Tuesday, March 29, 2011

176. Mood Lighting

The temperature had dropped considerably since our sunlight-through-the-window and breeze-through-the-trees morning in bed. All afternoon the sky wavered between overcast and rainy and drizzling with pockets of blinding sunshine.

My suede boots were soaked. I could tell my toes were the texture of raisins without seeing them or feeling them. The gel inserts had slipped from my heel to the arch of my foot, causing me to stop and stomp my heel against the ground to fight them back down.

I wanted nothing more than to sit and listen to the fountain, lean against Cayden, make him tell me stories about what it was like growing up with his brother and sister and houseful of cousins, but the ledges were slick from the rain. Standing in the shadow of the fountain, I was freezing.

"How about we grab a coffee," Cayden asked, rubbing the sides of my arms with his monster hands.

"It's almost like you read my mind."

We walked along a narrow street near the fountain and glanced in the open doorways we passed, trying to decide which cafe we wanted to stop at. One cafe caught my eye.

"Cayden, look," I said, cupping my hands around my eyes and peering into a window. "You have to see this."

He mirrored my peered in just beside me.

"What in the world is that?" he asked.

"I don't know, but I need to get a closer look."

I turned toward the doorway and a woman greeted us just outside the door. "Come inside!" she said, "Come."

We looked at each other and shurgged.

"Come in for coffee," she said.


We stepped though the doorway and looked around in amazement.

The entire ceiling was painted. Every wall was painted. The colors were bright and bold, but at the same time soft and inviting. The lights were dimm and shadows bounced on the tables from the table top candlelights. We were seated in the back of the restaurant, in the dimmest corner. Something about the lighting made me want to throw Cayden down on the slick oak table and hop on.

I wasn't sure if it was the candles, the warm colors, or my raging hormones, but suddenly my entire body was warm. Hard to believe just 15 seconds before I was outside looking in with my teeth chattering. I looked around for a fireplace so I could dry my boots. No luck.

Our menus said Taberna on the front. Our waitress came by and we ordered two cappuccinos. Cayden's foot rubbed mine under the table and I wondered if the atmosphere had the same effect on his sex drive as it did mine. I had to think about something else before I got thrown in an Italian jail for public indecency.

"So, what's the coolest thing you've seen so far?" I asked Cayden, taking both of his hands in mine.

"Let me think," he said, making his thinking face. During moments of deep thought, Cayden would stare at an imaginary object in the top left corner of any room, raise one eyebrow, furrow the other, and subconsciously scratch just below his right collarbone with the first two fingers of his right hand. I had it down to an art, and I could mimic his thinking face to a T.

"The Tiber," he said, returning from his thinking stance. "That view was incredible. What about you? Favorite sight."

I mimicked his thinking face and he lightly kicked me under the table. He knew I'd perfected it.

"The Colosseum. That shit was cool," I said. "But if it's views we're talking about, I'm going to have to say that view from the top of Janiculum."

Just then out waitress returned with our cappuccinos and a small plate of cookies.

I decided from that moment forward every cup of coffee should be served with a plate of cookies. I held the cup close to my face and felt the warmth reach my cheeks and nose. My hands burned as I cradled the cup, but I didn't care. I want to bathe in the warmth of the paintings, the candlelight, the coffee.

I sipped the coffee and let the strong, creamy coffee burn my tongue and throat on the way down.

"Ah, warmth," I said, looking up at Cayden over my mug.

"Good coffee," he said. "Good cookies, too. I guess life is just good, isn't it, Whitney?"

"It has been since I met you," I said, letting the foam layer my upper lip.


  1. WHAT A SAP!
    Is that an Oklahoma shirt I see on Cayden???

    And I'm sorry I missed you this weekend, my family ended up coming into town :(

  2. Yes, he's decked out in crimson and cream!! WOO HOOO!