Greetings From Italy; Wish You Weren’t Here 1


You’re everywhere, you know.


I saw you today on the Ponte Vecchio. You were kissing your wife on the forehead and scooping your baby boy from her arms to help free her hands so she could get something from her purse. I wondered how many times you had cheated on her and with how many women and if she knew and if she wished she didn’t and if you were sorry and if you were going to do it again anyways.

I heard you later comforting your wife when she couldn’t find one of her shopping bags and was obviously very anxious and probably overreacting and starting to snap at you. You were calm and patient and kind, and I saw how you were able to stay so outwardly loving because you had checked out completely and in your mind you were falling asleep next to a woman who didn’t know you or trust you enough to reveal the ugly parts of her yet, and so you both pretended that she had none and that you were strong and deserved a life of no ugly parts.

Every breath I took smelled like my face was buried in your chest. Too many nights of sleep and sweat and laundry detergent wrapping us up in into a blurred scent that can’t be untangled. I bought a new dress so that it didn’t smell like you. Like us. Then I smelled you on my own skin.

Then again you sat at the table across from me while Nicole and I ate pizza on the steps of the piazza. This time you saw me too and looked at me like you were undressing me with your eyes while your cute, young girlfriend was turned talking to a friend. On some level of consciousness you weighed the benefits of staying with her or trying to sleep with me… or deciding to do both. I wondered how many times I had been the cute, young girlfriend who had no idea she was holding your hand while at that same moment you were calculating just how far you could test my love.

I felt like I was being choked from inside my own body when I felt you reach back to grab my hand at the market. You were leading me through the crowds at the Pikes Place market in Seattle after your graduation, and I was aware of how safe and excited and in love I was then and how terrified and confused and in love I am now. I pretended the smell of the meats made me sick and walked out so I could catch my breath. It’s been a few hours but I’m sure any minute now I’ll catch it.

So I tried eating gelato. Tried another bite of pizza. Tried smoking. Tried drinking Prosecco and espresso and wine until my last safe sense became overloaded and didn’t have room for you to show up unannounced and uninvited.

But now the room spins and the clock spins and world spins and yet here you still are.

Everywhere.


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