What you may find:

-If he says "If Not Later, When?" It's not about cowardice It's really about Hope. It's just that we are always caught "Zwischen Immer und Nie" (Between Always and Never)
So let his silence, somewhere in Italy in the mid-eighties, be a promise of a "Later" together.

Late Last Thought: Maybe promises you don't intend to keep is what love is really about ๐ŸŽ€