in my life turned things around completely and I started enjoying every moment of my existence. How times change! How perceptions change! When I was dispirited because of all the big life changes and the lack of social life, in the beginning, my father always kept saying, “Life is ever-changing. Do not forget to live through all experiences and never carry any regrets.”
He couldn’t be more right. As a clueless youngster, dinner in a restaurant was not just beyond my budget but a privilege I thought I didn’t deserve. After the shift in my perspective, it became more of a need to taste different cuisines and appreciate what every culture had to offer.
For a while, we sat holding hands while feeling the warmth of the candle until we bid goodbye to the place that served us for the evening. Still holding hands, as she leaned her head on my shoulder, we walked by the banks of the Tiber river that runs through the city of Rome.
In the moonlight, as teenagers howled in happiness walking in groups and trees danced to the winds dropping their leaves, we walked to her place that was three lanes away from the restaurant. As we walked, a thought crossed my mind: if it wasn’t for her, how would my life be? As I firmly held her hand and she raised her head to look at me.
Both of us stopped and she looked at me with a smile, she pinched my cheek before we continued our walk in the moonlight. On the cold night as we walked to her place, I finally mustered some courage to tell her what I was meaning to tell her that entire evening. Holding both her hands, I whispered, “Supriya, will you…”
Looking at her, I couldn’t say a word more. Taking a step forward, she planted a lovely kiss before saying, “Yes!”
This novelette is available as a paperback & ebook.