Monday, December 05, 2005

because, most of the time, I know how to protect myself

Winter, 1973. I am done with college. I need to leave New York. My work is complete.

I rent a room in a farmer’s house in the mountains of Italy. I want my sociology male-friend to come visit, but he cannot disentangle himself. I want my college girlfriend to visit, but she cannot disentangle herself. I am lonely. I take the train to Venice. Once. Twice. Three times. Ten times. It is February, then March. The Venetian b&b owner knows that I am lonely. He reaches for me, there in his own house, with his son and wife in the floors above. I have studied the language, I know how to say no. I push him away and go out in the drizzly Venetian March air.

I am there again, years later when I travel back to Venice with my family – two little girls and a husband. We need a room. Behind the desk, the adult son looks at me blankly. I want to say “ call your dad – he’ll remember me.” I know he will remember me. But I refrain. We find another b&b. Better. Without the layers.