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The Italian Man

Updated: Aug 9, 2021

I’m sitting at the train station, waiting for the next one to arrive as I just missed the last one to go to work. People are either on their phones with headphones on or standing staring off into the trees. The same lady at the front counter repeats punching in buttons and prints out train tickets. “Round trip?” She always asks.

The commute to work is insane. On a good day when public transportation is working and everything is on time, it takes an hour. Typically it takes an hour and a half, one way. All these folks around me do the same commute, every day. “It’s not like this in Europe”, I think to myself.

I reminisce when I studied abroad in Florence Italy and how I didn’t mind waiting for the trains there. At least I was looking forward to where I was going. That was when all I had to worry about was graduating from college. Just make it through the year, get my degree, and start my career.

In Florence every morning, I would go to the local cafe, order a chocolate crescent with a cappuccino and three sugars. Go to class for half the day and sight-see the other half of the day. The wine was cheaper than water and we (my American roommates from different colleges) would drink a lot. We would go to the clubs (or as my mom calls it, the discotech), and buy bottles and boxes of wine.

All girls, we would gossip about guys and how “catcalling” here is acceptable. It’s nice to get noticed and get attention. Even if it was the wrong attention.

I remember one night, my roommate and I met two guys and one was very fond of me. He spoke English well and understood that I was studying abroad. “Oh, another American slut”, I’m sure he thought. It didn’t help the American girls before us were very promiscuous. We hung out at the club until 3 am and he made it clear he wanted to see me again, but alone. He suggests coming over to the apartment where I and the 5 other girls were staying but to come back during lunch time when no one was around.

I never met a guy that was so straight forward like this before. This could be dangerous. I was conflicted because maybe it would be adventurous to sleep with an Italian man while studying abroad. Maybe it would be like the movies where the guy and girl fall in love, have a happy life together, with little Italian babies. When in reality I’m in America and he is in Italy. Or it could be bad and he could be a rapist. He would know where I’m staying and I would be putting my roommates in danger. He could kill me. Was this guy worth all these questions and possible outcomes?

I told him I would meet in a public place around noon the next day. I never told him where I was staying but that I was near the Basilica and we would walk to the apartment together.

I’m out with my friends for lunch, it’s way past noon now, and I’m nowhere near the Basilica. I received text messages, calls, and a nasty voicemail from him because I was late. I called him back and told him I wasn’t coming. He said how much of a waste of time I was and cursed me in Italian.

I didn’t feel bad, especially after that reaction. When I was with him I was drinking but when I had a clear head, I realized what I was doing wasn’t smart at all.

There are so many incidents where people make decisions they later regret when drinking or drunk. Some which they can’t remember and I think that’s the scariest. Where you have to ask your friends the next morning, “What happened last night?”.

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