I was dazed; she was too. We knew something then that I think is hidden from most: a secret that cannot be shared with others, for there are no words to describe it; only that it was an exaltation.
The kisses became more passionate, and the hands wandered more freely, but we did not go further. "Who says I'd let you?" she said, and we laughed; I think we did. At least I laughed, but looking back I cannot see her. The touch, the smell, the happiness are as clear as today, but I cannot see her laughing face: it is lost to me now.
Finally it was time to say goodbye, for darkness was coming. I had another lesson, she had to pack. Our parting hug was lingering, unhurried, our final kiss exquisite, and the memory I have of Michela is her standing outside the door, in the same place she had stood the first day, smiling down at me.
I never saw her again. She went to Canada, and from Toronto I received a postcard with 'having a great time' and 'love and kisses', but I never saw her again. Christmas came and went and two days before Michela was due back Dani helped me move into my new apartment, with tears and reproaches, and I counted off the hours.
On the evening of that day, which took forever to come, I went to her apartment carrying flowers. The porter was gone for the day, and an American girl answered the citofono. "No, Michela isn't back yet."
"May I come up and wait for her? She should be back soon."
"Err, sure, no problem."
I went up and engaged the two American girls in some inconsequential chitchat about Milan. They were quite pretty, in a glossy, white-toothed way, but I recall nothing else about them, not even their names.
Michela didn't turn up. The plane must have been delayed, or perhaps the bus from the airport, and I had to go, for I had a class. I left the flowers, and a scribbled note asking her to call me when she came in. She didn't call that evening, although my phone was on even during my class. I supposed she must be jetlagged and decided to wait. It was only the following evening that I began to be concerned, and so I called, eager to hear that voice, anxious to know everything was fine. One of the girls picked up the phone.
"Hi, it's Simon, is Michela there?"
"Sure she is, hang on, I'll get her."
There was a long pause, then,
"You there? She can't talk, she doesn't want to talk to you."