Part Two

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"Brussels?!" Gabi asked, eyebrows only slightly raised. They were having late breakfast on their two-person kitchen table.

"Yes, in Belgium."

"I know where Brussels is, hun." She rolled her eyes. "Are you sure it's a good idea? I mean, it's a big move."

"I know. Nothing is set yet, but I think we could use some change."

Gabi ate in silence.

"Shake things up a little? And it'll be great for my career."

"That's true. How long is the contract for?"

"One year, initially."

"What language do they speak there? French?"

"Officially, Dutch and French. And German, but that doesn't count. I mean, it's not important for us."

"And we speak none of those."

"They say we can get by speaking English, but I'm sure we'll learn fast. In Brussels they speak mostly French, so we won't have to worry about Dutch."

"And what would I do there? Could I get a job too? I can't stay home like a bum any longer, you know?"

"I'm not sure about that. But you won't need to get a job, I'll make enough to support us both. You can take French classes, visit places, sit outside those lovely European cafés and make new friends. Plus! We'll travel a lot. Paris, Venice, London, it's all just around the corner. Come on, we've always wanted to live abroad!"

"I already live abroad, silly. But it does sound tempting."

"I know, right?! Ok, I have always wanted to live abroad too and this is the perfect opportunity to escape New York City and breathe for a while." Tony got up and refilled his coffee mug. "Think of it like some kind of retreat, a fresh start. You can learn new things, experiment... I don't know... Stop feeling bad about not having a career right now. Just give yourself the time to think and we'll see what to do next."

Time to think is all I've had lately. It's driving me crazy!

"Brussels of all the places in the world..." Gabi mused.

"Who would have thought, huh?"

No one said anything for a while. Gabi nibbled at her piece of chocolate-covered carrot cake and looked out the window. It had started to snow.

"I read they have great chocolate there. And beer." Tony said. He tried to get used to her silences, but they made him very uncomfortable. So he said whatever came to his mind.

"I'm sold!" Gabi laughed. She knew that was a genuine laugh and she felt excited for the first time in months.

"It'll be fun." Tony said and reached for her hand over the table.

"And we can indeed use some adventure. When you think about it, we've got nothing holding us here, this is the perfect time. Before you know it, you're old and boring."

"We'll never be boring, baby."


She took another piece of cake and watched the snow fall. The radio had been on and she hummed along, absent-minded.

"What are you thinking?" He gave her hand a light squeeze.

"Nothing. It's stupid."

"Come on, tell me."

"Nah..." She got up and started clearing the table.

"Come on! You were so absorbed."

"Ok. My 13-year-old self. I wonder if she would be disappointed if she could see me now." Tony gave her a quizzical look. "She had this great vision for her future: she would be this strong, independent, confident woman. She would have everything figured out."

"Gab, you are a strong woman. We will figure things out together, I promise. One-"

"Step at a time." They finished together. "You're the best, honey." She smiled. "Birthday cake? It tastes better the morning after."

"No, thanks, I'm full."

"Are you sure? It's bad luck not to eat your wife's 29th birthday cake."

"Is that a Brazilian superstition?"

"No, I just made it up."

"One bite. Smaller. Ok. Um!"

"So, should we go buy some French books?"


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