It wasn’t Ma, was just a random phone call. I had received a new assignment for my next posting, it was just a random call from the post office saying I had received the package. I loved my life, I was always gone when I needed to be,that was the best part of my job, I’m never in one place for too long, there’s always the thrill you get from knowing you can leave when it gets too rough…but I’m getting ahead of myself here.
I called Ma on my way to the post office, it rang twice but no answer, I hit full panic mood and had to park my car and step out for air, the distance from my parking spot to the post office wasn’t much so I decided to walk there while frantically dialing her number. On my 7th try someone picked but it wasn’t Ma, my heart was still racing fast
I finally worked up to courage to reply and the voice from the other end was that of Ma’s new butler
“She has been expecting your call for a while now, but she’s not here right now. She went for a walk”
it felt good to know she was okay and was keeping busy, I asked if all was well and got a positive response, my mind was calm now, I took a deep breath and ended the call.
After I signed for my package, I walked briskly towards my car and sat in for a while, opened the package which held my new assignment:
“You’ve been assigned a partner for Italy, we sure hope you’ll be able to carry the task as given. We’re aware you’ve never been assigned a partner before. More information about your mission will be given to you when he picks you up from the airport.”
I’ve really never been assigned a partner before and that it was a he, I’ve always worked alone, it’s peaceful and I don’t need to share a bit of myself or make relationships and move again. It’s always so stressful saying goodbye.They only assign partners when it’s time to ground you, and at this point I didn’t want to be grounded. This was messing with my grand life order. I loved my job but I hated the fact that I didn’t get a say in whatever country or state or continent I went, but they always put me in the best conditions so it’s all good in the end.
Days went by and it was finally time to get up a go… I was going to be in Italy for God knows how long, this assignment was really vague and I was getting a partner.
Once I got to the airport I called Ma and she picked this time…She sounded so excited when I told her I was going to be in Italy, told me briefly about her time spent there (which I never knew about) and said she’d email me a list of sites to visit.I didn’t mention the partner stuff and how long I was going to be there, she made my wait a lot shorter and to divert the attention from me I launched quickly into her life, she told me how she had joined a fitness group, she said she was sorting things out and was funding a new startup company for a group of girls starting a clothing line. She also asked if I wanted to start up anything, that she’d be willing to help, which was followed by a long pause on my end, *sigh*. I told her when I’m ready to settle down in a place, I’ll let her know. She said a quick prayer for me and we talked a while till I lost track of time…
*airport speakers blaring* and a female voice comes through:
“This is the final boarding call for passengers booked on flight 372A to Italy. Please proceed to gate 3 immediately. The final checks are being completed and the captain will order for the doors of the aircraft to close in approximately five minutes time. I repeat. This is the final boarding call for all passengers booked on flight 372A to Italy. Thank you.”
I ended the call with mom and hurried towards my gate, boarded and it was finally time for take off, once we were on air, I drifted to sleep and only woke up once it was announced that we would soon be landing. It was 6:45AM when we landed at Pisa International airport and around 7:00Am I made my way to the exit where I saw him…my assigned partner, with my name on a card and I quickly made my way towards him, I hadn’t really taken the time to analyze him, I just wanted to get settled in and sight see a little since I was well rested. I didn’t even know his name yet and he didn’t bother saying it. All he said was “Caio, Come stai” and I replied “sto bene grazie” no eye contact till we got in the car.
“For a lady, you sure pack light” he said with that unmistakeable Italian accent, with a slight difficulty, you’ll know he was counting his words. I told him i shipped my things and they’ll be here in a week…
“Paolo” he said
“what was that?”
“Paolo Leone, my name”
I didn’t bother to reply with my name, he already knew it, probably knew more about me from the books than I did about him.His name…his name had this rhythm, I just can’t explain it, like something out of the Godfather mixed with like the start melody of Nina Simone’s “feeling good”after her powerful intro. I replied with a smile and then he smiled back and that’s when I finally looked at him…