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  • 2 a.m. or thereabouts. The outskirts of Rome, Italy. It is after the prosecco borne on silver trays, plates of prosciutto and trembly orbs of buffalo mozzarella; after the woman live-frying zucchini blossoms and dumping them into brown paper cones for each waiting guest. After the speeches and tears, the toasts, the meal, the hugs and the studiously-avoided bouquet toss. All that's left to do is loot the open bar and dance.

    I remember it being an enthusiastic joint decision, but I do not know at what point we start drinking negronis. By now, it is clear to anyone who's been watching that we are accomplices, a fact by which I am untroubled. He is tall, playful, clever, accented. What possible good reason could there be to resist an Englishman in a snappy suit?

    "I want to see you out there dancing in your heels before the night is over," he had said at the beginning of the night.

    And later, in an uncharacteristic show of compliance, I slide back into my heels and stride over to him. I am flushed and buzzy with campari and gin when I note that he is still taller. I am delighted. We dance. Guests from all over the world dervish around to balkan music. The night is cool, the river rushes below the deck to which we've all moved, and I notice that I am having fun. He is fun. This is fun. And then, suddenly, the crowd thins. We are seated on folding chairs like kids at the end of a middle school dance and watching the DJ pack up his equipment.

    "Everyone's leaving," he says, a bit indignantly.
    "Well then, I guess we'd better go, too," I reply. It is only after a few moments of straining to see the other guests through the hedges that I realize he is staring at me and smiling. I sit back in my chair and gaze back. I can't help but smile, too. He leans forward and kisses me.

    When I remember Rome now, the day we spent together – both of us still in our wedding finery from the night before – is what comes to mind first. He wore his suit to make me feel less conspicuous. I didn't wear my heels and was still remarkably tall. We ate octopus salad for lunch, told stories about home, kissed on the Spanish steps, and sipped Campari spritzes in the afternoon sun. He flew back to London, and I, to Berlin.

    "This is just... this is just... nice," we observed to one another many times throughout that day.

    And maybe, for once, it doesn't need to be anything more.
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