I promised you all a love story to make you sigh. In the 3rd installment in my series on Love and Lust, I’m giving you a sweet treat. It’s all love – no lust.
Kas Sartori, author of The Chosen Shell, went through some difficult times. She’d been a nun. She’d married and divorced. She’d become a mother. After all her wandering, she finally found her soul mate in a dark, cold parking lot. Here is Kas’s story.
Walking fast, I avoided blotches of ice and rushed toward the lone cars left in the dark parking lot. It was late. Then I heard footsteps behind me. I put one foot in front of the other. Fear closed my throat. I couldn’t swallow. I wouldn’t turn around. I hurried. The footsteps got heavier. Right behind me. Beside me!
Thank God, it was the brown-eyed guy, the New Yorker… I inhaled, trying to control my throbbing chest. The air was frigid, stinging my nostrils.
“Hello again,” he said. That husky voice.
I spread one hand out just above my breast, slowing down, catching my breath in gulps. “Hi.” I tried to act nonchalant, but my entire psyche was switching gears.
We got into a conversation then, lasting fifteen minutes, which was fantastic, but it had to be 12 degrees out, and my teeth started chattering so much I couldn’t talk. From the cold this time -creeping up my legs, back and arms. I stayed planted though. When the New Yorker talked, there was something about him…eyes so intense behind those titanium frames. I shivered and dipped my chin into the wool scarf I’d tied around my neck.
He noticed. “Let’s go somewhere for coffee.”
I nodded and we walked on, side by side. Who would’ve guessed it? Our cars were parked right next to each other!
Eerie…and definitely mysterious.
Later, as I spooned whipped cream from my Irish coffee, he offered me a solemn gaze. I couldn’t tear my eyes away. “You’ll probably transfer back to California, now that you’re divorced. Your family’s there, right?” The way he looked at me, I knew he was actually concerned.
“No. My little girl needs a father, more than I need California. That bond’s important, enough for me to stay.” I was so sure.
“Wait a couple years. You’ll see.”
I shook my head. What did he know?
His eyes were kind as he ordered a second round. “There’s an axiom I’ve been trying to follow since my divorce, fours years ago.”
I drained my mug. “What?”
“You can’t do anything real for anyone, until you give yourself what you need.”
This guy was full of coincidences, prophecies, gem-like wisdom… “Are you doing that?”
“Trying. More than before.”
As I watched him talk that night, leaning forward, that incredible concern in his brown eyes, I pondered: Is he for real? As genuine and wise as he sounds? Or just another guy giving me a line? After all, I worked in Marketing; I was used to sales pitches.
But I stopped myself, silencing the cynic that had grown too large inside me. I changed the subject and asked him about his job.
“Spent the last six months in Bavaria for my company. Had trouble learning German. I negotiated a contract with Fiat in Milan. I grew up speaking Italian.”
I remember thinking: This guy’s out of my league…
Tijuana and New England are the extent of my travels. And my two years of Spanish? Big deal.
As he talked on, his voice, with that street-smart Brooklyn accent, somehow made me feel utterly safe. Instinctively I knew he was a protector. I felt it…down to my bone marrow. Then my counselor’s words echoed in my head: “Your instincts are right on, Kas. Don’t keep talking yourself out of them.” That scared me.
He must’ve thought I was a lush that night. I hadn’t been out in months and, since my 3-year old was staying with her dad, the luxury of one evening out was intoxicating. Literally. So I indulged. I downed three Irish coffees and we talked til 2 a.m.
That was over twenty years ago.
First the New Yorker became my confidante, then the love of my life and my best friend. But, the incredible thing is, almost exactly two and a half years after that night, just as he’d predicted, I landed a job transfer to California. A sales position, plus a company car.
By that time, my little girl’s dad had disappointed her so many times I’d given up on him. Connecticut wasn’t offering us much either: tons of snow, lonely holidays and a few friends. Besides, my sisters and my mother were waiting out West for us.
I hated saying goodbye to Aunt Susan and Uncle Dan and especially to the New Yorker… It was time to go though.
He was a consummate leader, never promising me he’d follow. Said he’d have to “Take care of things.” He didn’t even tell me he loved me when I left.
But later he did, and by then I’d learned that sometimes words aren’t that important, because too often they’re waves of empty air. . . Besides, when he decided to take action and propose, I felt utterly cherished, listened to, and loved.
Everyone once in a while now, sipping Irish coffees at our home in California, the New Yorker – my soul mate – and I still talk for hours.
A founding member of O.C.Writers, Katherine Sartori’s dream of writing novels dates back to her childhood. Her debut novel, “The Chosen Shell,” was published in 2013, and inspired by Sartori’s years as a nun. After leaving the convent, Katherine spent over 30 years writing for Fortune 500 corporations and teaching writing at California State University, Fullerton. Now retired, she has published several travel articles and a short story that appears in “The Cup of Comfort Book for Single Mothers.” Now, when she isn’t traveling the world with her husband Joe, the Mission Viejo resident is busy completing her second novel, “Lily and Eve.” www.katherinesartori.com.