The Diamond Adventure


Luisa Heckenkamp

Gianluca, arriving at his apartment on a dark gloomy afternoon and after an intensely hard day's work, is extremely tired, and longs for a nice siesta on the couch. But before lying down, he tries to call his girlfriend, Mila. However, he fails to reach her, and thus, he ends up falling asleep on the couch. While he was sleeping, he had a very odd dream.

In his dream, he finds himself walking down a street on a night in the year 1812. As he was walking down a city street, he saw a dazzling green object fall from the sky. Unsure of what it was, he went in search of it. As he was searching for it, he saw a certain young man walking in his direction. Gianluca asked him if he saw a bright green object fall from the sky and if he did, to point him in the right direction. However, the man said, "No, I haven't seen anything fall from the sky." The man seemed sheepish and continued as if he were in a hurry. As time went by, Gianluca still could not find it, so he decided to go home.

On his way he went to get some coffee at a little coffee shop called, "CAFE DI IL VOLO". As he was walking to the shop, he saw that same young man he had questioned about that sparkling green object. There he was in broad daylight in front of the coffee shop, putting a necklace around the neck of a young lady who seemed to be his girlfriend. And on the necklace, he saw that dazzling green object! It was a beautiful glimmering emerald and realized the man lied to him. With that, Gianluca awoke! He sat up with a start as he heard a loud banging noise. He stood up from his couch with a puzzled look on his face and observed his apartment, but found no sign of anything. It must have been coming from an apartment next door.

Meanwhile, Gianluca's beautiful, Hispanic, 23 yr old, girlfriend, Mila Estefan, who works as a splendid interpreter at "LENGUAS DIFFERENTES" ("DIFFERENT LANGUAGES"), in Santa Fe, New Mexico is still at her job. She is the last one in the office as she finishes up her duties before she leaves. One of those duties is the feeding and care of the office mascot: "Arcoirisito" (which means "Little Rainbow"). He is a charming little parakeet from Brazil renowned for its beautifully brilliant glowing colors and sweet melodies. Mila is really the owner of this little bird but everyone in the office has grown so attached to this "lucky charm" that no one really minds taking turns caring for him. In fact, many times, little disputes have arisen on whose turn it is to "close up shop" because of this endearing, petite creature. The two of them have a ritual that they play out and say their goodnights with Mila letting Arcoirisito eat out of her hand as she hums a delightful Mexican tune to her little feathered friend. But they are suddenly interrupted by her cell phone ringing in her purse.

Mila puts Arcoirisito back in the cage and answers her cell phone. It is Gianluca. He is calling to see if she would like to meet with him tonight. He tells her that he had that strange dream again and how he awoke to a strange banging noise.

So they decide to meet at 6:00 pm in the historical part of Santa Fe at a restaurant called: "LA CASA SENA" where they can both order the foods that they fancy i.e. the tropical and exotic flavors of the Guayaba, Ciruelas, Chico Zapote, and especially the Granada Moco, which is very much equivalent to the Passion fruit. Another reason they like this restaurant is because it also has a beautifully decorated patio with a very tranquil atmosphere overlooking the Sangre de Cristo Mountain. It sets the perfect mood for a romantic dinner. It is also happens to be very close to where Mila lives.

It is 5 pm so he decides he had better get ready because it will take him a hr. to drive to the restaurant. Gianluca lives in the little town of Chimayo which is 28 miles from that restaurant and the area where Mila lives. He works near his home, as well. He is the manager/part owner of a hotel in Chimayo called "Casa Escondida," (which in English translates as "Hidden House"). It is a very peaceful location out in the country close to some nearby restaurants, and historic artisan shops.

Mila rushes home to change for her date with Gianluca. She is so happy it is the weekend and she can spend time with him. She hasn't seen him very often as of late. Though she loves her new career immensely and hopes to keep her job forever, she has been putting in a lot of hours the past few weeks because one of her fellow workers has taken a pregnancy leave.

Mila quickly opens the back door of her parents' house to find them both sitting at the kitchen table. She greets them both with an affectionate hug and kiss. They ask how her day went and they converse briefly. She tells them that Gianluca has asked her out and makes sure it is ok with them.

