So today was the original day I was supposed to come home, as well as the one year anniversary of my leaving Boston for Florida to prepare for my move to Genova.
There are a lot of things I feel about that, which will be difficult to express for me. I’ll try.
I miss Genova, in some ways, ferociously. Continue reading
(Ed. note: I cheated a little bit. The title of the piece notwithstanding, I wrote it Sunday and waited till today to publish it. But the spirit remains.)
M is a waiter and bartender at my favorite wine bar/restaurant/bookstore anywhere, the Nouvelle Vague here in Genova. I’ve been going there for six years now, and loving it more and more every time. It’s an oasis of relaxation, comfort, good décor and kindness underneath the city, a subterranean affirmation of what’s good.
July was a crazy month; I was traveling either with my mother or for work for the bulk of the time. And towards the end of the month I changed my ticket home: I’m now leaving Italy in less than a week.
This will be a busy time (and a pensive one, and a little sad for varied reasons, some of which I’ll get into soon), but I hope to wrap up this project in a way that feels right to me. Meanwhile, this is a listy entry of sorts that I was working on for the first week and a half of July on my iPhone, as I traveled through the Riviera, to Positano, into Rome, and up to Milan.
Today I got a note from a dear friend. And I at once loved the sentiment, and was hugely stressed out by it.
In part it read,
I understand that you want to get as far away from Genoa as possible and as quickly as you can but it seems such a pity to spend the rest of your time here with so much negativity. It’s like you’re not living at all, you’re just treading water to stop yourself from drowning when you could swim to the shore and celebrate your feat!
I read that note and it was like struggling to lift a weight that was beyond me. Lately I’ve been hearing some things from friends and acquaintances that leave me conflicted. The message is, essentially, your experience can’t possibly be as bad as you’re making it seem, so stop complaining and be happy.
Tonight I’m thinking a lot about the mystery lady behind Dear Sugar, over at the Rumpus. I love her columns for many reasons, but one of the things she does most deftly is, with nurturing and infinite compassion, to force people to look directly at how they’re getting in the way of their own grace. (Life would be too easy if we didn’t interfere with our own happiness, I suppose.)
I just finished talking with a friend who’s having a bit of a tough time in love. She’s married in name only, and has been separated in house “for the children.”
While 90% of the time that seems to be another name for personal inertia, she and her still-husband have done a lot of work disentangling their lives and their resentments from each other, and are in fact succeeding at being great co-parents even as their partnership is laid to rest. In the meantime, she rediscovered another man from her past, also in an unhappy marriage, and they rekindled a long-distance romance.
I ranged far and wide in the month of May – by car, train, and plane I covered nearly six thousand miles. There was an immensely cheering freedom in going so far, so fast. And now I’m intrigued by the opposite phenomenon that set in every time I got back to Genova: isolation, hermitude, protection.
Airports have been slept in, bartenders have been flirted with, exes have become friends, and strangers no longer scare me. I borrowed dogs, drove in Europe for the first time, lowered my standards of cleanliness where sleeping spaces are concerned, and (oddly) was offered multiple jobs. Most uncharacteristically of all for me, I put photographs of myself in a swimsuit on the internet. And I like them.