The Italian Lesson [Installment 13]
I managed to fall back to sleep, but woke up at 7:30 feeling shaky, with a nervous energy humming through my body. I remained convinced that canceling the date was the right thing to do but it was too early to call Matteo so, after brushing my teeth and washing my face, I made a triple latte and grabbed one of the cannoli Isabella had packed for me before I left her shop yesterday.
I was halfway through both when my phone rang.
“Francesca, before you say anything,” I said as soon as I picked up, “I need you to listen. I’m just not ready for this. I’ve got to cancel.”
The silence on the other end of the line went on so long I began to think we’d been disconnected when I heard Francesca clear her throat. “I agree,” she finally said.
Luckily, I was sitting down.
It turns out, Francesca did agree with me but she had an entirely different idea of how I should deal with “not being ready.” And she was very convincing (or she was a master of psychological manipulation, although I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt).
“At least I agree in part—you’re not ready. But who is? Anastasia, I haven’t known you for very long, not in the grand scheme of things, and maybe I don’t know you very well . . .”
I clutched the phone more tightly, worried another lecture about trust was coming.
“But.” she continued, “I know you are kind, and generous, and smart, and beautiful in all the ways that matter. I know you shouldn’t be alone. It’s ridiculous to say it’s ‘just’ a date; there’s nothing simple or ‘just’ about it.”
As I listened, I began to think that Francesca had already anticipated my change of heart and prepared her rebuttal before I left the bookstore the night before, but I found myself willing to be convinced.
“It’s time to take the leap, Anastasi,” she continued.
I wasn’t sure I agreed. But I’d take the leap anyway.