Staring Contests and the Time’s Agenda…

Posted on May 13, 2011


Dear Bacardi Breeze,

Today was by description of a “scorcher!” kind of day. Perhaps it was my bad decision to wear all black? I am learning that this HOT weather will be excruciatingly uncomfortable in the coming months. The upside is I am getting tan pretty fast! On the other hand when it is really warm it is nice to have a nice cold chick drink. Orange flavored with just enough rum to get me feeling the tingle below my sternum. I popped into a place called Take Ethno Food…”more than sushi” the window reads. I saw that they even had some messicano food so I tried for a mexican lunch. No such luck! Only served at dinner; lunch is all “take-away” and limited menu. The nice lady talked me into a cous-cous vegetable dish with some meat. I was pretty hot and wanted something cold to drink so that is how I landed on the cocktail mid day! I knew that I had to “work” later but what was one drink? Today was a rough day for many reasons but I can’t go into detail about that right now. I walked in the sunshine to find some shade to have my lunch. I sat in front of a place that had Carravaggio’s work that included a tour with entry. I was eager to see this famous artists collection but was let down when I learned that the tour was only every 30 minutes or so and the next was still twenty minutes away. 3pm was much to close to when I have to pick up the boys from school. This show is only here through the weekend so I asked if I could go to the last tour on Sunday when the parents return from Milan. Once I opened my “take-away” box I found a bright green toned piece of meat the size of a half a golf ball, some sweet potatoes, zucchini and lots of hot cous-cous. I didn’t dare try the meat, the color was enough to make me think twice. I think that the vegetables were a little over cooked but my Bacardi Breeze made everything taste better! I happily chugged my last drink of the now warming booze and was on my way to the school by foot. Never again will I wear ALL black during the daytime!

I met T just in time and once we got the children we headed back up hill towards home. Matteo saw someone with gelato so he wanted gelato. Tommaso saw pizza and wanted pizza. They never want the same anything! Luckily, the pizza place and gelato were right next door to one another. After Matteo finished half of his gelato he wanted pizza too. So I took him inside to order pizza. Pizza with just red sauce, his favorite. Each of us made a mess of our hands and T finished Matteo’s cone. I had a small piece with tiny tomatoes and an overdose of pepper and oregano. I like lots of spice so I was enjoying my choice. After we tried to clean our hands the best we could we headed home. I began to get that “nervous” feeling in my stomach knowing that pretty soon I was going to face Mickey. My plan was to show up at his work and confront him about giving my number to his friend and set him straight! I know that he is working extra hard and has no time so going to him was the answer. I didn’t want to “talk” on the phone after midnight I just wanted to put everything “out on the table” in person. As life is; life NEVER goes as planned…In my mind everything was over and done within the time frame of a single cigarette.

