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Time and distance separated us. Nobody asked us if we wanted to keep in touch, nobody provided us with the means to do so. Maybe the grown-ups believe that children have no serious feelings and that they can be wrecked with no consequences.
I still cherish those sweet memories of him. Days were long and boring without Greg. Life was no more the same. The whole school class had always been “Greg” to me and so I felt lonely, though I knew somewhere in the world Greg existed and thought about me.
Four years later, on the day of the school play in late June, I suddenly saw Greg in the crowd. I had been acting in the show and he came looking for me. He was thrilled, we hugged and I saw in his eyes that same light with which he used to gaze at me. We were so happy to see each other again. Greg was handsome as usual and smart looking. The meeting lasted only a few minutes, then they took him away from me a second time and I never saw him again.
I almost jumped as I was deeply concentrating on my thoughts. I was waiting for Martha in a café, and now there she was, asking if I had explored Facebook in search of Greg.
“I found nine people with the same surname. Three seem to be too old, one lives abroad and I doubt it’s him. One is too young, he must be eighteen. From the profile pictures two look very different, they can’t be him. There are only two left and I wrote to both of them.”
“What did you write?”
“My name and age, name of school and school year, plus some details of our relationship.”
“Good job. Now you just have to wait.”
The answers arrived the following day. One was from a different Greg but the other one was ‘my’ Greg.
“Hi, what a surprise. Of course I remember you. What a good memory you have in mentioning details of our friendship. It’s been so long. I hope you are well and happy.”
I couldn’t wait and wrote back immediately. Would he be willing to meet for coffee? He replied that it would be a pleasure. He lived in Viterbo but would be in Milan the next day. We agreed to meet in Piazza Duomo in the early afternoon.
I immediately became overanxious about my physical aspect.
“Martha, how should I get my hair done? What should I wear? What will he think? Will there still be that flow of energy between us even now that we are adults? Will it be a disappointment?”
“Calm down and stop all this.”
Well, as I know how my insecurity works, I thought it would be better to listen to Martha. I decided to wear my best of smiles and that would do.
On the day of the meeting, contrary to my ‘always late’ custom, I was slightly early. I was looking around for him as the Facebook picture was not very clear and I didn’t know what he looked like now.
Next thing I saw he was standing there, smiling as only he could smile. He was still youngish looking though he had some greyish hair. We hugged. Neither of us would say the first word. In the end, I spoke first.
We sat in one of the cafés in the piazza, cosy but crowded. We started asking about each other. The fragrance of coffee in the air was irresistible. We ordered ours.
“I really can’t believe we’re here after so long.” He smiled again.
“Oh I know. Do you often come to Milan?”
“I love Milan, I come here three, four times a month.”
“It’s a nice city to live in.”
The people around us were loud. We spent two hours chatting and left with the promise to meet again.