Monday, February 8, 2010

Daughters, Students, Friends, Lovers.

All the men in my life are inordinately worried about me being over here. My father keeps telling me to “have fun” like I’m not already eating the best food of my life or working my way through a bottle of wine that I buy completely legally, free and clear, every other night. A favorite professor sent me a very comforting email about how the initial “initiation” phase in Italy can be very tough, but I’ll get through it, fine. Geoff, if he had had the time before I left, wanted to string together all the empty .38 shells from our afternoon at the shooting range and make a necklace for me so no one would fuck with me when I was out and about. Twanthony writes me wordy and hilariously, disturbingly violent weekly emails from home about what’s going on at work, who he wants to lay waste to and why, and to keep up with my adventures in his native land. Robin and the boys upstairs walk with me, even in broad daylight, right up to the front door, as if I could be whisked away somewhere in the 100 feet between the corner and front stoop. And after the first night I almost called you as I did it to have someone to walk me home over the phone from across the Atlantic, I re-thought it and realized I won’t dare tell you that I do the 20 minute walk home from my late-night class in the south end of the city to my apartment in the north end alone, because after the multitude of “be safe”s and “come back soon”s and the rest of the unspoken worry that nested somewhere between your guarded eyes and furrowed eyebrows, I would not put it past you to pitch an unholy fit and start developing the beginnings of an ulcer.

“Be safe” seems to be the rallying cry of all the important men in my life right now.

This is all I can say to you: I am fine. Stop worrying—not all the way, but enough to just know that I am enjoying myself here, and being as safe as I can be, and I will do all that I can to return myself back state-side in one piece, save for some liver damage from all the good vino and home-made liquor and about half a lung less than I started out with—both self-damaged and from the unavoidable second-hand smoke. The women here like me because I am up-front and assured while still being polite. The men, so far, are a little mystified at an American girl who looks them straight in the face and doesn’t play coy or seem to overly want their attention. Eh. They’re pretty, alright, a collectively beautiful people, but too clingy and a little too poetic for my tastes. “We be together tonight?” is not in my registered vocabulary at the moment. This is not to say I mind the occasional familiar heavy lean against me while seated, or hand on my hip or arm around my waist. These things are as reassuring and informally intimate as hearing an old friend’s voice, or a firm handshake. But I don’t have time for broken English or flowery Italian. Give me my American boys and an intelligent and fully comprehendible conversation, and call me a happy girl.

So. I’m being safe. I’m having fun. Short of saying “I would live here,” I hope it gets the point across. And rest assured, I worry just as much about you all being there, and me being here. I can’t wait to see you again.

There. Properly satisfied? Are we clear? Are you a little less nervous? A little more soothed that I am not running off with random Italian counts to their villas in Tuscany? (Though, I have not yet actually met a count. If I do, the game might change.)


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