February is the month of romance, love, and St. Valentine (more on him next week). In honor of such romantic pursuits, I am sharing the most romantic travel story I know. Traveling with me is always fun, but this was an exceptional trip. If you missed Part One , you will find it here .
Step Two: Lie
Keeping the secret involved distancing myself from Kelly as much as possible. I just knew that if we talked I would spill it. I sent emails every few days with trip details and reading suggestions, but every time I emailed Kevin and Brenda, I had to triple check the addresses before I hit “send” for fear that I would accidentally send it to Kelly instead.
Kelly and Kevin were on the verge of a major fight about the whole trip. Kelly couldn’t figure out why Kevin just wouldn’t “engage” (to use her word) with the planning. She was royally ticked off, frankly.
Finally, R and I arrived in Rome. Kevin and Kelly followed -- sans luggage. We’d concocted a cocktail party to which I had been invited, and without luggage the two love birds did not have clothes to wear at all, much less to a cocktail party.
I have never done so much lying in my life.
With the wedding coming on Monday, we prayed that Alitalia would find their luggage and deliver it in time. Meanwhile, we traipsed through the Forum and the Campidoglio, stopping each day to buy some underwear… a clean t-shirt… some socks on what was quickly dubbed “The Sweatpants Tour” of Rome.
Let me say that Alitalia is not the finest airline I have ever flown. It actually might be the worst. Each time we called they assured us that the luggage was on a courier’s van and headed for our apartment. This is called “lying.” In Italy it is called “good customer service.”
Kelly wanted to back out of the cocktail party. Without luggage, she just didn’t feel like going. Besides she thought it was all about me, so R and I could go, and she and Kevin would just stay home.
“Your luggage is going to arrive,” I kept saying. In the meantime I am pointing out every cute cocktail dress we see as we stop for more underwear and clean t-shirts. “Wouldn’t it be great to have a new dress from Rome?”
Kevin was freaking out, too. His suit was in his suitcase along with several other special things he had planned for Kelly. He was on the verge of calling it off.
As Kelly was trying on a new pair of pants Sunday evening, I pulled him aside. “It is going to be ok. I don’t know how, but it is going to be ok. If your bag isn’t here tomorrow, you can buy a new suit in the afternoon, and I will twist Kelly’s arm into buying a dress. Or you can get married in sweatpants. We will make it happen, though.”
How? Who knew! I just kept lying because someone needed to be calm about it all.
We spent the morning of the wedding day at the Vatican Museums . I had a prayerful moment in the Sistine Chapel, begging God to make it all work out ok. I just didn’t want their trip to be ruined by a stupid airline.
And then a miracle happened… Kelly’s bag appeared in her room.
To be continued... here .