The best part of it all is when you finally understand that you can love completely without ever completely understand.
DON'T SAY YOU LOVE ME
5 YEARS LATER.
"Back already?" Leo asked when he saw me get home at seven thirty that afternoon. Ella and Matt had dragged me to some party with some friends of theirs and I had stayed a grand total of fifteen minutes. Parties weren't fun lately. I missed Zane.
"Yeah, I didn't feel like staying, Matt and Ella were all over each other anyway." I said while I got a snack.
Zane and one of his friends had won an internship in one of the best architects firms in Rome; it was a great opportunity for a young architect like himself… I knew it was one of his dreams – to actually be in Rome, with all those big old buildings and stuff – and I knew I couldn't ask him to say and let this opportunity pass him by. He had been gone for three months already and I wouldn't see him for another three.
Back in junior year of college, when I had been the one who won an internship, Zane had let me go. Further more, he set me free. He said I was free to do as I liked and that if I found some guy I liked I should give it a try. I tried and failed. And I started to get a glimpse at what I really felt for Zane.
Now it was his turn.
"Well, I'm going up." I announced before Mom could argue with me about my not-dating, not-partying mood. She was all for me dating other guys, not because she didn't like Zane but because she felt I should date other guys so I could really tell how much I wanted/loved Zane. But I already knew that.
Once in my room I logged in to check my email.
Though we had said we weren't going to, Zane and I always e-mailed back and forth, almost everyday I had an email from him waiting at my inbox and if we happened to be logged on at the same time we would message back and forth for hours on end. That hadn't been the case that particular week, though; I hadn't heard from him in almost a week, I figured that perhaps he was very busy. Still I checked my email at least twice to be sure.
And, finally, I got some news from him.
I screamed at the top of my lungs.
Then I picked up my cell phone and dialed my father's number.
"Dad?" I cut him off mid sentence.
"Oh," he said and I heard some noises on his side, "Hold on," and off the line I heard him say: 'Jason, I told you to pick up your toys'. Jason is my brother, he is five now and rules my dad's life with absolute power. "Sorry, honey. How are you?"
"All good. Hey, you have, like, a kick ass travels agent, right?"
"Yes…" he trailed off, unsure.
"Mm… could you get me a plane ticket to Rome. I need to be in Rome ASAP"
"Dad! Please, it's important. I'll explain later,"
"Sam…" he said warningly, he wanted explanations, so I did the only thing I could think of.
"You never bought me a Pony!" I said reproachfully.
I heard him sigh. Though he had been a lot better as a father in the last few years, I could still guilt trip him from time to time, "Fine, I'll see what I can do. I'll call you in a minute."
"Thanks!" I said.
"Sure," he said before hanging up.
While I waited I got my backpack, threw some clothes in, made sure my IDs and credit cards where in my wallet, got my passport, the cell phone's battery charger and I picked up my laptop.
Ten minutes later I was jumping down the stairs.
"Mom, Leo," I called, they were watching some old movie in the living room,
"What's the matter?" Mom wanted to know.
"I'm going to Rome."
"That. I have to be in the airport in twenty minutes. I'll call when I get there."
"But… what?… why?… WHAT?" Both of them said, I ignored them.
"What's going on?" Lucy asked walking in as I stormed out. She had taken Kath – my niece – and Diego out for ice cream.
"Going to Rome!" I yelled running out. "Zane asked me to marry him!"
"Have fun!" I heard her yell as I got in the cab I had called to take me to the airport.
Time moved in jumps from then on, one second I was in the cab the next I was going through documentation, then the plane was taking off…
"Do you want something to drink?" the flight attendant asked me from behind the drinks trolley.
"Just Coke, please." I said and she handled it to me, "Thanks. How long till we land?"
"About two hours," she said looking at her watch. And then hurried down the next row of seats.
I leaned back in my seat. Opened my laptop for what it must had been the umpteenth time, and began to read what I would always know as The E-Mail (Good thing about outlook! I could see my emails even without being connected to the Internet).
To: Sammie ::Ih8Bewitched(a)webmail. com::
From: Zanie ::xwingpilot(a)webmail. com::
I love you. You know that.
Remember when you asked why I wanted you, back in high school, and I told you I wasn't sure? Well, I think I might never be sure why, and that might be one of the reasons why I'll love you all my life.
And here it's the conclusion I got to today: I'm always thinking about you, always, all the time, no matter who else was in my life or what was I doing. Now you're an ocean apart and there isn't a day that goes by without me thinking, distance doesn't seem to affect this madness for you that never leaves me.
And the thing is… I don't want to ever stop feeling this way, I can't even remember how is like not to love you because with each day that goes by I love you more and more.
I do want to ask you something, though.
I got all warm just re-reading that.
So yeah, you could say I have changed a bit. Mom says I did. I agree. I guess that when I realized I didn't have to be The Adult all the time –for mom, and Lucy and everyone – I was able to loosen up a bit.
I mean, I did have to learn that when things shift from where you had carefully placed them, you are left groundless for a while, but I also learned that that wasn't exactly a bad thing. Learning you were wrong, finding you can change.
And then there was the Love.
I mean, I always knew I could love -why else would I wake up in the dead of the night to accompany Lucy while she watches over my niece when she has a cold, or would have made peaces with my dad so he could finally be that: A Dad - but nothing ever came close to the way I feel about Zane.
You know what way, the "I can't eat, I can't sleep… yadda, yadda, yadda". The kind of love that makes you wear a short skirt when you don't want to, the kind of love that made me jump to the first plane I could get to Rome.
