If not now, when?

One American woman. Twenty acres and a 1650 farmhouse in Tuscany. Random introspection and hilarity, depending on the day.

13 August 2006

Baby don't you break my heart slow

So, you've seen "Under the Tuscan Sun."

(I make this assumption, by the way, because EVERY random stranger I run into who discovers that I live in Italy makes the completely asinine observation, "oooh, just like Under the Tuscan Sun!")

You know the scene where she meets the guy, has the whirlwind romance, then leaves only to return and find that maybe "he just wasn't that into her"?

That's the classic American Girl/Italian Boy ill-fated summer romance story. He wines and dines and kisses her, her heart runs away with her head, and she believes there's more there than there is. When she returns, he's in someone else's arms.

And every now and again, the story goes the opposite way.

He was beautiful and kind, with eyes you could get lost in and curly salt-and-pepper hair. They met at a classical music concert. He spoke (absolutely) no English. He seemed to understand her still-somewhat-broken Italian. He took pains to help her with verbs. For the entirety of a week, they were inseparable. He whipped up amazing pastas in her kitchen. They watched the full moon rise together, drinking much too much Brunello. They broke wine glasses and laughed. He read her palm and told her mysteriously to be careful of her ankles. He called her "bella," often, touching her cheek as if she were a porcelain doll. He read to her from persian philosophy books, in Italian, taking pains to explain the allegories when she didn't understand. It was by all measures the perfect first week of a relationship.

He insisted on driving her the two and a half hours to the Rome airport when she had to leave. She said she would send postcards, and she did. He sent text messages, full of kisses and wishes.

And towards the end of the summer, she returns. Only, it's not the same.

Because she has realized:

That it's sexy to be talked to in Italian, but not so much to feel like you're not actually communicating meaningfully.

That kisses should feel more like the opening act of a ballet and less like the opening shots in a battle.

The importance of a shared reality.

That her life's rules exist for a reason.

That the game really can change overnight.

That drawing something out when you know it's going nowhere is the worst combination of cruel and lazy.

That sometimes the fairytale doesn't look like you expected it might.

The difference between Mr. Right Now and Mr. Right.

And precisely two full moons later, she makes her own pasta, opens herself a bottle of wine, and drinks a toast in the solitude of the waning summer sunlight. To waiting for Mr. Right. And she quietly hopes that the socialized Italian medicine system has effective treatments for a broken heart.

He'll bounce back. It's what Italians do.
And she ... she will practice being alone but not lonely. It seems to be what she does best.


Blogger Ms Adventures in Italy said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:53 PM  
Blogger JoJo said...

"Alone but not lonely"...you could be quoting me right now. I've found that the best times are those where you're in love with yourself. Once that happens, Mr. Right somehow plops down at your table.

12:01 AM  
Blogger ElleStarr said...

on a good day we can see that this stuff makes us into more, and on a bad day it just makes us drink more (or in my case it makes my stomach hurt more, which makes me wish I could drink more but can't). PS How do I make olive oil popcorn? That sounds like sex in a bowl.

12:43 AM  
Blogger Ms. M said...

So well said. All of the realizations are oh so true. This I say as I send my ex in Italy a card full of pictures from two years ago (he asked!).

1:07 AM  
Blogger Cupcake said...

The thing about going back is that you cannot go until you are ready for the answer. It stinks and I'm sorry the salt and pepper curly haired "bella" man is not That Guy.

I'm rooting for you, for what that's worth.

[As an aside: I respectfully disagree with jojo. In my experience, they don't come a'running just because you are secure with yourself, not looking, and all that other merda. They come when THEY are ready and not a minute sooner, the little bastards.]

1:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're killing me!! I know where you are with that. Sometimes we have to let the good ones get away...on purpose.

When are you heading up here for a visit?

--Ms. Adventures in Italy

3:30 AM  
Blogger Viaggiatore said...

Well said, all. It's nice to hear from you.

Ever had one of those days? Where you wake up, and it takes every ounce of energy in your soul to just keep putting one foot in front of the other?

When doing the right thing is the hardest thing of all?

Cupcake, you're right on: you can't ask the question until you're ready for the answer.

And then, you see, getting the answer and doing something about it are two very, very different things. It's the doing that's hard.

Yeah, there's that ole' cliche: "if you love someone set them free."

And sometimes the someone is yourself.

And the thought catches in your throat. And you sit. Suspended in mid air at the top of the biggest hill on the roller coaster of your life.

Buckle up, kids.

It's gonna be a bumpy ride.

3:00 PM  
Blogger Cupcake said...

Usually when I've gotten that dreaded answer, I've had no choice in how I respond. Yes, you can always fight against everything that makes you you, but that's not much of a response, is it?

The heart of the matter is that doing the right thing sucks 95% of the time. The devil takes a pleasing shape, as it were, and it's a lot easier to say "yes" than "no." Misbehaving beats behaving by a country mile.

Just remember, though: you may be suspended in mid-air, but there are plenty who would catch you before letting you fly off the rails.

11:40 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

If wine doesn'[t fdo the trick, we have gool ole gen-u-wine Kentucky bourbon (100 proof) to help with the numbing process...

9:54 AM  
Blogger Judith in Umbria said...

Availability sure has its charms! OTH, some things might be worth getting better at Italian for?
Has anybody noticed that Italians often go together for years, even decades, before doing the permanent thing?
I am convinced there is no "the one" but many "doables." You just have to figure out your personal "won't go theres." It has always been the impossibles that made my heart go pitty pat. I'm with Aretha and if I get R-E-S-P-E-C-T I can figure out how to deal with a lot of other things. There isn't that much around, at least of the 4 C quality I require.

12:28 PM  
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11:59 AM  

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