I don’t know why I came to Montagnana. Yes I do. It has a hostel. It has a hostel in one of the best preserved medieval walls in all of Europe. In the plains between Venice and Verona, Montagnana is a lush lawn lapping against a rise of brick.
As the restaurant begins to fill and yell and simmer over with bay leaves, mozzarella and garlic, I’m lost in self-pleased, melancholy reverie, sinking back into the wicker chair waiting for the waitress. Why did I come to Montagnana again? Oh, yeah, the wall.
Brown from a lifetime of Montagnana afternoons, she is tall, dark. She moves like a slender tree. The smile that breaks across her face and never fully retreats breaks my heart.
I love you
I want to marry her before she can take my order.
I eat a whole pizza, drink two beers and as the restaurant begins to fold in and clean itself I slowly nurse a third.
Why did I come to Montagnana again?
Oh, yeah, her.
The stars are sharp and low and loud. Her. I imagine her riding out of town with me on a ‘63 Desert Triumph. I see my life in a modest villa with Waitress Girl. I don’t want to leave the restaurant. Should I order another pizza? My beer is going warm.
I pay and force one foot and then another. I want to say something to her, just something to let some of this feeling out into the world.
Do you have a boyfriend, because I think I love you.
She flits in and out of view, carrying plates, pocketing change, looking tired. My foot sneaks forward an inch or two. I grind the gravel with my toes in little circles. She disappears with a load of dirty plates.
I walk away, like I hoped I wouldn’t but knew I would.
Have you been smitten while on the road? Did you have the courage to say something, or did you keep it bottled up? Either way, do you regret your choice?