On the restaurant terrace in Camogli that evening I realized my relationship with Vittoria was more peculiar than I wanted to admit to myself. We were lovers, yes. But had we ever spent a single night together? No. Had I ever gazed at dawn upon a tousel-haired sleepy head and said, “Ready for your coffee?” No. Had she ever awakened me with a tender kiss and whispered, “Want to fool around?” No. Not once.
By any objective measure Vittoria was a fantasy, or a metaphor within my text, entirely disconnected from reality. But then I remembered something clever I’d once read somewhere:
“Wanting something is having as much of it as you will ever have.”
I wrote those words in my notebook not too long before the waiter brought my spaghetti con frutta de mare, and I felt a little better.
After my meal, gazing at the sea and the ancient story-book architecture, I decided if this is all I’ll ever have of that woman, well, all right. This achingly lovely place is part of what has made Vittoria who she is, and here I am.