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A few days ago…

The salty air never felt more fresh on my skin…here I am, back again…my beloved, wild and sweet Palermo and this beach where it all started…It’s cold and I’m trembling…and I have so many things to let go…

He puts his arms around me and the warmth of his embrace overwhelms me. He’s wearing a white shirt, just like in that day when I first met him. I’m letting myself fall…in his arms, in this relationship…in love…

He told me once…and his words are still haunting me…”If you have to fall…fall for someone who loves you…fall for me…” But how could I even consider falling as my best choice…when I thought I’m flying high?

-Why have you run away, Cari…

-You were sleeping and I wanted to take a walk…

He smiles and I know this smile…He stops me. “No more lies. You are safe now and you can tell me the truth.”

-Months…months without seeing you, without the hope of seeing you again.

-I didn’t wanted to be found, Dave. I needed time and space…to heal…At first, every night I fell asleep crying and all my dreams were nightmares. I was afraid, so afraid…You were the only one I wanted to talk to…and I still can’t believe you’re here with me, helping me, bringing me home…

He’s holding me tight and I know I’m safe. I feel I’m safe.

-Dave, I wasn’t honest with you…and I have to tell you everything now…and it’s hard and I know I’ll cry, but please don’t ask me to stop…It’s gonna hurt me even after all this time…so, just be patient with me…

He’s kissing my hair and I can feel his heart beating so fast. And his voice whispering in my ear “It’s alright, only if you feel ready…I didn’t traveled half world to interrogate you…I came to give you my support, my friendship, my love…”

I look at the sea, is tormented just like my heart. I need to say the truth and to find some peace within me…

-I…I was too proud to tell, too proud to ask for help…I gave him a chance and I thought we would be happy this time…First time…he said I make him angry like no one before…and I’m attracting the dark side of people. And I believed him. I believed him when he said it’s my fault. I wanted to be my fault…because I can change myself but I cannot change him…

He’s turning me around to look into my eyes. And I can’t…the hurt I see inside his heart…

-First time, Cari? First time? Are you telling me that…

-It was always wonderful right after…he was wonderful…tender and thoughtful…I lived for this illusion…I learned to read the signs…Him getting colder, criticizing me…me…feeling not good enough, not fitting in, not worthy…And this tension was building up…it was always the same script…me, offending him somehow…and him…

He’s letting me loose and turns his back…and I can feel his anger. His fists so tensed, like getting ready to hit an invisible enemy. I’m touching him gently…

-Dave…I think I lost my mind in this process…

-No, you didn’t. You were caught in this circle of abuse…used by a man who was still resentful, angry, sick…

-At first I tried to save him, to help him heal…I imagined that my love…I know it’s stupid…I remember, Dave…I still feel it…first time…he slapped me and I didn’t reacted. I blocked…and he got so scared by my reaction. And then the second time when he pushed me…I started to cry, but my crying only made him more furious…

I’m still blocking my tears and he takes me in his arms. “It’s alright to cry…let it out…just let it all out” And I’m crying helpless in his arms…

-I’m so sorry…Dave…I was ashamed to tell you…and I just wanted to forget so I left…and…

-No, don’t say “I’m sorry”…never say you’re sorry…because no one has the right to judge you. I judge myself for not seeing the signs…Your nightmares, your depression, even the on line romance…you working till exhaustion…there were signs all over and I simply ignored them. What kind a man does this makes me? What kind of therapist? What kind of friend?

-The best…Who else would have tracked me in the middle of nowhere?

I’m smiling trough my tears and he smiles back at me. He’s cupping my face and I can see the question in his eyes…

-The divorce was pronounce in my absence…my dad hired a lawyer…Both of my parents were amazing about that…they were able to put aside their differences and to help me…And I feel guilty…they still treat me like I’m a porcelain doll…so careful about what they say and do around me…

-I noticed that…yesterday…when you introduced me to your father…

-Yes…he wanted to talk to you in private…I was so nervous about this…please tell me how it went…and I mean everything, I really can handle and I’m used to…

He stops me with a kiss and looks at me very amused.

-Well…your dad was silent. He was studying me from head to toes, like I were a bug…

-Oh no, Dave…I’m so sorry…

-Wait…and please don’t apologize…So, I broke the silence and told him something like this: “Signore Provenzano, I know I’m American, I’m 20 years older than your daughter, I’m not that good looking or successful, I’m even a little overweight and…worst thing…I don’t speak Italian and I got no interest in Sicilian businesses…but I’m here to make her happy and I wont quit…She wants your blessing and your approval and I will do whatever it takes to make this happen”

-My God…you said that to my dad…

-Yep!

-And what…what did he responded? Tell me! Tell…what, what?

He starts to laugh seeing me so impatient.

-He said “You’d better make her the happiest girl on earth, or I’ll cut your balls and feed them to the sharks!” And I said “Fair enough.” Then we shake hands and that was about all.

-Ughhhh…Dave, I don’t know what to say…I’m sorry that…

His kiss takes me by surprise and I feel my heart melting. Unfolding…I never truly understood…till now…

-This word…we’ll make it disappear…

-Hmmm…word…what word…?

-“Sorry”…this word. You, my sweet love…you’re a blessing in my life. Can you imagine how it feels to love someone from the first time your eyes met…and to feel this love growing, unable to show it, to express it…till one day…

-Dave…I need time…I will say the words, I promise you…but the divorce, the abuses…I’m carrying a storm inside me. It will be over…and I’ll say the words…

-Okay, stormy girl…We walked in the rain together before…what’s another storm…Come here, my hurricane…one day, not far from now…you and me…we’ll admire the ocean, we’ll dance bare foot in the sand…we’ll build castles and dreams…give yourself time to heal…and I’ll give you love…enough to fill all the empty places in your inner world…

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