They both are very fond of Gianluca. This fine young man of 26 yrs old who is also of Hispanic descent is very polite, very "kind-hearted" and considerate. They found him to be a bit extraordinary in this regard and have been very content with Mila's choice for a boyfriend.

Mila goes upstairs to change and as she leaves the room, they both smile at each other. They whisper between themselves about what a fine young man he is and how handsome too, with olive tone skin and dark crew cut hair. They recall how the first time they met him, they marveled at how his eyes were such a bright and deep blue like the sky And how they are also very expressive like Mila's. They don't mind that he has a very strong accent which is definitely noticeable to everyone for it shows his Mexican heritage. In fact, they are even more proud of him because of this, as it reminds them of his heritage which comes from a stalwart line of Mexican Catholics who were martyred for the Faith in the early 1900's known as the Cristeros. Mila's family too comes from a long line of fervent Catholics as well.

Mila puts on her favorite dress and looks in the mirror. Her reflection is stunning with her dark mocha colored skin and dark wavy hair which falls in rich cascades down her back. Her large beautiful eyes are very expressive and flash her moods in an instant. She smiles at herself in the mirror and twirls around flaring her skirt.

She rushes down the stairs to find her purse and says goodbye to her parents. Her accent, too, is definitely noticeable in a very charming way. Her parents give their blessing in Spanish. They are so pleased at how Mila matured. Her personality is such, that people find her very bright eyed, and cheerful. She is even tempered and never really gets upset that is why she is so well liked by most people.

Gianluca arrived wearing khaki dress pants and sports coat, and walked down Mila's sidewalk leading to her house. He stared in amazement of how beautiful Mila looked as she flew down the front porch stairs to greet him. The two drove away in his red camero. Arriving at the restaurant at the designated time, they are seated and served by a nice young waiter. After they have ordered their food, Gianluca decides to ask Mila if she and her two brothers, Fernando and Pedro, would like to accompany him to Brazil on an impromptu trip a sort of business/vacation. Mila's face lit up with excitement as she leaned over the table to give him a unexpected kiss on the cheek. Gianluca smiles affectionately at her. Mila smiles back. And as the food is served, they eat their delicious Mexican feast and talk about the trip to Brazil. They would set sail for Brazil from Galveston, Texas in about a month's time. As they finished their meal they put on their jackets and bid farewell to the waiters, as they went out to her parent's house to ask their permission about the trip. Mila arrives at her house; her parents greet her and Gianluca in Spanish. They converse together for several minutes and bring up the exciting news of the trip. Her parents have some concerns but eventually concede as Mila's brothers will be joining her.

A month passes quickly... Mila, Gianluca, Fernando and Pedro find themselves waving goodbye to Mila's and Gianluca's parents at the security gates at the Sante Fe Airport. A few hours later they arrive in Galveston, Texas. They take a taxi to the Port and board the stately looking cruise ship called: "El Lirio." Lucky for Mila, she remembered her Dramamine as she still gets car sick on occasion. Best to play it safe so she thought in case of rough seas. But the sky was crystal clear and bright blue without a cloud to be seen on the horizon... Perhaps she was being over-concerned.

The ship sailed for days toward the Caribbean Islands without any problems. But then there was news that a storm was forming in the Atlantic and was heading straight towards their route of travel toward Rio de Janeiro. The captain had been radioed to try to get to a safe port nearby so they altered their course. The seas began to get choppy and Mila popped a dose of Dramamine as her stomach began to feel queasy. Gianluca sensed she was getting nervous and took her hand and squeezed it promising her that he would make sure nothing would happen to her. Her brothers rallied around her as well being supportive and telling her everything was going to be ok. The waves lashing the ship continued to increase in intensity causing now not only Mila to worry but also the young men as well.

