The Pasta pot- A short true story

Falling in love is rarely when we plan it. I fell in love when I didn’t want to. I wanted to be alone, enjoy my own company, plan trips without taking anyone else’s consent.

And that’s precisely what I was doing when a distinctive looking Chinese girl walked up to me and said that she wanted to consult my travel guide.

But it is in German I said to her. You won’t understand a thing unless you speak the language, I said dismissively and looked back into my book, hoping the intruder would just walk away.
The language doesn’t matter she said.
I looked up at her in complete shock.! How would she read a book in a language she doesn’t understand? Strange girl, I thought but I offered her my guide without saying anything. I was intrigued to find out what she would do with it.

She wasn’t even half my size, both in height and width. She was turning the pages when she asked me where I had planned to go next.
That’s intrusive I thought. I haven’t decided yet, I said.
Here, she said while handing over the book to me. Decide where you would go, if I like your decision, maybe I will go with you.
That was a shocker! She was not only strange but also determined to not leave me alone. I wanted her gone, so to put her off I said, I just wanted to grab a coffee and loiter around this area.
That sounds like a plan, I am in, she said.
She’s in!?! When did I invite her to join me?

As intrusive as she was, she was also intriguing. The true German in me wanted to tell her to walk her own way and leave me alone but I guess since I was traveling alone in a foreign land my sense of adventure was high. I would never meet her again and I have nothing to lose, I told myself. I got up from the pavement and decided to walk around the colosseum, she walked with me and spoke constantly in her peculiar Chinese accented English.

Every word she spoke made my belief in her strangeness stronger, every sentence we exchanged made her more interesting. I wasn’t sure if she had a great sense of humour or was plain stupid. Was she making all these stories up or was she telling the truth? Was she really this opinionated or was she trying to prove something? My internal dialogue became louder than our external one and I didn’t realise when I had stopped talking.

Where do you plan to go tomorrow? I heard in the periphery.
Hey, hallo, where you do you plan to go tomorrow? Someone was saying.
It was only when I felt the tap on my arm that I realised that the voice was talking to me.
I don’t know I said, maybe I spend the day at Piazza Navona. What do you plan to do?
I have plans in the morning with my friends but I could meet you for lunch at the Piazza, she said.

For lunch we both ordered a vongole. Pasta was my comfort food but this one was exquisit with seafood in it. For her it was foreign food where as for me if was my staple. My office cafeteria served a pasta almost thrice a week. At home my pasta pot was the second most used utensil. Not in my wildest dream had I imagined that the pasta pot would be replaced by the rice cooker in a year's time.

A few years later, the pasta pot become so redundant that I gave it away to my wife's best friend who was setting up a new house. Our entire family enjoys a traditional hot Chinese meal every evening now, me, my wife, my mother and our almost two year old daughter.