Hey, people! I’m Rob. And I want you to do one thing for me. Close your eyes and imagine – a borderless coastline, the mountain face in the distance with an almost ancient lighthouse on the top, and the tiled terracotta roofs of tiny houses at the foot of it.
Terrific landscape, right? This was the view I used to enjoy starting from the very first day of my life. I was born and grew up in the coziest beach house ever. It was not very big, but my parents managed to rent out half of it to earn a living.
One of the most remarkable guests we ever had was a former chef of one of the fanciest restaurants of its time, Mr. Rossetti. Apparently, he liked my mom and tried to flirt with her when my dad couldn’t see them. He was teaching her to cook a lot of different, delicious things, and I loved watching him making magic in our kitchen. Little did I know then that I'd find his cooking (and flirting) advice pretty useful in the future. You’ll see for yourself soon.
But my favorite guests were the Rodgers family, who once spent the whole summer with us. Emily, their daughter, was only a couple of years older than me and she was very funny and… Well, what can I say? I couldn't help but fall in love with her. It was the very first time I liked a girl and I was very shy and didn’t know how to act. But I spent most of the time watching her draw – she was really good at it.
I missed Emily when they left, but, you know, I was only 10 and my heart had not yet learned what it meant to be broken, although I found myself remembering the two of us having fun pretty often. It took me four years until I heard about the Rodgers again - mom told me that they were coming back for a visit.
I was trying to imagine what she looked like now, at 16 years old. When I saw her, she seemed to be even more attractive than I could've imagined, but when I tried to talk to her, she turned out to be distant and cold. Her dad explained that Emily wasn’t happy to have to come here and spend the whole summer with her old parents. It was them who insisted that they all go together because it was their last summer together before she graduated and set off for college. So, they told me I shouldn’t take her behavior personally.
Once, through the open window, I heard Emily arguing loudly with her mom. As far as I understood, she was complaining that there was nothing new and interesting here for her to photograph. And it hit me! The next day I invited her to a “private excursion for VIP-guests” as I called it. We took bicycles and set out for the old lighthouse. If she didn't like this, then there was nothing in the world picturesque enough for her, I thought.
Emily was amazed by the lighthouse itself and by the sea view from it. And while she was taking hundreds of photos, I told her the many interesting stories that were connected to this place. For example, I knew that it was here where my dad had proposed to my mom and where she said “Yes.” And I once had a fight with my dad and came out here to live for two days. As I told all of my stories to Emily, I saw her smile for the first time since they had arrived.
And, honestly, I thought that I had finally gotten into her good graces, ‘cuz our little trip had stirred her curiosity and interest. So, another day, I decided to take Emily out since I was supposed to be meeting my friends at a café and I thought that this would be a perfect chance to show her that I was interested in her.
But everything did not go according to plan. In short, I should’ve invited Emily on a date, rather than let her socialize with my fellas, especially their older brother - Roy. He was taller than me and had wider shoulders, yah, you know, physically he had everything possible to attract a 16-year-old girl. And guess what happened the next day. He picked her up right after breakfast and brought her back super late. I was 14 and broken-hearted, and I was really wishing that this summer would end as fast as possible.
A couple of weeks later, I found Emily hiding downstairs crying. I decided to try to calm her down, and she confusedly said that Roy had dumped her for another girl. Honestly, I was ready to kill that jerk, but first I needed to cheer up the sad young lady next to me. As Mr. Rossetti always taught me, feed the girl and she’ll be yours. I knew I could whip up a really good frittata, so I invited Emily into the kitchen, and over the next 20 minutes or so she was already laughing at something stupid I was telling her.
You’d be wrong to think that this was the happy ending of our story though. Because a few days later she just left with her family...
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