I continued the therapy sessions. No matter what exercises I did, my left hand did not progress. I had to face reality. I spoke to my parents. With the realization that I may not regain use of it, we decided to get a computer with speech recognition. My mind was clear. I wanted to write again.
The therapist thought that would be a great idea. It would give me new responsibilities and help occupy my mind. Instead of focusing on having no use of my hand, I could focus on writing with my voice.
Within a week, mom and dad set up an office that fit my needs. They purchased a computer with speech recognition. I had contacted the newspaper, and they had agreed to let me write for them. I was thrilled. Even though, it was not a full time position, I was happy to write, again. The newspaper had agreed that I could work from my home office. All communication would be by phone and emails.
It took me a few days to get acquainted with the new computer system. I would get frustrated when the software would write the words wrong. I, desperately, tried to retype over it with one hand.
Per the therapist, I would place my left hand on the keyboard, and tried to send signals to the fingers. This was to no avail. At times, I could feel and see them move. I gave up on that and relied on the voice recognition.
After a couple of weeks of trial and error, I was able to master the new program. I would speak the words, and any errors, I could correct with the program itself. The software could understand voice commands. I could speak the commands: enter, delete, backspace, tab, and any other common to a keyboard. I was in writing heaven.
I was putting together city events and writing them for the “What is happening in our city” Column. It was the best feeling. The simple column kept my mind occupied and gave me a sense of belonging. I felt whole. I felt like my future was getting brighter by the day.
Arturo and I continued our daily conversations. I was hesitant, but with time, he was helping me get through my preoccupations, my lack of trust, and my insecurities. He was patient, kind, and gentle. He spoke with ease and showed concern and understanding.
The time had come for me to face the consequences and agreed to let him see me. This would be a true test.
I spoke to mom and asked her to plan a dinner for Arturo and his parents to come over to the house. I did not want to be alone with him, and figured a dinner party would be less intimate. Mariana and Gerardo had visited multiple times and had seen me plenty of times.
By now, both families knew that Arturo and I were talking and that we had an interest in each other. Both families were supportive and had helped in the process. Of course, Antonio, had played cupid, and made it possible for us to start talking again.
Mom called Mariana and set up the date. Dinner would be the next Saturday. That was just four days away. I was nervous.
“Mom, thank you for doing this for me. I am a nervous wreck. I know in my heart that Arturo will be fine with the way I look, but it is me that thinks otherwise.” I said.
“Genevieve, ever since I found out that Arturo loves you, I have no doubts. He has kept informed of every step of your ordeal. I have been in contact with him. He wants to be by your side. He has respected your pace. Believe me, sweetie, you do not need to worry.” Mom reassured me.
The four days had passed. It was Saturday. I felt like a kid waiting for Santa Claus. I got up that morning, and helped mom with the house chores. We went to the grocery store and picked out the items for dinner.
Mom had decided to make her famous Italian Lasagna. She used 5 types of cheeses, including, mozzarella, provolone, romano, parmesan, and ricotta. For meats, she included, ground top sirloin, and Italian sausage. The sauce had fresh mushrooms, green peppers, onions, yellow peppers, red peppers, zucchini, squash, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, and cut up fresh tomatoes.
We picked out salad items, and two loafs of Italian bread. She was going to make garlic bread. She added two bottles of red wine. For appetizer, she had decided to make stuffed mushrooms. I was salivating just thinking of the dinner menu.
After we were home, mom went straight to the kitchen and started on the sauce, it took her two hours to get it to simmer to perfection. The house had a fresh Italian aroma flying through.
Dad was in charge of cocktail drinks before dinner and coffee after dinner.
Antonio and I had taken the responsibility to set up the table, and any other details mom needed.
By four o’clock, I started to get ready. I went through my closet, and picked out a pair of long pants, and a long sleeve shirt. The pants were beige, and the shirt had beige and black stripes. The front had a V-cut. I picked out a nice necklace with black small beads, and earrings to match. Mom helped me style my hair. I continued to drape the hair over the left side of my face. The scar had diminished and had healed in a color that resembled my skin. It was noticeable, but not as obvious as it was before.
After I was ready, I started to feel butterflies in my stomach. The same kind I used to feel when I was a child, and found out that Arturo and his family were coming over to visit. I felt an enormous amount of jitters. Antonio noticed.
“Genevieve, it will all be fine. Do not worry.” Antonio stated.
“I am so anxious.” I said to him with a quivering smile.
I walked over to the kitchen. Both, mom and dad were there.
“Almost time, they should be here any minute.” I said to them.
“Yes, almost time.” Dad said.
“When they get here, we will go to the living room and have some cocktails first.” Mom added.
“Got it. Mom, dad. How do I look?” I asked.
Just as I said that, the doorbell rang. I jumped.
“They are here.” I exclaimed in excitement.