Chapter 2: Pranzo
Late morning in Positano, Doxie and Fabrizio are lounging on a big turkish towel surrounded by their pranzo feast.
Pranzo, or lunch, is one of the new words Doxie learned this morning when Fab picked her up from her private suite at Le Sireneuse with a daisy in his mouth for her and an invitation: pranzare con lui
The past two weeks have been the most beautiful two weeks of Doxie’s young life. Fabrizio and Doxie have fallen in love. It started that day when Sandro introduced them near the fishing boats after the big fight with Doxie’s person, Daphne.
Fabrizio and Doxie walked through the town exploring together until sundown that day. It was as if they’d known each other all their lives, and yet had so much to tell one another. I suppose in some cosmic way, their souls had known each other always, or at least had known that the mirror of itself existed since the beginning of time. It was natural that the two halves should meet and should share a walk through the quaint Italian town together.
As they walked she told him how she’d grown up in New York City - a place Fab had never been. And how Daphne dressed her in Goyard puppy collars and took her to Paris at least twice a year. She told him about all the fashion shows and the “blogger brunches” and about how Anna Wintour always gives her Figi water in a Tiffany’s basketweave bowl when they visit the Vogue offices.
He told her how he’d grown up with his person, Pietro a fisherman who delivers fish to Le Sireneuse and the other local hotels, right here in Positano. He sleeps outside on a little porch of their house that looks out at the ocean, beneath a lemon tree and rides on the boat in the early mornings with Pietro and watches the sunrise.
The two could not have been from more different worlds. She, a manhattanite through and through with a passport bursting with stamps and a closet of expensive puppy sweaters and he, the rough and tumble son of a fisherman who had never attended puppy training school but knew exactly how to steal porchetta from the local market. And yet, they were somehow much the same. Their tails wagged to the same rhythm of universal truth.
The days that followed were much the same. They’d explore the town together, walking and talking and getting into mischief. Since the big fight on the morning they’d first met, Doxie had refused to return to Daphne’s room and had requested her own suite. Daphne didn’t seem to mind, it gave her more time for boat trips and night clubs.
And now they were sitting on a secluded cliff looking out at the ocean enjoying a spread of the loveliest focaccia and olio di oliva and lots and lots of proscuitto é meloné and a nice Ligurian white wine.
Doxie thought to herself how very far away New York felt. How she never wanted to go back. She thought she could be happy forever, here, being with Fabrizio, even if it meant no more Celine puppy carrier or cashmere monogrammed puppy sweaters in the fall. If only they could stay on like this forever with long slow lazy days exploring together she knew she’d always be happy and never miss all that. But she knew this couldn’t be...
At that very moment Fabrizio seemed to be having the same thought. He asked in his adorable halting english, “When do you go away, mi amore?”
Her eyes welled up with tears as she admitted to him that Doxie and Daphne’s return flight would leave in only one day. New York Fashion Week began later that week and Daphne always returned just in time for the many social obligations she would have as soon as they landed.
Fabrizio couldn’t believe it. He was crushed. He too began to cry softly and their wet little noses touched softly as they wept over the olio di oliva, now too sad to finish their feast.
He looked out at the sea and then back at her with a new determined look in his eye. “”follow me princepessa” he ordered, scrambling to his paws and scampering off up the cliff. Doxie followed, sniffing back her tears. He led her up and up through winding streets with hairpin turns to a new part of town she’d never seen. Vespas buzzed past at lightning speeds, scaring Doxie half to death as she skittered along, tail between her legs in terror.
Up and up they climbed, past crumbling stone walls and groves of olive trees, darting between the legs of little old ladies who were tottering along with their baskets from the market and running side by side with a gang of wild barefoot children until they reached a little house tucked into a cliff.
Was this Fabrizio’s house!? Was he taking her to meet Pietro!? Doxie could hardly believe it, she was so excited to see the porch with the lemon tree that looked out at the ocean and to ask Pietro about all his fish and to truly know the good person who raised the pup she loved.
Just then, the door swung open and out popped... Sandro? Sandro lives here?
And then another man, almost as tall as Sandro, but tanner and strapping with more muscles, popped forth from the house as well and knelt down to let Fabrizio jump into his arms and pepper him with puppy kisses, while exclaiming in a big happy voice “Ciao mi ragazzo! Ciao ciao!”
Doxie watched, wagging her tail cautiously. Doxie began to wonder about Sandro and why he was there too... Sandro, the most handsome waiter in all of the staff at Le Sireneuse, was never spotted flirting with any of the female guests. This was part of the reason he was the longest standing member of the hotel restaurant staff, actually.
And what kind of Italian fisherman has a miniature dachshund? Aren’t Italian Fishermen rugged, tough, outdoorsmen who would surely prefer a larger dog breed? Unless...
Fabrizio has not one.... but two dads.
Suddenly it all made sense! How else would Sandro have known Fabrizio would be down in the little cover that morning waiting in the fishing boat?!
Doxie began wagging her tail wildly and ran to join the happy family. “We a wondered when you would a find out, principessa!” boomed Sandro, scooping her up and letting her climb up onto his strong shoulders to lick his cheeks. “This is a my boyfriend, Pietro! And this is our piccolo ragazzo, Fabrizio!”
Pietro and Sandro welcomed the puppies into their charming little house where they too had just finished a light lunch of proscuitto é meloné. The four settled down out on the porch by the lemon tree to admire the ocean while Fab and Doxie told the two about all the adventures they’d been on over the past two weeks. The men laughed heartily at their stories of sneaking into the market to steal porchetta.
