At the Paris Airport
"Mademoiselle, would you care to share a drink with me?"
"Pourquoi pas (why not)?" I tried to sound as casual as I could, as if being invited for a drink with a stranger was a daily occurrence with me, when in fact, I had never encountered this before. Who is this young man anyway? How can he be so presumptuous as to assume that any girl he picks would necessarily love to share a drink with him? Anyway, no harm seeing what he is like, so the two of us headed for the bar. Once by the bar, he extended his hand and introduced himself, he was Roberto Olivetti. He had a mop of dark wavy hair, a Romanesque face with a fine aquiline nose and a slightly olive complexion, making him, all in all, a very genuine Roman. I responded, briefly explaining that I was working for the Commisariat d'Energie Atomique laboratory just outside Paris, having just got my PhD in England. He told me that he was an electronic engineer, that he was in fact the heir apparent to the Olivetti empire and that his father, Adriano, was in charge of the Olivetti company in Rome while he worked in an Olivetti factory in Torino until he succeeds him. . .
Roberto, from the multi-billion dollar family, was unassuming, intelligent and altogether gentle mannered. It was difficult to divine the power and wealth he wielded, or rather what he will wield in his hands, when he seemed to be just a nice young man that I could take home to.
The spectacular part of the Alps having gone by, hand in hand, we regained our seats. Roberto looked pensive, then he totally disarmed me by looking at me intently, as if asking himself:
"Shall I? Shall I not? Would she mind? Oh, you beautiful creature!'
I am congenitally incapable of looking at anyone in the eye, therefore for self-defense I avoided his gaze. But it was no use, he leaned over and kissed me delicately as though he was smelling a flower, lest he should perturb the magic which had enwrapped us. We were both still trying to rein in our emotions, with me saying to myself under my breath: 'This is ridiculous!'
After a while, he composed himself:
"Gioietta, we must make a plan."
"What plan? I am young and free, I don't need a plan."
With tongue in cheek, I pretended that I was not in the least bit of trouble, my instinct was always to wriggle out of a noose set by a man. In this instance, I was also rather amused that I had, by chance, coined a phrase which aptly described the predicament I had fallen into. How bizarre and indescribable my day has been!
"Yes, I know you are young and free. "
Said Roberto, with a wink in his eye. He continued:
"But you can't wander all over Europe like this. My plan is this:
I will negotiate an Italian transit visa for you when we arrive at Milano airport. I have a car parked at the airport, so I can take you into Milano (about 50 km away). To-morrow morning I can take you with my fast Ferrari to Trieste on the Yugoslav-Italian border in 3 hours."
Huh! My ears popped up. This was getting serious. Despite the dictates of my heart, my main concern became how not to end up in his bed that night. I could not divine what was in Roberto's mind, may be he was happy with the prospect of a new conquest from an exotic land, or maybe he had decided that he was genuinely fascinated by me. As for me, I was terribly confused and I have been oscillating back and forth in my mind. One part of me says that Roberto was just a playboy out for a bit of fun and I should run away from him as quickly as possible, another part that he was a decent man worthy of my friendship and love. In the end, none of this mattered, for my instincts overrode all the logic -
He had mesmerized me with this thing called love, in its many splendered form, undefinable, mysterious and defying all logic.