The crew began to hand out life jackets and checks were being made on the life boats just in case. The waves were so strong that some of the deck was becoming damaged as a result. The suddenly there was a loud crash and a jolt. Sirens were sounded and the captain could be heard saying: "Man the lifeboats!" The people on board were in a panic. Many were hysterical. Mila and the boys made the sign of the cross and decided to go back to their rooms to grab their important documents like their passports but another loud noise and crash made them decide to abandon this idea. They stumbled back to the deck and got in line to board the life boats but the ship began to tilt sideways and everyone lost their balance. People tried to hold on to the boat's railing. The next thing they knew, they were all in the water grasping onto something- anything even a piece of the boat that would balance them in the rough waters and aid them in staying afloat. It was hard to find anything and Mila cried out to Gianluca and her brothers because she somehow had lost them in the next wave. A wave hit again and she choked on the salt water that got into her lungs. Some hard object then slammed into her head and she went unconscious. Meanwhile the boys were separated all trying hard to survive. Struggle as they might, all of the flailing in the water was causing their energy to fail. How long could they hold out? Then they saw it - an island in the distance. But where did Mila go? They couldn't see her. Those boys were praying hard to find their dear girlfriend/sister as they tried to direct themselves on their piece of floating refuse from the boat. "Please, God, keep Mila from drowning! Our Lady please help her to get to shore!" They all prayed silently - pleading with Heaven.

In the midst of his prayers for Mila, Gianluca saw something on the horizon and gave a loud shout: "I see land!" Pedro and Fernando heard him. So the two brothers and Gianluca paddled their rafts towards shore.

Arriving on the island, Gianluca and the twins saw a human figure lying on the sand: they quickly ran toward it and saw that it was their precious sister (girlfriend), Mila. She had been badly hit on the head and was unconscious. Gianluca, who was heartbroken, knelt at her side. From his neck, he removed a chain with a beautiful gold crucifix that he had bought in Chimayo. He made the Sign of the cross and said a little prayer then kissed the crucifix and placed it gently on Mila's forehead. Once Gianluca did so, Mila awoke a little confused but quickly smiled when she saw her boyfriend and her brothers. Gianluca, Fernando and Pedro's eyes filled with tears and again they made the sign of the cross thanking God for helping their dear sister.

When Mila was feeling better, they decided to explore the island, hoping to find a way to get off. So, they left the shore and decided to follow a stream that originated somewhere inside the tropical rain forest. They were more than a little apprehensive as they began hearing unfamiliar animal and bird calls. They were certain there was a variety of different kinds of wild beasts on the island but it surely didn't interest them in finding these creatures face to face. They also didn't want to go too far from the shore as it was going to get dark soon and didn't feel safe sleeping in the jungle at night.

They hadn't walked very far into the jungle when suddenly something dropped from a vine onto Mila- a slithery, long, green thing- Mila screamed! Thinking quickly, Gianluca grabbed a stick and lifted a snake from around Mila's neck, throwing it to the ground. Pedro grabbed a rock and threw it on its head. It was a close call! Mila was shaking from fright as Gianluca tried to console her- No one wanted to contemplate on whether it had been venomous or not, but it was highly likely.

They continued on a little farther when they came upon a cave. At the entrance there were strange markings hieroglyphics of some kind probably from some barbaric tribe. Was this tribe form centuries past or were they inhabitants of this island? They shuddered at the thought of it.

They realized that it was starting to get dark. As they wanted to get back to shore to make camp, they began to follow the stream back. They recognized a few banana trees interspersed in the jungle. So Fernando, who was the most daring and athletic of the young men, climbed one of these and threw some down to Mila and the boys. With the fresh water from the stream and the bananas, they would not suffer from hunger of thirst that night.

But the thought of the wild animals in the dark caused them to pick up the pace and soon they were back on the sand. Lucky for them, Pedro knew how to start a fire. All were relieved to watch Pedro put his old scouting skills to work! Before the sun set, they were all sitting around this fire eating the last of their bananas. Their conversation was based around ideas on how they could get off the island. All agreed that the cave was a little foreboding. However Gianluca was determined to investigate to see if the cave held anything of use.

