[box style=”rounded”]So, I have wanted to try something new out on this site. Hope you like it.
Note the category on this post — Travel Fiction. I’m going to occasionally post up things that are pure works of fiction. So, making it clear… these are not reality… cause they might be getting more wild over time.[/box]
It was an affair lasting but a few days and nights, but my thoughts returned to her often during quiet times when one’s thoughts wander backwards. My sleep was regularly preceded by thoughts of her warm embrace, holding me tight, quieting the tumult in my head and bringing a peaceful rhythm to my breathing. I missed her.
It was to be the first time I’d seen her in a decade and questions raged back and forth in my head. What of this was memory? What was reality? Was my shimmering ideal of her merely born from years of polishing the pedestal by my sub-conscious? Was the emotional bond a figment of my imagination? What if her beauty had faded?
Was it love or was it the idea of being in love?
My God, I was nervous.
I had heard she was far more popular now, the subject of many suitors’ attentions. That did not surprise me in the least. I did not expect to have her all to myself after all this time. I didn’t know what reception to expect. I had not kept in touch. Would I be brusquely dismissed or welcomed with open arms?
Our introduction years back was after a three-hour ferry ride from Venice that was supposed to have taken an hour and a half, due to storms on the Adriatic. Friends living in Europe had chosen a random town split halfway between me in Venice and them in Rijeka.
I didn’t see her that night on my arrival, but looking back that was for the best. She is not at her most comfortable under the cover of darkness. The night can be brazen and garish; she is not a party girl by nature, most comfortable at three in the morning. She is not one that needs mask herself under the reflected light of neon signs or beneath layers of gaudy makeup. The subtleties of her beauty are far more nuanced and better experienced in the fresh, crisp light of the morning or in the warmth of the late afternoon sun after her mid-day siesta.
After that difficult ferry ride those years ago, I fell into bed completely exhausted, little did I know I was to fall in love the next day. It happened quickly. I suppose you could say it was love at first sight, though that seems so trite and insufficient even as the words form in my mind. Awake early, I stumbled out alone from the apartment for coffee before my friends rose.
She struck me like a thunderbolt. My sweet Rovinj.
It was the way the morning light struck her on my first glance as I walked around the corner to the waterfront lineup of cafes. No, it was not the way the light struck her — it was the way it washed over her. She was glowing, warm and welcoming.
She had me without uttering a word.
In the subsequent years, the question haunted me gently, but persistently — Why did I ever leave her in the first place?
Sure, I had other commitments at the time. I had a career, a mortgage, all my possessions and entirely different life on the other half of the world. These were my excuses or at least my rationalizations that kept me from driving myself crazy with second-guessing. The reality was simple fear – I wasn’t ready to take the headlong plunge with an international beauty.
Reuniting, we slid back immediately into the comfort zone of years ago. We walked together, silently observing the tanned and fashionable patrons eat at the sidewalk cafes in the warm sunshine. Dozens of boats of all sizes gently bobbed in the harbor. We window-shopped and saw kids playing soccer down the colorful alleyways, the ball bouncing crazily as it struck the sides of the cobblestones. Our romantic sunset stop was the same place as years before, sitting on cushions on the rocks a few yards from the sea right under the Catholic Church that dominates the skyline.
Many have asked when I was smitten with my own personal strain of wanderlust and I don’t think I have never given a honest answer, but after much reflection, it was her. She infected me and I have been seeking a cure elsewhere around the world ever since.
As I drank a perfectly chilled Croatian white wine as the sun set, I fell in love with her all over again.
We don’t speak the same language, but love does not require precise communication. She was colorful, but quiet. Full of personality, but not brash. We share common interests: good food, fine wine, the smells and light of the sea, and the comfort with knowing who and what you are. It felt perfect once again.
Although I worried the years would not treat her well, like any true beauty she is ageless. The relief of rediscovered love made me want to dance down the cornice.
And so I did.
This time upon leaving, I left my fears there and pledged my return. I will be back to my lovely Rojivn. Nostalgia heightens the peaks while filling in the valleys, but this was not that.
This was true love.