August 25, 2010

The Big Surprise, Part One

Posted in Trek through Italy at 3:50 PM by goingbeyondzebra

It was a day as normal as any day could be in Italy. I woke up a little earlier than I had been since returning to Torre after leading the prayer outreach across Italy. We were supposed to go to the grocery store today, and also at some point pick up someone from the train station in Pinerolo who was coming to visit a friend. Still in partial recovery mode from Transform, I sleepily got dressed and headed out with Becca and Susan.

We finished our shopping in decent time, and drove over to the train station. We were supposedly going to be getting a call whenever this person got in, though it being Italy, we knew that us actually getting a call was iffy at best. So we decided to go ahead and check if the person had arrived. No one was there, and the next train didn’t pull in for over an hour, so we went back home, unloaded our things, and waited to see if we heard anything.

About an hour and a half later we got a call saying the person was in. Now all this time I had been rather curious about who was arriving, and about the lack of knowledge the Harrell’s seemed to have about them. What was their name? Did we know what they looked like? Who were they visiting? How would we know them? Did they even speak English? All these and more were questions I kept asking throughout the day, always being met with rather vague and evasive answers. This should have triggered a flag in my head, but as stated earlier I was still in recovery mode, and at this point so used to things in Italy being rather last minute when it came to details, I just went with it. We made an Operation Mobilization sign for the person to “recognize” us, and Becca and I headed back out to the train station.

I almost didn’t go. I was tired and I had work I still needed to do, and I didn’t really see the need for me to drive all the way there and back with Becca to pick up some stranger. However, I decided to accompany my friend, partially lamenting the fact on the way that I was probably going to have to try to be friendly and engaging towards this person, and try to keep up the flow of conversation. I wasn’t in a conversational mood, and these thoughts plus others kept the ride over rather quiet.

The parking lot of the train station in Pinerolo is a bit interesting. When you enter the parking lot you get a good view of the front of the train station. But as you curve around, the buildings, cars, and other various objects get in your view, so you can’t really see all of the station anymore, particularly the part where people wait to be picked up, until you are directly in front of it. As we entered, I glanced over to the area where people wait and saw a guy sitting there. I casually glanced at Becca and said “I wonder if that’s him?” while at the same time my mind was whirring with the following thoughts as we pulled around and our view was obstructed:

“Man that looks kind of like Mark. But that can’t possibly be Mark, he was going to a friend’s house last night, I haven’t heard from him because he is still sleeping! So that can’t possibly be Mark because he is still sleeping, and his passport hasn’t even come in yet. Therefore it would be impossible for him to be here so just don’t say anything because you don’t want to appear ridiculous and have Becca think that Mark is all you ever think about. (Pause) OH MY GOSH IT’S MARK!”

At this point we had pulled in front of where the man was waiting, and sure enough, there sat my boyfriend Mark, looking somewhat weary, but quite solid and un-mirage like. I glanced again at Becca and half registered that she had a camera in hand and was probably videotaping me, before I frantically yanked the door open, un-popped my seatbelt, and attempted to exit the car. Now, this being me, and me being a rather uncoordinated person, of course exiting the car was not nearly as simple as it ought to have been. When attempting to exit the car, my purse decided it didn’t want to leave, and wound itself around my seatbelt. This enabled me to step out of the car, but kept me a close captive. So, I desperately did a twist-duck-turn type dance, freed myself from the car-purse trap, and ran to Mark. I believe the first thing I said to him was either, “How are you here?” or “What are you doing here?”  great questions, I think. There was lots of hugging, a few kisses, smiles, loving words, and even a few tears if I must be honest. It was a wonderful surprise, and needless to say, I was no longer worried about having to keep up the flow of conversation on the way home.

The poor fellow had traveled all night, taken several trains only to get off at one of the wrong stops and miss his connection, which is why he was a bit later than we thought he was going to be. But he made it! And he did it all just to see me! But this was just the beginning. His trip was to last till the following Sunday, and many more adventures and surprises unfolded throughout his stay.

Stay tuned for part two….

Robyn

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2 Comments »

  1. Sharon Cogburn said,

    This is a great story, wonderfully told.

  2. Hayley Drew said,

    Hahaha I can definitely see you getting out of the car like that! Hehehe I can’t wait for Part Two 🙂


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