**Disclaimer: The names of the people have been changed for the protection of their privacy, and for a bit of comedic effect.
We left Cannes and headed to Levanto for the weekend. We arrived in time for dinner and went to a tavern near his mother’s flat. We descended some stairs into a dark, candlelit room. It seemed to be carved out of the mountain but in the center of the village. Gianni ordered the house special. The owner brought out what looked like a Bunsen burner from my high school chemistry class. He placed a copper sauté pan on the burner and then added oil. He then placed two filets in the pan and seared them. Then he added green peppercorns soaked in liquor, and the pan burst into flames. It was quite a spectacle. The flames died down, and Gianni got very serious. While I bit into a green peppercorn—that popped in my mouth releasing that peppery spicy goodness, along with the creamy sauce and the tender filet of beef,—he said,
“Maggy, mi sei mancata tantissimo. Penso sia arrivato il momento che tu torni a viver a Milano. Ho trovato un apartamento in affitto dove potremo vivere.”—I’ve missed you so much. I think it is time that you return to live in Milan. I found an apartment where we could live. He continued, “Ti aiuterò a trovare un lavoro. Sono diventato piuttosto noto in campo pubblicitario in Italia ed ho molto contatti”—I could help you find a job. I have become more prominent in Italian advertising and have many connections.
I was speechless.
Gianni continued to explain, “Mi faro carico di tutti le spese mentri cercherai un lavoro. Sarò felice di pagare il tuo biglietto aereo.”—I will take care of any costs you might incur while you are looking for a job. I will also be happy to pay for your flight over.
I sat there quietly listening to his every word. Here was this man sitting in front of me planning our future. I thought he had figured out everything. I hadn’t thought about the possibility of returning to Italy so soon. I thought, This couldn’t be happening. I couldn’t utter a word.
“Maggy, di qualcosa, qualsiasi cosa.”—Maggy, say something, anything.
I did speak, and we did start to plan together. I could give two weeks notice at my job in LA and break the lease on my apartment. Gianni would book me a flight to Milan in a month, and I’d move right into our new flat and start looking for a job in Italian advertising.
I thought, It’s finally happened. I nabbed the guy of my dreams, and I can see a clear career path. I just wished it hadn’t been in that order.