From Sandra Antonelli
Tall, dark, handsome and hung over said, “G’day.” The puffy, beige coat he wore made him bigger, taller, darker. His eyes were brown buttons of melted chocolate that made him seem like a giant Australian cookie, albeit one that had had a bite taken out of it. There were dark circles under his eyes.
The guy beside him looked like a hippy, the kind that landed on campus in the late sixties and stayed into middle age. “Hey,” he nodded, all laid back, crunchy granola, and mid-western American.
“Happy New Year,” she said.
The Australian smiled. “Happy New Year.”
“Yeah, hey, Happy New Year,” Hippy Dude nodded.
“What floor?” she asked, amused.
“Me too,” she said and poked the button, oddly thrilled to be in the same elevator with a hung over Aussie and his mate.
She’d lived in so many places, in different countries, but spent her life fascinated with the Land Down Under, and she wondered why an Australian would choose to come from a sub-tropical paradise to a southeastern Ohio university town in the middle of a blizzard.
Outside, where the snow was piled up 3 or four feet high, was a good twenty-below. Inside the elevator, which moved with the speed of a sloth, was balmy. The trio rode to the third floor, unwrapping scarves and unzipping coats. She exited first and took a few steps before realizing the two men were behind her, heading for the same common room.
“Are you in here too?” The Australian asked, pointing down a corridor. “I’m down that way.”
“I’m that way,” she pointed down the other corridor and extended her hand. “I’m Sandra.”
He told her his name and took her hand. And it was as if she’d held a live sparkler in her hand, one that burned and sizzled and lit up the room in a shower of sparks. That’s when she knew her life was about to change and the unexplained fascination she had with a country she’d never been to, but knew all about, suddenly made sense. It had all been leading to this, to him.
They both forgot all about the Hippy and started talking there in the common room. They talked for hours despite his obvious New Year’s Day hang over. He wasn’t just Australian, he was Sicilian. He’d never seen snow in his life. He’d been at a huge New Year’s Eve bash the night before and rode back to Hippy’s house in the back of a snow-filled pick up truck. He was there to work on his PhD. They talked and talked. They talked the next day, and the day after that, and day after that too.
Two years later she went to Australia and married the man whose eyes were brown buttons of melted chocolate that made him seem like a giant cookie. Their life has been tasty and blizzard-free since then.
Sandra Antonelli grew up in Europe, but comes from the land Down Under. She prefers peanut butter to Vegemite, drives a little Italian car, lives in a little house with a little peanut butter-loving dog, and is married to a big, bearded Sicilian. When she’s not writing, Sandra can be found at the movies, drinking coffee, or eating cookies.
For Your Eyes Only, Sandra’s latest novel is a smart-talking, quip-cracking, pop-culture addicted romance for grown ups.