Pietro and Sandro listened patiently, smiling to one another. And once the pups had finished regaling the couple about their adventures, Pietro clapped his hands together, his eyes filling with tears, and announced “Fabri you have a found your principessa!
Just then a cloud crossed over Fabrizio’s face as he remembered the reason for his visit. “But principessa, she leaves. Tomorrow, to New York...” he trailed off as Doxie burried her nose in his neck and wept quietly.
Pietro and Sandro began speaking to one another in rapid Italian. Finally Pietro threw up his hands and turned to Doxie and Fab. “There is a way... for the principessa to stay. It is the marriage. Fabrizio, do you love this principessa?” Sandro nodded seriously, “Si, principessa, it is the only way. By law of a the marriage, you and Fabrizio can stay toegether forever here”
Doxie’s heart lept into her mouth and her tail began wagging wildly. Fabrizio looked at her and then looked around at their tiny home, filled with drift wood and other things Pietro found at sea. He saw the tiny sofa with the lace doilies draped over the seat backs and the cross hanging above the kitchen door and Sandro’s nonna’s dusty cookbooks and copper pots stacked atop the stove that had boiled five generations of pasta water for Sandro’s family.
Surely Doxie would grow tired of this quaint lifestyle. Her Goyard collar was all wrong in this humble place. But she looked so happy, so sure. Her tail was practically about to rocket off the back of her body it was wagging so fast... she certainly seemed to love him and this place.
He gulped unsurely and looked up at Pietro and Sandro. They nodded their approval. Fabrizio turned back to Doxie who was standing expectantly before him.
He sat down on his hind legs, and then lowered his front legs too. Essentially kneeling before her as much as a pup can kneel. Looking up at her he said, “Ti amo, principessa, mi vuoi sposare?”
Doxie could hardly believe it. She hadn’t learned the verb sposare yet but she had a feeling she knew what it meant.
“Yes! Yes yes yes!” she yipped joyfully chasing her tail in a quick excited circle and then leaping into Fabrizio’s arms and kissing his snout as Pietro and Sandro simultaneously scooped up both pups into a family embrace.
Down below, walking along the cliffs, a middle-aged red haired woman was walking with a sobbing blonde girl with thin wild limbs like a baby horse. The girl was waving her arms as she told the red headed woman her plight.
As they passed below the little house with the lemon tree, they looked up to see the two men laughing and embracing with their squirming pups. It was a charming sight. A rare glimpse into the unguarded heart of the world. The woman pointed up to them and then patted the blonde girl on the arm.
“You’ll find that someday, Taylor” Julianne Moore said to the blonde gently. And then the two continued their stroll in silent reflection.
What happened next was a true Italian wedding frenzy. Sandro grabbed Doxie and whisked her away into the bathroom where he began washing her with lavender soap, brushing her coat and clipping her toe nails and whiskers. He washed each paw with a balm of olive oil and eucalyptus, perfectly polishing her nails until they shone like tiny black diamonds. While he worked he sang loudly the classic Dean Martin song “Volaaareeeee oh oh, Cantaaarreeee oh oh oh oh... nel blu, dipinto di blu...”
Meanwhile Pietro grabbed Fabrizio and said they were headed to see his cousin who was a jeweler. As they rushed out the door Pietro was yelling to a neighbor to go collect flowers and to prepare a wedding feast. Several children came rushing into the house followed by Sandro’s mamma and nonna who had apparently all been eves dropping the whole time.
All the relatives began talking at once with much wild gesticulation. Opinions were flying around and bouncing off the walls like the room was a pinball machine. A pot of espresso was burning on the stove and the nonna was calling everyone “stronzo”. Someone removed the goyard collar and tossed it aside and replaced it with a lace veil that fitted neatly onto Doxie’s little head and covered her now-lavender scented ears with delicate, antique lace.
And the frenzy came to a sudden hushed halt. They all stopped their wedding preparations to behold the tiny, quivering dachshund bride in the middle of the mêlée. She was so beautiful, so innocent, and so confused!
Nonna left the burnt espresso pot and came over to Doxie, wiping her hands on her apron as she approached. She knelt down before her and took Doxie’s snout in her warm hands and wispered into her ear, “perfetto!” And the room broke out again into joyful confused chatter as they all exclaimed over how lovely the young bride looked.
And then it was time. Time to go. Sandro offered Doxie his arm and she gingerly climbed up and onto his shoulders and off they went. He lept onto his vespa with doxie on the seat behind him and together they shot off down the winding road, back past the crumbling walls and the olive groves, zooming around other vespas, and nearly missing little old ladies walking with baskets of vegetables as Doxie’s veil fluttered on the breeze.
They arrived at the church in dramatic fashion as the vespa skidded to a halt, sending up a cloud of disgruntled pigeons flapping around the square. The barefoot little girls had followed the vespa to town after nonna had given them flower crowns to wear and one for Doxie too.
They gingerly placed the flowers atop her veil, and with stoic determination, filed into a line behind her, each taking a bit of her veil hem in their little fingers, prepared to be her ladies in waiting. She looked up at them nervously and then down the imposing aisle of the beautiful old church. Sandro took his place beside her, and they began to walk toward Fabrizio and Pietro.
The couple was united in holy matrimony in Chiesa Santa Maria Assunta that very day at high noon. The bride wore Sandro’s great great grandmother’s veil of Venetian lace and a floral crown of poppies, sprigs of lavendar and rosemary. The groom presented her with a diamond ring, a small estate piece in Pietro’s cousin’s store, which he had strung onto a smooth collar of italian leather for Doxie to wear around her neck.
As they trotted down the aisle and out of the church, all the children had gathered to toss rice on the couple as the bells rang out above the square and love was all around.