Part 4: L’amore è nell’aria
(Love is in the Air)
I force myself back down. And manage to stay there at least twenty minutes before I give in.
Since we picked up coffee on our shopping trip, I can now enjoy a cup on our terrace to start the day. My intention is to write in the journal I have vowed to start, and maybe read a bit, but all I manage to do is stare at the hummingbirds in the flamboyant tree. And contemplate my chances of successfully procuring a coconut from the top of those trees.
I am excited about our trip to Meads today. Mark and I spent a lot of time watching boat races there on our honeymoon, enjoying its soft, white sands. It was one of our favorite beaches.
I’m excited too about visiting Blanchard’s Beach Shack. I had read Melinda Blanchard’s book A Trip to the Beach during a bleak January stretch in Ohio, and felt her a kindred spirit. Like Melinda and Bob, my husband and I too run a specialty foods business, and of course I dream of starting s business in Anguilla someday, as they have so successfully accomplished. Also, I was stunned to find that their son and I had attended the same small college in Walla Walla, Washington. What are the odds of that?!
Of course, I am hoping to meet Melinda.
I wait patiently for my family to drag themselves out of their sundrenched dreams. My husband is the first to stir, and joins me on the terrace, coffee in hand.
“I think we should just stay here today,” he says, blindsiding me.
I stare at him incredulously. Is he not aware of the overabundance of beaches and the torturous lack of time?
“We can hang out on our beach, maybe stroll down to Sandy Ground later, and Zoe can get a break from the sun.”
“Of course,” I concur. “A wise idea.” All the while thinking what a cockeyed idea it is. But as the benevolent monarch, I must allow my subjects a modicum of say in governing matters, else I appear a dictator.
But it turns out this will be one of the best days, thanks to dinner that night.
We spend a leisurely day, dividing time between lounging on the beach and resting in the villa.
I spend most of my own time on the beach with the intention of reading what has been until recently my very engrossing novel. Instead, all I seem to do is stare slack jawed at the boats bobbing in the water in the bay. I nod along with them. “Yes, yes, yes, this is how every day should be spent.”
I had read about an Italian restaurant on Sandy Ground that was supposed to quite good, so around midday I make my way over to Dolce Vita to see if we can get reservations for that night.
In spite of the glowing reviews I have read, I am slightly underwhelmed by the appearance of the place, and wonder what all the fuss could be.
And then I am greeted by Abbi.
It is like a magic wand is waved before my eyes, and suddenly the restaurant comes to life.
Abbi is the picture of charm and style, and although the reservation book is rather full, still manages to find room for our family of five. A magic wand, I am telling you.
I return to the villa, anticipating our upcoming dinner.
We are treated to another glorious sunset that evening, and toast it with a glass of wine on our beach.
Then we’re off to dinner.
Abbi, dressed in a fabulous paisley dress shirt with striped cuffs, greets us graciously, and leads us to a table in the center of a packed house.
The next few hours are a magical blur of food and wine.
The bread is delicious, but more importantly it is a vehicle to the extra virgin olive oil and the aged balsamic vinegar. Our waitress graciously brings us a second basket.
The gnocchi Gorgonzola we order as a starter is a plate of absolute heaven. We have experimented with making gnocchi ourselves, and thought it was quite decent. This is something else entirely.
The kids and I each order the seafood pasta for mains. It is a treasure trove of fresh shellfish and chunks of fish. But the true standout in our dinners is Mark’s lasagna. It makes me realize that every piece of lasagna I’ve had up to this point has been utter garbage. Instead of the heavy dish I am used to, this is as light as mousse.
The food is delicious, but what truly makes the place is Abbi, who glides about the room sprinkling the pixie dust of his personality, making each patron feel as if he or she is his personal guest.
I vaguely remember dessert. I know there is a chocolate salami; I think there is some tiramisu? For sure there is limoncello, served by Abbi himself. It becomes a bit of a blur after that, which sadly signaled that it is time to go “home.”
What a lovely evening. As we walk back to the villa, we leave a trail of pixie dust of our own. Our footsteps glow in the sand once again; above us glows a moon that was full just three days ago.
We duck under the pier.
“That’s a mighty big rope.”