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Rainy Day Breakfast


Alberto and I had agreed to meet at a café called Illi, named after the coffee made here in Trieste. The busy spot was halfway between his place and mine and was right by a major bus stop so it naturally generated a lot of traffic. As I stepped under the café’s awning, folding up my sopping wet umbrella, I saw Alberto making his way up the sidewalk accompanied by a young woman. I rolled my eyes.
“It figures that Alberto would show up with a woman,” I muttered under my breath.
But I had to look again. The woman, who was maybe a bit younger than my twenty-four years, had something about her that made one look twice. She was tall, maybe 5’8 with an attractively slender figure. Her well-placed eyes were blue-grey beneath shapely dark brows that contrasted against her lightly flushed fair face. She was smiling out at the falling rain causing a faint dimple to show itself in her right cheek. Her clothes were Italian: a mid-length tan suede skirt swayed gently in the wind above her tall brown boots that added another inch to her height and a wine-coloured jacket fell half-way to her knee, nicely off-setting her skin and hair. Strangely enough, her hair defied Italian style as she wore it long; in fact, the dark brown tresses came down to the small of her back. Wavy and thick, it was neatly trimmed with some shorter pieces accenting her captivating face. She was bare-headed and her hair appeared to be quite damp. As she walked down the street, I was struck by her air of gracefulness. Alberto was carrying his black umbrella over them and, as they came towards me, the two of them walking together looked liked such a handsome couple. There was something more about the woman though. Yes, she was beautiful, but more than that, she seemed to reflect beauty. It was as if looking at her made one think of loveliness whether it be in a person or place, or in an inspired thought. I shook these thoughts from me as they approached.
“Ah, Élena,” Alberto began. “You’re right on time. Quickly, let’s step inside where it’s warmer.”
As we stepped into the fragrant café, Alberto continued, “Look who I found walking in the pouring rain. Her umbrella had blown wide open and she was on her way to the bus stop, so luck smiled on us. In fact, you may know her. She is from Canada…”
I fought the urge to laugh. It seemed that it was assumed that I knew half the nation of Canada just because I was from the same country.
“…not only that, but she lives in the apartments above your bar.”
“Oh, great,” I thought selfishly. Then I politely replied, “No, I don’t believe we’ve met. What part of Canada are you from?”
“Nova Scotia,” the woman replied in a musical voice. “Yourself?”
“I’m from the west coast—B.C.”
“Well, let me introduce you,” Alberto put in. “Élena, this is Andréa. Andréa, Élena.”
“Nice to meet you,” I said, trying to put aside my annoyances as I warmly clasped her hand.
“Nice to meet you, too,” she said in a flawless Italian accent. Then she continued in English, “And my name is actually Andrée, but Italians like to call me Andréa.
“And mine’s really Helen.” I paused and then continued, “Andrée—that’s an unusual name.”
“It’s French,” Andrée replied. Then switching back to Italian, she went on, “My grandfather was French and married a woman from Italy. After the second world war they immigrated to Nova Scotia.”
Andrée spoke in a somewhat aloof way and I couldn’t decide if she was stuck-up or if she just came across that way.
“Oh, there’s my bus!” she said, looking out the window. “Thank you so much for your help and hopefully I’ll see you soon.” This seemed to be directed toward Alberto and he turned to watch her as she hurried onto the bus.
“What a beautiful woman,” he murmured half to himself. “Fortune smiled on me this morning.”
Somewhat disgusted, I suggested we go order something to eat. I was fighting feelings of jealously and didn’t like them at all.
“So much for feeling like someone special,” I thought vehemently. Yet, at the same time I was thankful for the reminder of why Alberto could never be more than a friend to me. He seemed so easily distracted. Not that he seemed too interested in me at the moment anyway.
I tried to push my ugly feelings of jealousy and inadequacy from me as I ordered a cappuccino and croissant. By the end of our quick breakfast, I had begun to feel better and excited once more at what the day held.
As we walked outside, Alberto eyed the grey clouds darkly. “Hardly a day for traipsing across the countryside,” he said. “But,” he continued brightening, “I don’t think we’ll have to spend too much of it out of doors. Come, Élena, an adventure awaits us.”
At that, he swept us onto a bus and we were off.

One Response to “Rainy Day Breakfast”

  1. Tara Hills
    July 28th, 2006 14:01

    I’m captivated! What a gift to WRITE! Someday perhaps I will be privileged to read the whole book….but until then, God BLESS you as you let the story unfold!

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