She always wanted to be Italian, Dominique’s French cousin. She dreamed about everything Italy since she was a little girl. She loved the language and the people. How did she know? Who tells the heart what to love? Where to fall? Somehow it knows.
I hadn’t been living in France that long when we went on an Italian excursion. We saw glorious things. Me for the first time. Drove Italian fast, round round-a-bouts. Monuments, relics, at ever exit. Stood along with the other tourists as they tried to push or hold up the leaning tower. Bello!
I thought it would be a complete let-down to visit this cousin on our way home. She opened the door. Flowers in hand. Smile on face. A warmth that transcended any language. I barely spoke any French, and certainly no Italian, but somehow, I felt at home. I suppose the heart can recognize another that has found its way.
I have seen extraordinary things. We have returned to other parts of Italy. I have seen the Colosseum. The Pantheon. The Vatican. Civilizations. Empires. Each standing stone, evidence.
Maybe it all comes down to those who dare to dream. Maybe that’s why I think of her so often. Some might ask what difference does it make? What difference did she make? How can any one heart matter? But I say it is something! Something extraordinary. I can still feel the love in that room. That Italian room. That French heart. The dreams of that little girl floating around the room, filling it with the evidence of risk, of hope, of pure love.
You can travel the world looking for guarantees. You won’t find them. But you will find examples. Monumental examples of the human experience. Sitting a country away. In my American/French heart, the evidence remains, and oh, how I believe!