Sunday, August 19, 2018

Les nuits des Anglais

The casual contacts you have in a town like Nice. Stephanie and I are at La Merenda when suddenly this British M&A guy I met in Paris at Café de Flore once shows up as if from nowhere and offers me a drink. It's more than a year ago that I thought giving him my number was a good idea, but some people just refuse to forget the stupid things you do while drunk.

After more than a few Vesper Martinis I'm in his apartment on Rue de la Buffa, as soon as I mention growing up in LA he wants to watch Crash on his big screen TV. I tell him it's too close to home while the real reason is that I hate Sandra Bullock ever since she tried to sleep with my dad (before she was famous, obviously).

Instead he lets me go and I wander home, past the street performance on the Promenade. The night is warm and I know it will be at least until the end of August. When I get back home Stephanie is already asleep, her clothes scattered across the floor of our 5th floor room. I can see the Negresco from our balcony, thinking that maybe Henry is there, at his balcony, looking for me too.

Monday, August 13, 2018


High above the Promenade des Anglais and the sound of airplanes taking off from across the bay. We're at the Méridien with a bottle of rosé wine between us, the only thing I can drink before the end of the summer. Stephanie calmly puts down her lipstick-marked glass on the table, her polka dot Saint Laurent dress a mirage against the dark.

"I know why you keep going to new places", she says, a different kind of tone in her voice, one I can't say I've ever heard before. "I won't tell you what it is because you already know, but I want you to understand that I feel it too."

She lets the silence embrace us as we run out of oxygen to breathe. There are a million things she can say next but instead she holds back for a little too long, then looks up at me with a crooked smile that breaks my heart in two. "Either way", she giggles, "I just love making you speechless".

Friday, July 27, 2018

Une autre fois, mon amour

Every time I go to Rome I get a different feel for it, but I can never say that I love it. It's not pretty like Paris or grand like New York, but sometimes as vulgar as my childhood's LA.

Stephanie feels it too. "Let's go to Nice and get in trouble" she says, a sudden hint of madness in her emerald eyes. My only condition is that we stay away from Le Negresco, so she books the Westminster just for spite.

"Ocean view?" she asks as if she really means it like a question. I don't know how the two of us ever became friends.

Friday, July 20, 2018

For me to know

The first few days: I keep arriving at new places thinking it's just temporary, but somehow I always end up staying. Maybe my restlessness has limits after all. Stephanie doesn't complain, every time I see her it's as if nothing has happened since the last, as if nothing could ever come between us. Or perhaps we're just good at acting.

We have long lunches and dinners with her family at places I didn't know existed. They're open just for them, just for him. Never a menu, never any orders but we always get exactly what we want like it's been pre-written in stone.

I ask him if he lives in Rome to be close to the political power, i ladri di Roma. He laughs like at a clueless child.

"If you think politicians have the power," he says, "then, cara mia, you have a lot to learn about the catholic church".

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Lei fece un passo indietro

Out of the blue, Stephanie calls me on a Friday night, her voice a nightingale in my tired mind. "Come to Rome" she says, so here I am on her laptop at 1:30 AM, trying to make sense of all the Limoncellos and red wine we've shared somewhere deep in the alleys of Trastevere.

We talk about Santa Monica and Clare Waight Keller, about nothing and everything except Henry. She seems happy, I pretend I'm happy too and part of me really is, just by being close to her. It's funny how months and years can pass unnoticed until one day you're back in that exact same spot like nothing ever changed.

I remember her coat on the day when we first met, the secrets we shared and the autumn. It was all so different back then, we were other people with the same voids in our hearts. And here she is now, in her nightgown and powder pink panties, singing along to upbeat songs on the radio, just like she did when we were younger.