In the end, it wasn't 'Love' what I was the most afraid of, or so I realized. What really freaked me out wasn't what I didn't know about love – like how truly cool could it be – it was that I realized that what I knew wasn't what I thought. But I was lucky enough to get over it.
I love Zane; he is the only one I want.
I know, I know, that's the same question mom asks all the time: How do I know he is what I want if I have never been with anyone else?
Well, what only Zane knows is that I did try to be with someone else that one time I won an internship at an animal reserve during junior year at college. Zane told me I should try, that he wouldn't resent me if, in the end, I choose not to be with him anymore. Away from Zane I met Jack, and he was cool and I semi-dated him for a while and one time when I was drunk – the only time I have ever gotten truly drunk, thanks to my roommate Jenn – I almost slept with him, but the second he kissed me I realized how wrong it was, suddenly sex wasn't appealing at all, it seemed rushed and impulsive, but not in a good way, it was impulsive in a very stupid way. So I pushed Jack off, said I was sorry and then said goodbye.
Don't get me wrong I like sex as much as the next person. But I like having sex with Zane and not just because I'm used to him. With Zane I feel protected – and not only because he is fundamental about the whole safe-sex thing (that with him being son of doctors and all that… well, he is bond to be careful).
Like the first time we had sex… what I remember the most about that night was that, in the middle of it, Zane smoothed my hair away from my face and kissed my forehead softly, and said he loved me and I knew, just knew that all was right, that sex isn't an unifier it doesn't bring people together, but it's rather a magnifier, high lighting the good, complicating the bad; and I also knew that whatever sex was magnifying in my relationship with Zane, it was all for the better.
Anyway, I did tell Zane about Jack, and he told me about this girl – Erika - he had tried to date while I was away; and we put the whole thing behind us.
But then he had to go to Rome. And I knew I owned him the same kind of trust he had put in me. That I should trust he would still love me when he got back. And before he went away, I told him that if he found a cute Italian girl he liked he was welcome to give it a try. We promised only E-mail when we had something important-non-romantic to said to the other, but we couldn't help ourselves and often wrote things like "I miss you," or "Love you," at the end of our mails.
And then I got The E-Mail.
And next thing I knew I was on a plane, landing in Rome.
And all I could think was: "Please, please, please, Fairy Dog mother, don't let this be a joke".
Then I was distracted by the cold; no one warned me it would be so cold in Rome! Eve if it was February. It took me the better part of the next hour to find my way to Zane's apartment, but in the end, I managed. It was a charming building that reminded me to that place Gregory Peck lived in Roman Holiday. I went inside and rang the doorbell, hoping against hope that Zane was home.
I heard footsteps coming closer and my heart jumped to my throat.
Sure this was a bad idea.
Why on earth had I jumped on that plane to Rome???!!!
Oh, yeah, he asked me to marry him. That's why.
The door opened.
"Yes." I said, I don't know how I did it since my mouth was dry and my tongue felt like dead weight.
Zane blinked. Then his lips curved in a smile and he pulled me into his arms and started to spin me around. Then he lowered me and gave me one of the best kisses we had shared so far. It was amazing.
We would have probably stayed in there, making out, if one of his neighbors –an old lady- hadn't show up then. She talked to Zane a bit, some stuff in Italian I didn't understand completely – my Italian isn't as good as my French – I thought they were talking about fish…
Then, Zane pulled me inside his apartment.
"I can't believe you came all the way here to say 'yes'," he said.
"It's the kind of thing that it's better said in person." I said. "You know, kind like "your cat is dead", "marry me?", that kind of stuff."
"Very sorry about that," he said pulling me to a kiss again. "And sorry about not writing all week, it was just that each time I opened the mail to write to you, I suddenly wrote 'Marry me' without realizing and I didn't want to freak you out or anything. But in the end I cracked."
"Like an egg," I said smiling, he pouted a bit but then I kissed him and he smiled again. I changed the topic anyway, just to be sure. "What was the lady saying, anyway?" I asked once we sat in the couch and I had snuggled up to him. Yes, I like snuggling.
"Oh, she said that young women have very lose morals these days. And I told her that you didn't have loose morals, that you are going to marry me. She asked when. And I said 'Monday'"
"This Monday?" I asked and he nodded. "So soon?" May I point out that it was Saturday afternoon, already?
"Well, you are already here, aren't you?" Zane asked eagerly but then paused and went on more gravely "I suppose we could wait if you want to…"
"Nope," I said, shaking my head emphatically. "Monday is good."
"Great!" Zane said, and we started to kiss some more and I got very well acquainted with his bed, and the couch… and alright, we did it all over his house, we were like rabbits just released out of prison, but bear in mind that we had to make up for the past three months!
We got married the following Monday and when I woke up on Tuesday afternoon, Zane's arm was around me, his hand was resting on my stomach, as if even in his sleep he was holding me closer. I placed my hand over his, we had chosen plain gold bands for our rings, but in the early morning light, they glittered brightly.
Zane hand was warm and his breathing steady against my neck.
He stirred and turned me over, nuzzling my neck and shoulder before kissing me. "Good morning," he said, his voice rough, but his eyes were warm… warm like the first time he kissed me, like the first time he said he liked me and the first time he said 'I love you' and I was able to say it back.
We were so different now than what we were when we first meet, yet he still loved me.
Zane smiled at me and I knew, just knew, that the best was yet to come.