Once I fed the children and ate a little (nervous feeling intensified as the dark night crept in) and helped clear the table. I told the parents that I was going to “go out” for a short time since it was still such a nice night. It was a little past 8 when I stomped out of the house with my leather black boots and dress. I got a new dress a while back that I intended to wear for his birthday party over a month ago (that I was dis-invited to! Maybe not his words but I felt this way!) so I felt I should still wear it. I wanted to look hot but not like I tried to hard, which is not an easy thing to pull off but I think I did well with my natural make-up and cashmere hoodie to dress it down. My heart beat against my insides as I neared his work. Listening to my iPod remembering to breath was my focus. I was on the express 40 bus which only makes a few stops instead of like 50! Once on Via Nazionale I asked the driver, in Italian thank you, if the next stop was at the top of the street. I told me yes and I leaned in to thank him while the automatic door hit me in the head while it was closing. Smooth Lex, real smooth. I felt like a spaz. I stepped down from the bus directly across the street. In my mind I had no idea what I wanted to say exactly but knew that I would tell him that I came to him at work since I know that he is busy and I needed a minute to talk with him. I half hoped that I wouldn’t have to come down the steps to his restaurant and that he would already be standing outside smoking or inviting people on the streets so come in for dinner. I walked slowly across the street and yanked out my earbuds just as Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” started to play. Not now with that song! I took a deep breath and watched the new three tables full of people at his work. I had to go in. I stepped down the stairs and got to the last step just as he was coming from the kitchen. When he saw me he smiled and embraced me. I kissed him hello (cheeks!) and told him what I rehearsed in my head, yes I can admit that part. After my opening line I knew that he would start talking so I didn’t have to plan my next words, although in my head I wanted to lash out at him and tell him off, I remained calm and in control of the conversation. I made sure that he had “time” to speak with me and he said,”of course I do. Lets go outside.” After he handed me a cigarette he turned back to get another for himself. My heart was still pounding and I wondered how I got there. It is strange that time has its own agenda. Sometimes it passes so slowly that it is a bore and other times? So fast you forget what day it really is. After he asked me how I was doing  I told him that the reason I came was because I wanted to talk to him about giving my number out to his friend. He claims that he didn’t want to at all and “supposedly” wanted to call me just yesterday to talk about it. Sure. Sure. I was clear that I was not interested in his friend, to never give my number up again and that it was not ok with me. After I felt I said most of what I wanted to say I felt the need to leave. I was about to say goodbye when a couple came to the door to be seated. He told me to come and sit outside so we could talk more. I hesitated and told him that I should go. “Where do you have to be?” He demanded and pulled the chair out for me. Still nervous I sat down and felt my shoulders slump, as if I was defeated once again by this guy. I thought about making a dash to the bus when I saw it approaching and just cutting out without a word but that was too dramatic. It did cross my mind! He came back and asked me if I wanted red or white. What? Wine, he was offering me a glass of wine. I told myself that after that glass, that I would drink quickly, that I would really say goodbye and leave. I took two short sips and tried to think about what else I might want to say to him. In my mind I still was trying to figure out how I got there, why I felt so inclined to mouth off and desperately trying NOT to  notice how good that he looks still. Crisp white dress shirt, black tie and pants. Still perfect eyebrows and those damn green eyes….ughgh don’t look into his eyes! I stopped checking him out and cursed at my mind for thinking of him as I was. I gulped too much red and choked when two guys came by and asked for a table for two. It was his “son” and their friend, lets call him “Dan”. Dan introduced himself to me after I jumped up to kiss his son hello and ask how he was doing. They joined me at my table and then I felt like I was not going to be able to leave for sure. I still had a full glass of vino but Mickey came sauntering out smiling with a bottle and two more wine glasses. He introduced his friend Dan to me once more and poured us wine. I told him that I must go after we finish drinking and he offers to take me home. “I will take you home when I finish. Stay.” He tells me. I tell him that I didn’t plan on staying this long already and I don’t want to stay here until 2 in the morning waiting for him to get off! He assures me that it won’t be that late. Impossible to say no I just sip my wine and watch him cut across the street to talk to Elliot when he sees him. Elliot’s work is across the way and I look over my shoulder and wonder if they are talking about me? I learn that Dan speaks Greek ,Romanian, some Italian and English. We talked and half of my attention was on figuring out how to cut out before it got to late. I arrived around 9 and it was nearing 10. After 10:30 Dan wanted another bottle of wine. I sort of wanted to continue drinking but felt I had over stayed my welcome. I said no more for me and another co-worker of Mickey’s came to join us at our table. He was quite to witiful old man! He spoke to us and made us laugh about everything from Viagra (yes! He told us that he wanted to pop some and go to the club!) to encouraging us to “drink too much!” An older man passed by on the street playing the accordion for the tables outside. The Saints March was serenading us and I had a sad melancholy feeling for my grandparents. Soon as the song ended we applauded and tipped him. Dan joked that he must have phoned his friends because soon enough there was another two-man band, a black guy trying to sell us wood carvings, and the never-ending guys trying to sell single long stem roses. I think it is funny that the opening lines for people selling crap on the street is “for you is half-priced!” without even telling us the regular price. How are we supposed to know it is a good deal without knowing the price first hand? I think too much.

