THE NIGHT OF THE LITTLE GREEN LAMA
What was it about Gabriella that made me so happy? Could it be my memories of Northern Italy during World War II? Or is it my more recent camouflaged existence in that same familiar territory? My war years were spent in a farmhouse. My more recent years were spent in a cave of sorts. How ironic my life has become. Once again instinct had overcome intellect.
But at hand was Gabriella and that is where my thoughts were. It was the evening of the unspoken promise. Questions arose. What time should I call her? Should I do something special for her? I knew that I wanted to do something special for her. I wished to let her know that I was thinking about her all morning long. However I did not want to appear overwhelming.
I could not stand spending another minute in the office. The financial eggheads that I worked with were quite distracting. I departed the office at noon.
A nice light lunch was followed by a stiff Southern Comfort Manhattan. That put a nice barrier between my dull morning at work and a bright future for the rest of the day.
It is quite interesting that the more popular bars in Bern carry Southern Comfort but none of them know (or possibly remember) how to mix a Manhattan with it. I can still remember advising the bar tender “a short tumbler full of ice, two shots of S.C., one capful of extra dry vermouth, and a teaspoon of cherry juice.” One drink is smooth, two drinks remove some inhibitions, three drinks and the singing begins.
I had the whole afternoon to enjoy for my leisure and small tasks. The ride to Neucharel was enjoyable. I sat by the lake and fed the swans. The afternoon was half gone before I realized it. I walked over to my favorite import and gift shop wondering if they would be open at this hour. Luckily they were and I selected a nice gift that I hoped would remind her of her home; a little green llama. It was a stuffed animal with a few bright sequins that appeared to make it look more like a keepsake than a toy.
On the way to the car I passed a wine shop and selected a bottle of sweet ice wine. I thought that these two small gifts should not overdo it. I could not help but reflect on our conversation of the previous night. It seemed to go so smoothly even though we really knew nothing about each other.
That night turned out better that I could ever have imagined. Gabriella fell in love with her little green llama. The bottle of wine was put to immediate use. She had ordered food to be delivered to her room. We talked about our individual interests although I am afraid that she allowed me to hog the conversation. We learned a little about each other’s background.
I think it best that I omit the remaining description of that wonderful, memorable night and stop here.