April 12 marked the 18th anniversary of the day I told Andy “I love you.”
The funny thing is that we were not even dating yet. I wasn’t exactly sure that I wanted to date Andy. I was in a time in life when I had made a promise to God that I would not go on any more dates or kiss any more guys.
So it was out of pure love that I told Andy how I felt.
I wrote the scene in my book, Goodnight to My Thoughts of You. Here is an excerpt from Chapter 28. If you’d like to get the whole ebook for free, comment on this post and I will send you a free copy. Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SPOILER ALERT: This is one of the most anticipated parts of the book.
From Goodnight to My Thoughts of You by Chelsea Rotunno
“You are Italian? Have you ever made your own pasta?”
“Of course. I grew up eating spaghetti.”
“No, I mean have you made your own pasta noodles?”
“From scratch? Can you even do that?”
“That’s it. Tonight we are making pasta noodles. I have a pasta maker. It’s so easy. I’ll show you how. You just mix the ingredients and run it through the press like play dough. The noodles dry overnight and then they are ready to cook.”
“That sounds fun! Let’s do it.”
We continued hiking and talking about our families. When we got to the top of the hill, I gave him a big hug.
“Thank you for hiking with me,” I said. “And thank you for telling me about your family. You know, when my parents used to fight a lot, my sister Anna and I would tell them to get divorced. Then they would laugh at us. We didn’t even know what we were saying. All we knew was that it seemed like everyone’s parents were divorced.”
“What you meant was ‘stop fighting,’ ” Charlie said. “Treat each other well.”
“You’re right. But those words never seemed to get their attention.”
Soon we jogged back down the hill. It started to drizzle. We went faster so we could make it down before it got too slippery.
Charlie met me at my apartment later that afternoon with a bag full of surprises. He had an Atlas Pasta Machine that could roll out different pasta shapes. He also brought Italian rolls, cappicola, mozzarella, and Italian cookies with pine nuts on top.
We spent the rest of the evening making long pasta noodles—which was kind of hard to do—and arranging the noodles on wax paper to dry overnight.
“We’ll cook it tomorrow,” Charlie said. “You’ll be here, right?”
“Yes. I can’t wait.”
The next day was Good Friday. I called my mom to get her tomato sauce and garlic bread recipes. Even though I had watched my mom make spaghetti sauce a million times, I had never done it on my own. But how hard could it be?
By the time Charlie came over to cook the pasta, I had the sauce simmering on the stove and the garlic bread ready to go in the oven. Charlie mixed a salad with Italian dressing. He had also made tiramisu. While the pasta noodles boiled, we set up a camera and took pictures of ourselves in the kitchen wearing aprons.
The food smelled delicious, and when everything was finally ready, we took off our aprons and sat down to eat.
“Wait,” Charlie said. “You’re going to love this.”
He turned on the song “Bella Notte” from Lady and the Tramp.
“It’s perfect!” I said.
We held hands and prayed and thanked God for the food and for each other. Then we started eating.
I wish I could say the food was perfect. It was terrible. The noodles were too thick and grainy, the sauce tasted like straight tomato paste, and the garlic bread was wet with too much butter. But we just laughed and ate it anyway.
After some delicious tiramisu, we talked for a little bit, cleaned up, and moved into the living room. Charlie sat down on the couch.
In a split second I made a decision to do something crazy. I sat on his lap.
I wrapped my arms around his neck and looked at him. His eyes were wide, looking straight ahead.
Suddenly, the line I had crossed was evident to both of us.
“I told myself I wasn’t going to like anybody!” I said playfully.
He was quiet for a minute, and we sat together in comfortable awkwardness.
“Do I need to say something?” he asked.
“I want to.” He looked straight into my eyes. He paused.
“I love you,” he said.
“You do?” I asked, even though I knew it was true.
“Yes. I do.”
“And you know I love you.”
He continued to look into my eyes. “I want to know you for the rest of my life. Wherever you go in life, I just want to know who you are forever.”
I smiled and gave him a squeeze around his neck. “Your song—‘Goodnight’—is it about me? Leaving for Vancouver?”
“I can’t believe I’m leaving.”
We held each other there for a while longer. Then I got worried that I was too heavy, and I got off his lap and leaned back on the sofa, away from him. He came back to me, leaned over, and placed his hand on the side of my face. Then he very gently brushed his lips across my forehead, back and forth. I closed my eyes. It was like a dream. I could have stayed in that moment forever.
THANK YOU so much for joining me in my blog series #40before40: What I’m Loving and What I’m Learning. This is post #15 of 40 posts before I turn 40 years old.