After Dan and Mickey’s son turn the flower guy away telling each one passing that I am their sister or their friends girlfriend and he would be mad. This is not true but again I am not interested in his friends! Dan assures me that Mickey spoke very highly of me and told him all about me. “Nothing bad; everything good…all good things about you. American, beautiful, and fun to be with” kind of compliments. Mickey brings another bottle and I am watching the clock and feeling a little buzz. This might be bad. Elliot and his friend drive by us sitting outside and greet us all with excitement. I think Elliot seeing me with Mickey was clear that he had no chance. We finish the second bottle once we are asked to move inside since they were closing. In my mind I am thinking of the first time that I came here with my good friend Texa and we stayed all of 4 hours and closed the restaurant with him. I ask myself what I am still doing there as I sit with all the guys in the restaurant. I excuse myself to go to the restroom and I have a self talk with my reflection about my limits. I won’t admit to him that I have missed him. I won’t admit that I still think about him. I will not kiss him tonight. I nod to my reflection and smile while shaking my head. I return to the table and Mickey has changed out of his work clothes in exchange for a stripped collared shirt and jeans. I hate that he still looks good. He motions for me to come join him in the back while he eats. I sit down, where I have sat with him in the past, and still it feels odd. I stares into my eyes and asks me how I am doing, what I have been doing and absent mindedly admits that he “checks” my Facebook page and has seen my photos. First telling me that he has seen my sister on a lot.  I tell him that I have been good and doing “whatever I feel like I want to do!” with a little attitude. The one thing that I really liked about him, that he always looks you straight in the eye when speaking with you, made me feel inferior at this moment. Especially when he adds in the slight wink with the left eye. Some people can pull off a wink and some people are just creepy about it. He is anything but creepy. I tried to remain tough and keep the conversation away from me. He tells me that he is leaving next week for a few days for a short trip. I tell him that I am leaving the following week as well for a few days. He tells me that we should try to see each other again before he leaves. I tell him it is probably unlikely. He looks hurt and furrows his perfectly shaped brows then asks, “you don’t want to see me?” I remind him that I came here to see him tonight. It is nearly 1am and after he finishes his dinner he asks me if I want to go with him to get his car. I grab  my purse and follow him up the stairs. We stomp through pavement and he tells me how far we are going. As we cross the streets he takes my hand and I let him. He motions for me to put my arm in his and walk with him every once in a while. This was a LONG walk. We catch a bus and he continues to have a staring contest with me. Never blinking he asks me what I am thinking about while leaning his head on my arm. I tell him I don’t know. He then asks if I think about him and I tell him that I TRY really hard NOT to. He tells me that he thinks about me a lot and wants to call but doesn’t. Thinking that I won’t want to talk with him and that it is always late, late at night. Once we get to his car he opens my door and I get in. I have never seen his car so filthy! He sees me eyeing it and judging and tells me that he has not had time to clean it! I laugh and change the subject. He brings it right back to “us.” “I miss you.” He tells me while dangerously staring into my eyes and approaching a red light. I tell him, “I know.” Instead of admitting I miss him back. We round the corner and the three guys are waiting for us to arrive. His car is meant for two, sometimes four but tonight holding five!? I offer to sit “bitch” since I am the smallest and laugh at Dan’s knees crunched to his chin behind the driver. I am the second person dropped off and soon as we get to my stairs at my house I get nervous about saying goodbye. The boys jump out announcing they have to pee and so I let them out. I push my passenger seat back to its normal position and lean in to say good night. I kiss each cheek (proper and appropriate in this situation) and he turns his head just enough that our lips meet. I back off immediately. What are we doing? He asks if we can see each other before he leaves and I tell him not to get my hopes up. His eyes look confused yet determined. I roll mine as I hear the boys coming back talking about drinking too much wine. I tell Mickey good night and say goodbye to the boys. I pull away for the last time and don’t let him kiss me kiss me


Posted in: When in Rome