I sat there, daydreaming. My mind conflicted between the comfort of the hot chocolate and the sterility of the café. Staring out the window from inside a clean white box, like someone inside a television set looking out at the real world. Two lovers kiss on the cobblestones. They are posing for photographs. Perhaps to remember this moment when their love unglues. The glow from the street lamp is ghostly.
A foggy February evening. The clouds visiting, exploring, enveloping, leaving. I remember that dream shattering. It was my very first gondola ride; I looked up anticipating the clouds that stood between us and the peak. I was so excited. As we offloaded I asked my father: why didn’t we pass through the clouds? We did, he said, confused. I looked down at my empty hands, confused too.
I took a sip of the hot chocolate, and instinctively went to turn the ring on my right hand. It wasn’t the ring I was expecting. I remembered that I had lost it a few days ago. It’s an awful habit. She had bought herself a ring the day before. We found mine the next day at the ferry terminal. From different places, yet they matched. Like us. We pretended the painted design on the ring was actually an Amazonian mahogany inlay, kissing between our laughter as the cashier rang up our purchase.
I put my cash on the table and left. Walking down the street, I caught the eye of a small woman with a big smile. I can tell she’s in a hurry but she takes a moment to shout “happy Valentine’s day!”, before rushing by.
[Photo credit: Daniella Barreto]