Mila thought that it would be wise to scour the shoreline in case others survivors might have washed ashore or perhaps they might find other useful equipment or remnants from the battered ship. Perhaps they could get an idea how large the island was as well and if they might see other islands or even the coastline of South America - if they were lucky. Mila and Fernando agreed to go together to explore along the coastline. Gianluca and Pedro decided that they would venture back into the jungle to the cave.

They were all starting to feel a little drowsy when suddenly they heard a noise coming from deep within the jungle. What was it? It was hard to tell. At first it sounded like a heartbeat but they realized it was the rhythm of a drum- far off in the distance. It meant they surely were not alone on this island. Did it mean there was civilization here on the island or barbarism of some kind...natives? Friendly or...? They looked worriedly at each other in the firelight. What was this night going to hold for them?

What was this night going to hold for them?

The following morning, exhausted after a long night of beating drums, Gianluca, Mila and her brothers decided it would be best to stick together. As they were all a bit hungry they thought going back into the jungle together to get some bananas would be a good idea. They all agreed to venture back together. Since the banana trees were close to the cave with the strange hieroglyphics, they thought it best to explore it a little to see if it held anything of value to help in their rescue.

While walking through the jungle, the four suddenly heard a very low but distinct growl in the distance. They stopped dead in their tracks. But not seeing anything, they just kept on walking. All of a sudden, they heard that growl again. However, this time it was louder, closer and accompanied by a rustling of leaves and bushes. Whatever it was, it was heading right towards them. Gianluca, knowing that whatever it was was not a cute little chipmunk, gave a loud shout: "Run!" The foursome immediately took off as they weren't going to stick around to find out what sort of predator may have selected them for lunch.

Fernando got the idea to climb a tree so yelled to the others to do so as well. Once they had done so, they glanced at the bottom to see what had been chasing them.

Mila gasped at the sight of it. "What is that?" she asked in a trembling voice.

Gianluca replied "It's a wild animal. It looks just like a verraco (warthog). We have some around in New Mexico but they are only found in the wild. You sure don't want to mess with them as their tusks are very dangerous and deadly! They like to skewer their prey with their tusks!"

"Then what do we do now...? Mila yelled.

"Well," replied Gianluca, as the warthogs ran by, "it looks like they are on the track of something else, we can climb down in a minute and get back on the path to finding that cave!" It was rather a close call! That wild beast could have surely killed all of them for they were utterly defenseless.

So, after a few minutes, Gianluca, Mila and her brothers climbed down. They continued on a little farther, finding the bananas trees. Then they came upon that cave once again that had the strange hieroglyphics markings at the entrance.

"Here it is!" exclaimed Gianluca, not knowing whether they should enter it, for they really didn't know what the markings meant. Could it mean danger or death...?

But Gianluca, the most daring of the four, went inside first. And upon entering it, he found it dimly lit by torches. Gianluca yelled for them to enter and said, "Well, this cave sure isn't deserted."

Following a narrow and dark path, they came upon a large open space. Their eyes were still adjusting to the dimness of the cave, but as they looked more intensely, their faces filled with astonishment at the sight of the interior of this cave. There before them sprawled and strewn around this room were piles of many ancient rare jewels, gold coins and artifacts. They were so excited! And then Gianluca saw it! It was sparkling, shining, glimmering! "What could that be?" he wondered as he got closer to it. He picked it up and realized it was a large beautifully cut tear dropped shaped diamond. A jewel fit for a queen!

He looked around quickly to see if Mila was watching him. She and her brothers were too stunned by it all and didn't notice Gianluca silently slip it into his pocket. When they all recovered from the shock, they thought it a good idea to leave everything be - After all, the cave was certainly not deserted as it was obvious that someone was tending to this cave with all of these torches lighting the way. Anyway - what use would any jewels or treasures be to them at this point? And how could they carry anything? Perhaps they could come back later to try and retrieve a few of these treasures. But, now was certainly not the time...

As they were just about to leave the cave, they heard voices in the distance. Whoever they were, they were speaking in a foreign tongue and it sure didn't sound like Spanish! They ran to the entrance of the cave and peeked out. There was no one there. "Quick - Let's get out of here!" Gianluca whispered. And they all bounded back towards the shore.

