Updated: Dec 19, 2020
(...the continuation of last week's post. If you're just joining, read last week first.)
Of the wine I'm drinking? How does he know which wine I'm drinking? I sit back down with a curious look. The handsome new man leans slightly over the table and sets one of the glasses in front of me. He looks into my eyes and raises an eyebrow. "May I join you?" I think for a quick second and decide that I'm curious about this... about him. "Si. Yes, you may join me." He sets his glass of wine down, pulls out the other chair, and slides into it. I look into his face, reach over, and switch his glass with mine. "I'm sure you understand," I say with a sly smile. With a smile of his own, he nods, takes the glass I slid in front of him and has a sip. "This is a nice Cabernet," he says looking at me with a side smile. "I asked the bartender what you were drinking." "Grazie, you knew I was wondering." "Yes. I know it was a bit forward of me, but I didn't want to introduce myself emptyhanded." Handsome man reaches over the middle of the table. "I am Matteo." I reach out and he gently squeezes my hand in his. It's warm and strong, and makes me feel small tingles in my stomach. I wasn't expecting this. "Ciao." I smile big. "It's very nice to meet you Matteo. My name is Mila. I am here visiting from Hawai'i." He releases my hand and we easily continue the next hour with another glass of wine and what turns into deep conversation. "I do not spend my time with younger men because it's my fault," I say and take a drink. "It is out of default." Matteo laughs. "What do you mean, default?" I smile at his handsome face. "These are the men who fall into my lap... sometimes literally. I have tried to see men my age, but the ones I have met, let themselves go. I have had two children and one was cut out of me. I feel, if I can work on keeping myself looking decent, then a man has no excuse. It's that, or they are no fun. No spontaneity." I don't know why I feel the need to explain all of this to him, but I just keep going. "The younger men are all about fun and excitement. Why would I want to stay bored?" I take a small drink. "And if the men my age do take care of themselves, they instead are chasing after the younger women. I either compromise what will make me happy and enjoy life with a man my age, or I enjoy the company of younger men. Default." "I understand," Matteo says. "What is your age if I may ask?" "I am 43." "I am 40," he says with a smile and takes a sip of wine. Okay, I have to say, he is very handsome and fit. "You then, are an anomaly in my travels," I say with a smile. "Why were you sitting here alone tonight?" he asks. "Honestly?" "Yes, of course." "I am waiting on a man. A younger man." "Why would he have such a beautiful woman waiting for so long?" Immediately, I'm embarrassed by his question. I cannot tell him the man I am waiting for will never be out in public with me. He has said I am too old to be seen with. It doesn't even matter that I don't look 43, but, that he has a reputation to uphold. I hear it in my head now, how completely shitty that sounds... and is. "Matteo," I say with a sudden urgency building inside. "It was quite lovely meeting you tonight. I am so happy you came over and spent this time talking with me." I take the last sip of my wine and grab my purse and phone off of the table. "But, if you will excuse me, I now realize... I need to go." Matteo's face drops to confusion and maybe even disappointment as I scoot my chair back and stand. "O-oh, okay yes. Not a problem. It was wonderful to meet you bella Mila. You will get home okay?" He stands and gives me a kiss on each cheek as I assure him I will be just fine. Yes. Better than ever actually. It took this stranger's one question to make me realize my worth. "Grazie Matteo. More than you know, thank you for tonight. And... you are an extremely handsome man." I smile, wink, turn, and walk out.