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Monday, July 29, 2013

Part Secondi

The train left early the next morning.  With not much sleep we headed out for Naples, Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast.

I couldn't stop thinking about Basem.  I couldn't stop thinking about our conversations, the unlikihood of our meeting and the even further unliklihood of someone seeing right through me. Granted I had a lot of time to think and that's naturally where my mind wandered. Farah and I proceed to have an amazing time traveling, exploring, eating, relaxing and doing all things vacation related.  As they days went on I thought about him less, but when I was fully left to my own thoughts and no distraction I thought about him.

About mid way through our stay on the farm Farah asked if I wanted to meet in Rome after she'd gone to see other places up north.  I, of course, thought perfect!  I'll go back a few days early and see if I can connect with Basem.

It was time to leave the farm and head back into Rome.  I took an early train in to give me a few hours to explore the city.  Independent of this unlikely romance, I truly fell in love with the city itself.  I wanted time to explore the city on my own, turning down whatever street intrigued me, stopping where I wanted to stop, shopping in the stores that caught my eye.

After getting into Rome, I got settled into hotel and headed out to explore. And by explore I really mean I b-lined it for the gelato place.  Close to the restaurant, I all of a sudden got really nervous.  What if he didn't want to see me?  Would he even remember me? It had been two weeks, who knows what happened during that time. I stopped by the restaurant and was greeted with closed doors and a dark restaurant.  But I had a feeling. I can't explain it but I just knew he was there.  So I peered into the restaurant a little closer, and there, sitting in the dark, was Basem.

The look of confusion and disbelief on his face was endearing and he came open the door.  He offered some wine and we sat drinking and chatting about vacation and the last two weeks.  The conversations comes to a natural lull and he gets up and goes behind the bar, for whatever reason.   I could hear him walk back.   Before I could figure out what was happening I feel him behind me, arms around me, kisses on my neck and before you know it I'm on my feet and we picked up right where we left off, but with the enthusiasm of hormonal teenagers.  Chairs, silverware, dishware, tables were mere obstacles that got pushed out of the way. Back up against the bar, the only think I could think of is that I am making out with an italian dreamboat in the dark of a restaurant in middle of the day in Rome.  Like one does.

As time goes by, things heat up and I eventually have to cool his jets which would last for a few minutes until we were back at it again.  Serious...those Italians know how to love.  Taking a real break of the activity at hand we straightened up the restaurant, and put away the desserts that had just arrived from Napoli (and maybe had one or two). It was nearing the time before he had to open the restaurant for the evening so he walked me back to hotel, holding hands, kissing, just like we left off two weeks prior.  When he dropped me off I assured him Farah and I would come by for her last meal in Rome.

Here's where I overshare:  I am the one person who travels and doesn't pack protection. It just didn't cross my mind. Also, I of course am a part of the 3-5% of the population that is allergic to latex, which adds to the complexity of buying protection. So I'd like you to imagine trying to find latex free condoms in a  Roman Catholic country.  Process that.  So should the situation arise again where something could happen, I wanted to at least be prepared.  To prepare I have a very dear friend in the US and the translator of friends doing some reconn on how exactly I'm suppose to track down the necessary goods.  In the end of have 3 photos and a text of how exactly what I need to find. But don't you worry, protection was procured.

Farah and I went back to the restaurant for her last meal in Rome.  We sat at the end chatted about the trip. She ordered the risotto, I had the fettucini bologenese (which I'd been craving for weeks). A fairly uneventful dinner, and once Basem closed the restaurant we went for gelato one last time.  As we walked and ate I remember feeling that it was all coming to an end and feeling like there was nothing more I wanted than to figure out how to not go back.

We walked Farah back to the hotel and then we went on our way.  Its funny how we didn't have to say much and we both knew what was next.

This is where I stop with the details.  The internet is not the space for me to go in to these details so I'll end Act 3 by saying that there is a point in life when you let your guard down, resign to living a life a love.  That moment happened this night.

Want the nitty gritty details?...ask Farah.

Act 4
I had promised Basem to come by the restaurant during the day's break and that evening for dinner.  We hung out during the afternoon just chatting and laughing.  I went back that night for my last meal.  I sat at the end again and spent most of the time writing.  I ordered the spaghetti alla carbonara (which was exquisite) sipped on wine and really tried to not think about vacation coming to an end.

When the shift ended he asked what I wanted to do and the reality was that I really just wanted to spend time walking and talking to him.  He asked where I wanted to go and knowing that the Colloseo is his favorite place in Rome, I told him I wanted to go there with him. Keep in mind this is about the furtherest you could walk from wherer we were, but he didn't care.  As we walked we talked and laughed and made out (I'm getting really good at this triple combo by the way).  It was a summer's night in Rome and I strolling arm in arm head over heels for an Italian stallion.

By the time we got to the Colloseo, reality soon set it.  This was over. It was 3 am and I had to leave for the airport in 4 hours.  Unlike anything that happens in real life but instead this hollywood rom-com, we began walking back and it starts to rain.  Not drizzle but large raindrops that begin to soak us.  It didn't stop us from making out, in fact it only added to the romance more.  It rained harder, our clothes began to stick to us and the drops began to soak my hair and run down my face.

On that warm summer night, each step we took toward the hotel was a step closer to reality.  He asked me if I was ok.  He knew something was off. I said no.  He asked if I was nervous.  I said something like that.  We reached the steps of the hotel I was knocking on reality's door.  We stood face to face and all I could do was let him wipe away the tears that had started to fall.  He told me he could wipe away my tears for the rest of my life but only I could make them stop by finding the good in everything.  (Seriously, who is this guy?)

Earlier in the day I had written him a note on the back of a postcard of the Colloseo just expressing my gratitude for him who he was and the time we had. I thanked him for how he made me believe in love again and how he made me feel beautiful in my own unmake-uped, clothesless skin.  On the note I left my email and phone number.  As I handed him the card, he told me he'd never forget me and gave me the most gentle kiss. 

Then in true hollywood fashion, rain still falling, after the gentle sweet kiss, (insert crescendoing music) he pushed me up against the door and gave me a true good-bye, knee buckling kiss that seemed to last not long enough.  And with that, he said, "buona notte, bella," and walked away.

(PS. I'm crying as I write this, clearly I'm hormonal.).

Just like that. He walked away.  I walked into the hotel up the 4 long flights of stairs to my room while very sad, so incredibly in love with love. 

The next day I headed home.  Each step I took, each train ride, walk through the airport terminals, boarding a plane, touch down of the landing gear, I told myself you can still go back.   By the time I got to Amsterdam I stood at the connecting flight ticket counter and really thought about going back. 

When the flight landed in Seattle, to my own surpirse I had gotten on the plane home.

I'm home now, have been for a few weeks.  That Saturday after I landed, much to my surprise, my phone rang and it was him. It was 5 am and I didnt care. We've talked and texted over the past couple weeks since being home.  It's been a week now and despite my efforts to reach out to him its been radio silence.  I think reality is setting in and my heart hurts.  The hopeless romantic in me was holding on to a vacation fantasy.  But I'll still say, and keep alive as long as I can its that I'm still head over heals in love with love.  I'm in love with friends, with the strangers I pass, with who I am, with the food I taste, the sun I feel, with my body, all boiling down to being in love with love.   

For that, I will be forever grateful to have had fallen in love with a silver chain wearing, cigarette smoking, swagger walking, Egyptian Italian man who taught me more about myself and love in 4 days than I ever could have learned without meeting him. 

Grazie amore mio.  sei baci.


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