Little did they know that they were heading right toward the voices? They could see the shore through the trees and then...there they were not just one but 20 natives were heading right toward them. They looked fierce with their painted faces and spiked headdresses. Some even wore necklaces of tusks- presumably like those of the warthog they had just come across a few minutes ago. They all froze in their tracks what could they do? These natives saw them and froze as well for a minute. They all decided to run and the natives followed. Mila tripped over a vine and fell. The boys stopped and ran back to help her but it was in vain. The natives were upon them. They grabbed them all and spoke loudly at them in their native tongue. The boys tried to get to Mila but she was pushed ahead of the group.

Gianluca decided to try to say something to them but they didn't know any English. Well he thought perhaps one of them might know some Spanish so he said: "Entiende espanol?" And to his amazement the one who held him said, "Si!" So, Gianluca began speaking in Spanish explain to him that they had been traveling to Brazil on a ship called "El Lirio" and how their ship sank had sank in the storm. He described their fortunate arrival on this island and that they meant no harm.

Once the natives heard what Gianluca had to say, they became more relaxed as they realized they were not trying to cause any trouble. The native then spoke in Spanish describing to Gianluca that they too meant no harm and that they were from a friendly tribe of natives who lived on an island nearby and only come there for hunting and taking care of their ancestors' burial cave.

In the meantime, the others had heard what the native had said to Gianluca, they too felt more relaxed, for they no longer needed to worry anymore about being in danger. Gianluca continued speaking to the native, asking him for how long of a time he and his tribe had been taking care of their ancestors in the burial cave.

The native responded saying, "Since the beginning of the foundation of our tribe, our people have been the guardians of this sacred ground, but it is not for that reason alone that we love this island, as we love to hunt for food for our people here since this land is rich with wild beasts."

The native then asked Gianluca if he understood everything that he had said to him.

Gianluca replied, "Si, claro!" (Yes, of course!)

"Muy bien entonces!" added the native, "Pues, deberiamos ir ahora"

(Well, we should let you go then!)

"Wait! Do you have contact with anyone besides your tribe?!" asked desperately Gianluca in Spanish.

The native replied, "No, very rarely do we see anyone from other islands or anywhere else. We are very isolated. We only know Spanish because there was a Spanish missionary many years ago that came and stayed with us and taught us his language. We had better be on our way then too before it gets dark."

Then, as Gianluca, Mila and her brothers bid their farewells to the natives, they began walking the path that guided them back to the seashore. They all seemed a bit downhearted as they all had gotten their hopes up a little when they had discovered that the natives were friendly and one could speak Spanish. They walked away in silence for some time. Gianluca realizing everyone's apparent disappointment decided to cheer everyone up by starting a conversation.

"Well, that was quite an adventure!" declared Gianluca.

"It sure was!" replied Mila, "Let's hope now that we don't run into anything else on our way back!"

"Yeah!" exclaimed Pedro, "Let's hope."

As the four went on walking through the jungle, they came to a quick stop because they heard a strange sound coming from the branches of the trees. They looked up to see if they could figure out what was making that racket, but whatever it was, they could not see it because it seemed to be too small to be seen.

"What is it this time?" asked Mila in a rather unusually tense tone of voice.

"I don't know" replied Gianluca.

"Maybe it's a squirrel!" shouted Fernando.

"Well, whatever it is, it can't be too threatening as it doesn't seem to be too interested in us!" encouraged Gianluca.

The four were about to continue walking, when suddenly, Fernando gave a loud complaint, "Ouch!"

"What's the matter?" asked his twin brother Pedro.

"Didn't you see that?" he asked holding his head.

"See what?" asked Pedro,

"Something hit me on the head with this little coconut!" answered Pedro.

"Of course it did!" laughed Pedro with his usual smarty-pants sense of humor.

"Why don't you believe me?" Fernando asked.

"Don't you think if something hit you on the head it would have hit all of us?" Pedro replied sarcastically.

"No, not necessarily!" replied Fernando.

