Photo Mr. Theklan

Bored, lonely, and on his third beer, Joshua Johnson falls in love with a woman he will never know.

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.

Community Connection

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?