By thursday my cough got worse and I felt feverish. I guess I really am not used to the environment. Are you okay? He asked, concerned. I’m fine, but I think I might need an asprin or something. Then he drove round and around to get some medicine for me.
It was afternoon, and most of the pharmacies were closed. Still he carried on finding an open pharmacy. I couldnt help but feeling touched and so heartened. That someone would care so much. You’ve been so wonderful to me, I thought to myself. How could anyone ever…
Ah! Found one! And he parked his car and entered the pharmacy. I closed my eyes to rest a little.
He got me a pack of aspirina and then brought me to have lunch first. You cant eat aspirina on an empty stomach. And we drove to L’insalata Ricca and I had gnochi, while he had pesto.
You’re wonderful to find the pharmacy and not give up. Some people would have given up.
Why would I do that?
There was a time, when I was ill in school. And I asked my friend to bring me to the sick bay. There was a bed there, I wanted to rest. But it was quite a distance between the sick back and the classroom. We had to walk a bit. In the middle of the path she let me sit next to the drain, while she went off to get some stationaries at the bookshop. I was there, feeling miserable and sick and she left me!
I saw her at a bookstore quite recently this year. I recognized her. But I never said hi. Go figure
We each dropped an aspirina tablet in our mineral water. Be careful not to pop these directly in your mouth. Paolo (another friend from secondlife) did that before unknowingly and he found his mouth to be full of foam.
I felt slightly better later on, and we headed to Villa Sciarra. Another beautiful park. It was quiet, and serene. We rested on the benches and I layed my head upon his lap and stared at the sky above. I cant remember what we talked about. All I could remember was I really really really enjoyed being in his company. Looking up in his eyes, and his face. Staring at the white clouds. And smiling at him as he passed me my glasses which he carefully wiped.
So … How are you? Feeling better? He asked me tenderly. And we went back and he let me rest for a few hours.
I felt much better after the rest. The aspirina helped tremendously too. We left to get ready for a night in Nemi to meet a few of his friends. Nemi is a beautiful place located somewhere in the Southeast of Rome. He told me that Paolo had his wedding in Nemi and showed me a few pictures taken from his mobile. It looked most spectacular. I was looking forward to seeing it for myself. Bring something warm, he told me, Nemi can be quite cold as it is high up from the sea level.
I wasnt able to see much unfortunately. I would have loved to see the beautiful crater lake but blame it on my falling sick. Oh well.
I watched the temperature reading from his car dropping.
29 degree C
25 degree C
22 degree C
When we reached Nemi, I looked in amazement as the reading dropped to 18 degree C. Wow. We were immediately greeted by 4 very friendly people. A lady opened the door and waved at him and me. Hi! This is Bruna, he told me. Paolo’s wife. And that is Paolo, Luigi and Alessandro. I looked at the bubbly group, chatting animatedly with each other. Bruna had a mass of curly brown hair, Paolo, in a polo shirt, his straight hair on the verge of the wild side. They went hand in hand to the restaurant. Luigi and Alessandro on the other hand, looked the most mismatched pair. Alessandro was tall! I think he must be over 2 meters tall. While Luigi was a portly man, I think he was slightly shorter than I was.
We went to a cosy restaurant. They greeted the owner and we went upstairs to pick our tables. We paused a while to choose which table to sit at. We must have taken too long when Alessandro complained, hurry up! My neck is hurting! He had to bend his head as the ceiling was much too low for him.
We picked a table near the window and joked the entire meal courses. The restaurant was playing a song that Bruna liked and she teased Luigi to dance with Alessandro. It will be so romantic, Alessandro said, with him looking into my eyes, while I dance on my knees.
And the guys teased her back.
Alessandro: Actually Paolo never signed the marriage contract
Luigi: But you did and there are some hidden clauses in tiny words.
Alessandro: You’ll have to do everything that we ask you to do.
Bruna: Can I say something?
Everyone : No!
He smiled and laughed and I loved seeing him looking so happy like that. He looked so relaxed and so at ease. It made me feel good. Although I never spoke the language, they never made me feel left out. Alessandro, Luigi and Paolo never gave up trying to talk to me in English.
Even Bruna who didnt know English talked to me in Italian anyway. It was interesting, me talking in English and she replying back in Italian while we were at the ladies room.
We had appetizers, three types of pasta in smaller portions and the highlight of the dinner. Ice cream with Nemi strawberries. What struck me about it was how tiny the strawberry was. Is this really ripe? Its so small. Matura? No Matura?
He tells me that its a delicacy in Nemi and is famous for that. I took a bite of the ice cream and it tasted so good. I loved it. Soft and delicately creamy with sweet freshly harvested strawberries. Delightful!
What was lovely was seeing how loving Bruna and Paolo was. Though they joked with each other mercilessly, it was obvious that they were very tender with each other.
After dinner, We looked at the lovely view over the area and chatted. What nice friends you have dearest, I thought. Wonderful people.
I woke up feeling horrible. I had to leave on Saturday. It was Friday then. Time passed by too fast. Realisation hit me and I sobbed and sobbed … I didnt meant to make him upset but that was what I felt, a deep sadness inside me. To meet your other half, to spend time with him, bonding together and having wonderful memories together. And to have that taken away. It was upsetting to me. I couldnt help crying.