Pedro began to laugh again, when suddenly, this time, something from the tree hit Pedro on the head with another coconut.

"Ay, carambas!" he shouted rubbing his head. "What was that?"

"Now, do you believe me?" asked Fernando.

"Yeah, I guess I do!" Pedro replied.

Gianluca and Mila looked at each other and chuckled "Those are quite the brothers you have Mila!" Gianluca said.

"Yes, they are!" she replied.

So, the four looked up again to see what kind of little creature was hitting Mila's brothers on the head

"Why, it's nothing but a little capuchin monkey throwing some coconuts at you!" remarked Gianluca.

"But why is it throwing them at us and not at you?" asked Fernando,

"I don't know" said Gianluca, maybe that's his way of saying "hello". "Yeah right!" remarked Pedro.

"Well, we should probably continue walking!" said Mila. So, the four picked up some of the coconuts that had been thrown down by the monkey and continued their walk. They were going to have to devise some way to open these coconuts to quench their thirst and ease their hunger. They grabbed some more bananas as well for dinner.

When arriving at the seashore, they all knelt down on the sand thanking God for guiding them back safely. Mila wished that the day wouldn't have gone by so slowly for them, for she was tired of walking.

"We should probably start a fire!" Gianluca exclaimed, even though it was not yet dark, but it had gotten a little chilly. So Pedro, using his old scouting skills made the fire.

From the shore they could see a beautiful sunset on the horizon. Mila got up from the sand and told Gianluca to look at it with her. As Gianluca did so, he saw something in the distance that resembled a little dot.

"What is that?" he shouted. Pedro and Fernando got up to take a look of what Gianluca was talking about.

"What is what?" asked Fernando.

"That over there!" he exclaimed.

The dot began to get bigger and bigger and whatever it was, seemed to be coming their way. They had to wait quite a while to finally see what the "dot" was.

Pedro was the first to exclaim, "A ship!", "I see a ship!"

"Quick Pedro!" Gianluca said, "Put more sticks on the fire!"

As the flames from the fires leapt high and higher, the ship appeared to have taken notice as it seemed headed straight for the island and seemed as if it picked up speed. Once Gianluca and the others realized the ship was heading towards them, they took out their rosaries and knelt to the ground and prayed their rosary and with every decade they added: "Our Lady Our Queen and our Mother in the name of Jesus for the love of Jesus please take this cause into thy hands and grant a good success". The four prayed until the ship arrived close to the island.

Then they could restrain themselves no longer and started to shout as they thought that the passengers on board might be able to hear them. They continued until they realized that a smaller boat was being lowered into the waters.

Once it had arrived, they ran into the water to greet the captain and some of his crew. The captain climbed out of the little boat and greeted them saying "Hello!" I'm Captain Bozzi from Brazil; we had been sent to find any castaways from the latest storm. A ship had been seen on radar not too far from us when that hurricane came upon us. We have spent the last 2 days searching these waters and then fortunately, we saw the smoke and flames from that fire there and thought that we ought to check it out!"

"Well, thank goodness you did!" said Mila with tears in her eyes; I thought we would never get off this island!

"So the four got on the little yacht and rowed away to the ship.

As they arrived at the ship, Captains Bozzi's crew threw down a little stepladder so that they could get aboard. Captain Bozzi, not knowing Gianluca's name or where he and his friends where from, asked him "May I ask what your name is and what country you come from?"

"Of course!" said Gianluca "My name is Gianluca Torres and this is my girlfriend Mila and her two brothers, we come from the United States. We live in New Mexico!"

"Oh I see!" said the captain. "And how did you manage to get on that bloody island, my friend, during the storm?"

"Well, you see, we had been traveling to Brazil on a ship called 'El Lirio' when that storm hit!" There was nothing left of our ship afterwards, except for some broken floating rafters which we used to keep us from drowning and paddle our way to the island!"

"Well listen here!" the captain slapped Gianluca on the back enthusiastically, "you are in good hands now, so, there's no need to worry anymore!"

"Thank you, Captain!" replied Gianluca, "That is very kind of you!"

