On a beautiful and particularly sunny day in Rome, a lady arrived at a café. The lady’s name was Patrizia. She was very elegant, and her entrance immediately caught the attention of a waiter named Antonio. They smiled and acknowledged each other’s presence unknowingly of how this day would change their lives forever.
Antonio, a serious and pensive young man, appeared to have the weight of the world on his shoulders. His melancholic expression was due to his recent breakup with his girlfriend who cheated on him with one of his friends. She begged Antonio to take her back, but Antonio felt what she did was unforgivable and banished her from his physical life, but unfortunately, could not banish her from his thoughts.
Additionally, Antonio had other worries. The café was closing permanently at the end of the month, and he would have no job thereafter. Also, he had lived with his girlfriend, and after their breakup, has been staying with different friends until he would be able to find a place of his own. With no income, he knew this would be impossible for the time being.
Although depressed and worried, the presence of Patrizia distracted Antonio from his regular routine. Patrizia was beautiful and ten years older than him. They would have random conversations about meaningless topics, so neither one knew much of the other, but these conversations were pleasant. Even though Antonio found Patrizia attractive, he surely wasn’t ready to initiate any type of intimacy with anyone after what he had endured. Patrizia’s presence and words were comforting to him and caused a calmness within him, which he liked. Patrizia appeared so calm and collected all the time. She also seemed to understand his pain without him having to tell her anything.
On the last day the café was opened, Antonio informed Patrizia that they would be closing. Patrizia asked him where he would be working, and Antonio sadly responded that he had no job nor a consistent place to live. Surprised by Antonio’s response, she then told him that she would help him find a job, and in the meantime, he could be her roommate and live rent-free until he found a job. He could have the room until her daughter came back from college break to visit her.
Naturally, Antonio was astonished by this offer. He couldn’t believe that practically a stranger would do this for him without expecting anything. His pride did not want him to accept that offer, but his logic made him do so. He asked Patrizia what he could do for her in return, and she answered, “nothing,” which left Antonio perplexed.
The apartment was lovely and spacious, located on Via Veneto. He felt very fortunate.
Throughout the next few months, Patrizia helped Antonio find a job and became his confidant. He felt that he could tell her many things, including about his ex-girlfriend. Patrizia and Antonio would cook together, laugh together, etc. They had built a close friendship, but Antonio felt there was still so much mystery about Patrizia. She would disappear for hours, or other times fall asleep for hours during the day. Sometimes she would randomly be very ill, but Antonio was always there to take care of her, not because he felt indebted to her, but because he truly cared for her as a person. He would even look out of his window when she would come home from a date. As he looked at her interacting with other men, he felt a little jealous. This made him revisit his feelings for his dear friend.
One night Patrizia came home exhausted and went to bed. Antonio came into her room and laid on her bed beside her. He put his arms around her. She turned around, and he kissed her on the mouth in a most passionate way. Patrizia was happy because she was waiting for him to be ready for this moment. They made love, and from that night, their lives would change drastically.
They began a romantic relationship with each other, and both were filled with happiness. Antonio had moved into Patrizia’s room. He also found a job. Then Patrizia had some big news for him. She was pregnant and was thrilled about it! Antonio was shocked and nervous about the news, but Patrizia reassured him to trust her because she had everything under control. Antonio eventually began to relax and was excited about becoming a dad.
Months passed and finally, the day of delivery came. Patrizia gave birth to a beautiful and healthy baby girl. Antonio came into the room to see Patrizia and the baby. Patrizia then told Antonio that she had to tell him something important.
She told him that she returned to Rome, her birthplace, because she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that was terminal and incurable. She was only expected to live a few months. With this news, she left her job and life in New York. She did not want her daughter, who was just starting college, to know and suffer with her. She had preferred to be in a familiar and peaceful place to leave Earth by herself. She always felt Rome in her heart and loved all her memories there, so she decided to spend her last days there. She thought the process would be easier than it was and then changed her mind in that she did not want to die alone, so that was why she decided to help him – for his consistent companionship.
When she became pregnant, the cancer miraculously disappeared! The doctors were baffled but said that it could have been because of the revitalization the new life gave her body.
Patrizia then went on to tell Antonio, “You see, I came to Rome to die, but you gave me my life back, and for this, I name our daughter, Vita.”