He comforted me tenderly, said words, trying to make me feel better. We both embraced, trying not to let each other go. After a long while, I tried to put up a brave front and we decided to do something today to get our mind off the sadness. We’ve still have one day left together, we should spend the day as best we could and have fond memories about it.
He took me to have lunch at Gastone again as he knew that I liked eating there. We reached there a little too late and were the last patrons there. There were no other diners with us and we had our lunch, quietly, in a more sombre mood. We looked for Palazzo Venezia to see the artworks of Botero. His artwork was featured in Singapore a few months back, but I didnt have the chance then.
I loved Botero, its very colourful and fun to see the different subjects. There were one part of the gallery which showed his Abu Ghraib works and I was suprised a little. Did Botero actually did this? It didnt seem his style to do so. He and I cringed a little at some of the depictions. It wasnt so pleasant to see compared to his other works.
We left for dinner afterwards at Pizzarito. This time, we had one pizza to share. Then we went to Gianicolo for ice cream. And then he showed me the beautiful sights at a place called the Zodiac. We hugged each other tightly while looking at the wonderful view infront of us. I still couldnt help but to feel sad. Some tears rolled down and I continued hugging and not let go. Not wanting him to see me cry again.
The dreadful Saturday. A strong aching in my heart. And I felt worse than yesterday. My sobs turned to wails. I felt truely heartwrenched. I knew that I cared about this man so deeply. I try to stop myself from wailing and try to be strong and composed myself.
We spent the short day having ice cream and walked about in the city for a while, finding gifts for friends. About 2 hours before the flight goes. He took me to see Gianicolo.
Me : You took me to see Gianicolo again. The same place where you first took me
Him : I want you to have good memories, this will be a special place for us.
Me : We did have many wonderful memories. I’ll never forget them. They are so precious to me.
We walked hand in hand and strolled slowly. I took in the sunshine streaming in. And looked at the trees swaying softly in the breeze and listened to the crickets singing their chorus. I kept a mental image in my head. of the place, the people around, the waiter who brought us ice cream, the smells, everything I could.
But most of all, I wanted to keep a mental image of him more. His gentle eyes when he looks at me, his mouth, the way he smiles at me that is so heartwarming, the way he says “hmm-mm?” without realising. The way he asks me, “Are you fine?” His hands, the touch of his fingers, caressing my hair. His warm hugs. Everything. I will miss you so much, my dearest. I love you. I’m already missing you.
I closed the car door and said my goodbyes to Gianicolo.
We drove by and I saw the city, then the fields, then nearer to the airport. The reverse of what I saw when I first came. Inside of me, a voice screamed out, “I dont want to go! No! I dont want to go! Why? Why?!” I didnt want to make him upset even more after the way he looked at me, I am sure he was feeling the same way too. We went in the airport, and he helped me to confirm both the main and transit flight bookings after what happened to me in Paris.
We hugged each other tightly as we reached the departure gate. A few tears rolled by and I desperately tried to wipe them away. He looked so sad and almost choked while talking.
Bye dearest … I love you. I really do.
I turned my head around to look at him when I passed by the gates, and gave him a wave and then walked by … and thats when the my tears turned to floods. I sobbed oncontrollably while walking and couldnt stop. I tried to compose myself, but couldnt. It still wont stop. Entering the transit plane, I had to hold a newspaper up, pretending to read so no one could see me cry. I didnt want anyone to ask me nosy questions, making me feel worse.
I must have cried all the way to Amsterdam. Freaking cold place. It didnt make the sombre mood any better hearing the mechanical voice asking me to “watch my step” while I had to walk briskly at the transit gate. I got there just in time and was grateful that he booked the flight for me in advance. Huge place, I knew I wouldnt have time if I confirmed the booking then.
I was feeling totally bummed in the plane. With many unfriendly faces (maybe its just my imagination?) And thats when he messaged me on my phone
I’m right there, next to you.
Wasnt the same as if he said it to me, but it made me feel slightly better. And I fell into a deep sleep, dreaming of the wonderful memories we both had.
Reached Singapore the next day, the plane lost my baggage again. But it wasnt a problem for me this time as I spoke in Malay to the clerks working there. Saw her sniffing. Sakit-sakit pun kena kerja? Terpaksa dan dipaksa. (You have to work even when you’re sick? I have to and am forced to.)
The humidity hit me strong as the train opened up at Tanah Merah. I couldnt breathe for a while as my nose adjusted itself. I looked at the people around me, heard familliar sounds and accents. People going around in their Sunday leisure. Mum gave me the hugest hug and chided for making her worry! I saw my siblings playing computer games and watching television. It was good to be back home again. I looked at my room. It was the same, as if I never left. But in my heart, a collection of pictures of memories. I will never forget them.
I love you, Cartcart, so very much. I feel so blessed to have met you, that fateful day in Secondlife. And am so touched everyday by the things that you do. I love the way that you think. Every gesture that you do. You are wonderful. You’ve helped me cope though many things, by being there for me. You held my hands when I was scared, comforted me in times of need. You are wonderful. And I’m so grateful. And proud. Proud to be your girl.
Though we have so many things that we have to resolve but I know that we’ll try to find a way eventually. I’ll still be there for you the way you’ll be there for me. I love you, my wonderful dearest. You are *my* wonderful dearest.