"No need to thank me my friend, it's what I do!" said the captain.

So the foursome began their journey back to civilization. As this ships next port was Miami, they could hardly wait to arrive back in the US after this trying adventure.

The following morning, as they all were sleeping soundly on the soft beds of the ship quarters, Gianluca had the same exact dream that he previously had when he was in New Mexico. Again, he dreamt he found himself walking down a street on a night in the year 1812. As he was walking down a city street, he saw a dazzling green object fall from the sky. Unsure of what it was, he went in search of it. As he was searching for it, he saw a certain young man walking in his direction. Gianluca asked him if he saw a bright green object fall from the sky and if he did, to point him in the right direction. However, the man said, "No, I haven't seen anything fall from the sky." The man seemed sheepish and continued as if he were in a hurry. As time went by, Gianluca still could not find it, so he decided to go home.

On his way he went to get some coffee at a little coffee shop called, "CAFE DI IL VOLO." As he was walking to the shop, he saw that same young man he had questioned about that sparkling green object. There he was in broad daylight in front of the coffee shop, putting a necklace around the neck of a young lady who seemed to be his girlfriend. And on the necklace, he saw that dazzling green object! It was a beautiful glimmering emerald and realized the man lied to him.

With that, Gianluca sat up with a start. He gasped as if something were wrong. So he reached down into his pocket, and there it was! Gianluca sat on the bed for a couple of minutes thinking about the dream he just had. What could it mean? Why did he keep having that dream?

He decided to go and search for Mila. He found her on deck outside of the ship's café. And what do you think the name of it was? ""CAFE DI IL VOLO!" He stopped suddenly in front of it - a little stunned... Was that dream a sort of presentiment of an event that was to be? Gianluca scratched his head in confusion.

Mila was deep in thought looking out on the vast ocean. Gianluca quietly walked over to her. "Good Morning!" He said smiling nervously.

She returned the smile and replied: "Good Morning, How are you?"

"I'm good!" Gianluca looked down at his shoes trying not to let her look into his eyes for fear that she might see his uneasiness. After that moment, the silence was deafening between them. However, Gianluca, knowing it was the right moment spoke in a soft and gently voice: "Mila, I know this has been quite an adventure and this might not be the perfect moment for what I am about to say but..."

Reaching deep into his front pocket, Gianluca pulled something from his pocket and grabbed for Mila's hand and placed something hard and cold into it. He would not let her open her hand yet as he gulped.

Then, he knelt down on the ship's deck and said to her: "Mila, this isn't something that one usually gives to a girl for this sort of occasion but considering everything we went through... I come to realize that life is short..."

Mila blurted out: "Gianluca, what in the world are you trying to say to me! Get off the floor! You're making a spectacle of yourself and embarrassing me!"

Gianluca blushed despite his dark brown skin. "Mila," he said in a whisper, "give me a chance... I am going to finish... Where was I? Oh ...and so I want you to have this as a token of my love for you and I have one thing to ask you."

Mila replied a little embarrassed: "Ok, ok what is it?"

Gianluca gulped again as he tried to get the words out, "Mila, will you marry me?" With that, he opened his hand and let the object fall into Mila's petite grasp. Mila gasped and stared without moving for a minute. She turned it around in her hand as she thought to herself: "This treasure is very beautiful. When one gazes at it in the sunlight, it is amazing to see it shine, casting rays of light and shining spots over everything. It shines so brightly reflecting the sun that when I look at it, it makes me think of what the light in heaven will look like. I imagine it would even glitter in the moonlight. When I see the water of the ocean sparkle in the sunlight, it reminds me of its splendor."

Then Mila heard a faint voice calling her name. The voice knocked her back into reality and Gianluca looked at her and smiled and said "Well, you didn't answer me" "Will you marry me?"

Mila stared into Gianluca's eyes and whispered softly in his ear, "What do you think? Of course!"

Gianluca then asked, "Do you like the diamond?"

And Mila, with a long, deep, contented sigh replied, "how I long to wear it!"

LPH Writing Class stories 2013-2014