“It is often said, ‘We met completely by accident,’ but if we think deeper, we will find that every chance is full of meaning,” Antonio uttered philosophically. All the men around, Antonio’s relatives and friends, tore their eyes away from the fireplace, where the birch logs crackled merrily, and looked at the host. Children’s cheers and laughter flew in from the next rooms. Sometimes one of them ran into the spacious living room to feast on the sweets from the table. A strong smell of the turkey Antonio’s wife had baked for Thanksgiving enveloped the house, caressing the nostrils. “I have one story from my youth. Well, not exactly from my youth, but let’s say from early adulthood. But looking back on my past today, when the temples are covered in gray, I understand that at thirty I was still a wild child.”
“Don’t dawdle, Tony, it’s late, almost time to go home soon”, his brother-in-law said, taking a sip of cognac while lounging in his chair.
The guest’s familiar tone offended the host. But a pleasant day with family and friends, a delicious turkey, cognac, the warmth coming from the fireplace, all had a calming effect. Instead of putting his brother in law in his place, Antonio smiled good-naturedly, as if to say “you’re right, dear relative.”“Then listen.” And he slowly began. “I was thirty-two years old at the time, and I worked as an inspector in a firm, checking the technical condition of high-rise buildings in New York. I can honestly say that I was not overworking. I was not yet married; sometimes I visited the church with a hidden desire to meet a simple, God-fearing girl and to start a family with her. Yet I admit that my soul craved something extraordinary. So, I started frequenting the nightclubs. In one of the clubs I met Jessica,” Antonio cast a cautious glance at the slightly open door to the next room, where the women, including his wife and grown daughter, were watching a popular TV show. Thus ensuring that the women did not hear him, he continued.