By Lisa Saltagi
It was mid-summer. Those nights when nothing matters except who you’re with and how much the sun has painted your body gold in those glorious afternoon hours.I was in a shop by the water – one of those places that is a labyrinth of little rooms with everything that you never needed and never even knew you wanted; potpourri and decorative shelving, pretty boxes painted with old passport stamps, old nautical instruments far past their usefulness – now shining like jewelry under the fluorescent lights instead of reflecting the waves of the sea.
I perused as usual – touching this and that – killing time before my family and I went to get ice-cream down the street. But in one back corner I found it. A wooden sign painted a deep midnight-black. The white letters that had been stamped on it jumped off the wood – bright and bold – daring anyone to rebut the message they were screaming out into the dead space of a small knickknack shop in Maine.
Do the thing you love more than anything in life. You might become a bit unpredictable, sometime cranky, but you will be happier than you ever imagined possible.
I knew the authors warning. The thing I love, my passion, had I lived it? I saw visions of horseback riding in Ireland and 2am conversations on the cliffs over the ocean in Morocco. I felt the liberation of these memories running through my mind, trapping them in a pen and spilling their inky emotions onto a sheet of blank white paper.
I had done the things I loved most. But with those things I had felt loneliness. I felt despair when my writing was not published, the frustrations of leaving family behind to follow my dreams. Of knowing that this small vacation back home was temporary – and Florence Italy was also my home now. Of the burden of spreading myself too thin to do the thing I love – travel, write. It smolders deep in the depths of my being – a slow ember that sears into innermost thoughts – that ignites at every negative unpredictable moment of my international life.
But, the but is the most important. The pause is where the promise is. “but you will be happier than you ever imagined possible.” Like the kiss that makes all the pain go away, the salve that heals the burn. In my passion, I found Rami. I found my forever – I found my husband. I left the sign in it’s place – awaiting another reader to instill its message. For me, it had done its duty – and I realized I had already followed its message.
Today, on the steps if my Florentine apartment there’s a different black sign with white stenciled letters. But these are rounded at the corners, and they lean on each other on the black canvas instead of shouting their message out individually.
“Wouldn’t you agree, baby you and me, we got a groovy kind of love.”
And for some reason, that other message doesn’t matter anymore.
Short bio: Lisa Saltagi grew up in the back-roads of New England and found passion in writing nonfiction very early in her life. With her ever-growing urge to travel, she studied abroad in Ascoli Piceno, Italy and realized that the world was too big to stay in one place. After many adventures she found love for life and for her husband of one year in Florence, Italy where she continues to live, travel, write (when she can!) and works within a study abroad program where she hopefully instills her passions into future generations.
You can also read more of Lisa’s stories by following her website www.shecomesfromboston.com.