First Sight

Grandma Pearl recounts the time Aunt Suzanne saw my husband-to-be and exclaimed, “Where’d she find him?” The answer is simple: on a train in Italy.

I was 20-something, teaching English in Belluno, a remote village in the Dolomites. It was winter break and I was seated in a six-person compartment when a passenger entered and occupied the last seat, across from me. Cute. He stepped out to have his bag lunch in the corridor. Considerate. I followed him.

I sat in the pull-down seat next to his and mustered up “Ciao.” Then I blushed profusely. He said “Ciao” to me, and offered that he was traveling to Venice. I explained that I was returning from visiting my sister in France.

Back in the compartment, I pulled out the holiday photo my family had sent from San Francisco, and introduced them to him. He told me that his family had just relocated to my destination…Belluno!

It came time for me to disembark, and he helped me with my bags. (Polite, too!) We made a date to meet two weeks later in Belluno, in the main square, in front of Cafe Deon.

Later, Donato (which roughly translates as Given) told me that after he sat back down, the old man beside him spoke up. “You be sure to make that date with Cindy.”

He did, and I was there to meet him.

We’ve been together 18 years.

Cindy Brody