Monday, August 23, 2010


In one of those remarkable cosmic moments, I found an American penny on the streets of suburban Melbourne a few months ago. I was most excited by this unusual find and henceforth deemed the penny "my lucky penny". I brought it home and put it in a very safe place...the top of my chest of drawers. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with it, but I knew that I needed to hang on to it.

Several weeks later, the Handsome Australian and I were out in the City for dinner. He'd booked us a table at 2010's Pizzeria of the Year, +39. The Handsome Australian had dined there before and promised me charming Italian waiters, fine wine and simple but tasty pizza. The occasion? We were marking 12 years since the day we met back at the Embassy in Buenos Aires.

When we arrived at +39, our table wasn't ready so the host sent us to the casual bar across the road. We had a few drinks and then headed back across the street to claim our table. We were seated in the very back of the cozy little restaurant...somewhere between the pizza oven and the toilets. True to his description, the waiter arrived and began to explain the menu in the most beautiful broken English with a very heavy Italian accent. The Handsome Australian became "Bello" and I became "Bella". We ordered some wine and an antipasto platter to start and some pizzas to come later. "Perfetto," ordained the waiter as he disappeared to organise our wine.

The Handsome Australian then slowly reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a little box which he placed in front of me on the table. Taken by surprise, I looked searchingly at the little blue box with the white ribbon and wondered what could possibly be inside. After all, this was really more of an informal anniversary. It wasn't our wedding anniversary, just the day that we'd met all those years ago.

The waiter returned with our wines, saw the little blue box sitting in front of me and his eyes grew very wide. He placed the glasses down very quickly and rushed off waving his hands apologetically and repeating, "Scusi, scusi, scusi." Poor guy. I think he thought he'd interrupted a wedding proposal.

Keen to find out what was inside the box, I untied the ribbon and opened the lid. Inside I found this:

It was a beautiful sterling silver locket in the shape of a heart. The Handsome Australian indicated I should open it up to see what was inside. Intrigued, I did just that.

Inside the locket, I found a photograph of the two of us that had been taken in Hawaii earlier this year. While we were there, we'd celebrated our 10th year of marriage with a vow renewal ceremony. The photo was one of the two of us during the ceremony. It was such a lovely sentiment, but then the Handsome Australian told me to lift the photo out of the locket.

Why? I wondered. What else could possibly be in this locket? So as not to disappoint my dear husband and to cure my increasing curiosity, I did just as he instructed and lifted the photo gently out of the locket...

and there, sitting secretly behind our photo was my lucky penny. The Handsome Australian had realised how significant the finding of this penny had been for me and said he wanted me to have a safe place to keep it (hmm...I guess the top of the chest of drawers just wasn't cutting it). This way, according to him, I'll always have my lucky penny (and the USA) close to my heart.

The antipasto arrived. It was lackluster. Then there was pizza of some description and several glasses of wine followed by some sort of nuttella dessert pizza. All, truthfully, not that memorable. Or perhaps just eclipsed by the Handsome Australian himself.

Handsome and thoughtful. What a combination. I'm a lucky more ways than one.