Thursday, March 26, 2015

Edges

Stephanie's next door neighbor stopped playing the piano a week ago. I knocked on his door, a pretty girl in a soccer jersey and hipster panties opened, her ebony hair a velvet skyfall. These are the sort of things that strengthen my sense of abandonment.

Her father is nothing like mine. Some days are better than others but it's not true what they say, that it gets easier with time. The sudden rushes of pain are exactly alike, just not as predictable as they used to be. Little things keep reminding me: a newspaper headline, black cotton socks, the smell of smoke and cinnamon.

They used to tell me that as long as I remembered him he would never be gone, until they didn't. I grew up faster than I had to and the stories quickly changed. Every illusion I ever had was shattered along the way, except for one. It's the air that keeps me breathing, the reason why I still force myself to go on.




























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Saturday, March 21, 2015

From the shadows

I remember him as if from a film, Stephanie's father with his sculpted marble face and navy pinstriped Canali suits. He lives at the Hassler but comes to us every morning with sweet chocolate biscuits and spiked coffee. They speak to each other in Italian, she interrupts him when he starts talking about me: "babbo, she understands your creepy Sicilian accent."

LA is just two years ago. Two years and a lifetime. Images from then are out of focus, things I recall might never actually have happened. I can see their house and the garden stretched out in front of me but I can't remember the smell of the magnolias. I can picture her mother lying motionless on a wooden recliner by the pool, but not the color of her wrinkled skin.

Her father looks at me with a crooked smile, then turns to her and puts his heavy hand on hers. "Amore" he says, "sono sempre stato un gentiluomo. È l'unica certezza che ho."




























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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Lungomare

The morning after and a single sentence text message from Henry: "I feel so close to you when we're apart". I can't remember calling him, maybe in a dream or a fantasy.

Later on the train we watch Rome pass us by in torn shades of yellow, orange and red. First the churches, then the post-war suburbs and the poverty. Stephanie leaning silently against my shoulder, her soft chestnut hair smells of early spring and cigarettes. "Do you ever miss LA?" she asks and I'm lying when I tell her that I don't.

The ocean looks like a painting in Mediterranean blue, the afternoon haze makes it hard to tell where it ends and the sky begins. I've always felt calmer by the sea, as if nothing and no one is holding me back. For the longest time I thought it would end that way.





























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Friday, March 13, 2015

Come to me baby

I don't know why the Friday wine tastes better than all others but it does, and I don't even work on weekdays.

Stephanie comes back from whatever it is she does, I'm three glasses ahead of her and wearing my most seductive shade of Chanel Rouge Allure lipstick (98 Coromandel). Her father is coming on Tuesday, it's all she talks about.

Tomorrow we're going to the ocean. I haven't seen it since Miramar last summer and it could just as well have been a lifetime. I often dream of late nights and early mornings on Venice Beach, long after sunset, our bare feet in the cold sand, waves crashing in like thunder. Hearts racing from the alcohol and the opium, a small crowd of friends and him beside me like an electric current in the grayish dark.



























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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Protection

Rome on lazy Sundays reminds me of mother. The languid elegance, slowly melting over multiple layers of times gone by. I haven't spoken to her in months, sometimes I think I've forgotten what she looks like.

And my sweet, innocent Stephanie. It took her 15 years to realize that her family wasn't like most others. Us watching The Godfather in her room in LA, drinking Anisette in our black bikinis when suddenly she stops in a cat-like movement. "My sister had a wedding just like that" she says. "They live in Sicily now, her husband owns a shipping company".

She loves her father but never asks about mine. "He's coming to visit soon" she says, "will you stay?" I remember the first time I met him, his pinstripe suit and subtle Armani cologne. He asked me to look after his daughter because she had chosen me to be her friend and I promised him that I always would.























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