Ciao, Bella

The score was tied 2-2 with time running out. My Azzurri had fought hard against the Reds from Santa Maria Novella. All of us, bodies broken, endured for the glory of our quartiere. Blood flowed freely from cuts above both my eyes and my busted nose. Vision impaired, I could only make out the faintest glimpse of La Angelo Belissima. With both hands I grabbed sand and covered my cuts, temporarily stopping the flow of blood until I could see Her completely. She did not seem frightened at the sight of so many men brutalizing each other; rather, see sat forward on Her bench, biting Her lip, drawn to the violence like Romulus and Remus to the she-wolf’s teet. I knew immediately I must have Her. But even more, at that very moment, I knew I fought not only for the honor of Santa Croce, but for you as well. “Giuseppe, Tommaso, form up on me, for today we die like men!” True to our training, Giuseppe went low on the corridori while Toma launched himself high, capsizing the poor Rossi into the dust. The ball flew out of his arms and I picked it up and ran. Ran towards the goal and towards you. A wall of datori awaited me, fists raised with blood in their eyes. Alessandro picked out the man on the furthest left while Carlo tackled the right flank. I hurtled headlong straight towards the two desperate Reds opposing me. I abruptly stopped, swept the legs out from under the first, but the second wrapped his arms around me and tried to drag me down. I looked up and saw your face again, and determined, I flung him off me, aimed, fired, scored. Azzurri wins.

After the match, while my comrades tended to their wounds and discussed the amount of vino to be consumed shortly thereafter in oceanic proportions, I found you leaving the stands by yourself. “Bella, you seem quite taken with calcio. But you are not Fiorentino, or else I would have fallen in love with you many years ago.” “I’m travelling through Italy to celebrate my graduation.” I asked if you were alone, you said yes, and I pledged my life to protect you on your journey. “Now that calcio season is over, I suppose I could use a vacation. Come with me and I will show you the best this land has to offer.” “You mean like the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Venetian canals?” “No, Bella, la vera Italia.”

First stop was the Amalfi Coast. “Mio amore, I did not mention this because I was ashamed, but I must do some work while we are here since calcio does not pay any wages. My amico Christopher has invited us to a soiree on his yacht; you may wait there while I finish my work nearby. I am a, what you say, doppio for a Signor Pattinson who is filming here. He saw me on the calcio pitch one day and, believing there to be a facial resemblance, though proclaiming me as ‘even more bloody handsome’, asked me to perform his action sequences. I believe next I will be pretending to be some kind of batlike creature?” “Batman?” “Yes, Bella, its not Fellini, but a man must pay his bills.” I dropped you off at Christopher’s yacht, otnemeM, and did my stunt work. When I came back, I found the entire party encircled around you, apparently quite amused at some story you were telling. The way you effortlessly drew all eyes upon you captivated me. “And that was when I said, ‘with all due respect, shut up ma’am and let me drive this subway, you’re having a baby.’” The crowd rioted with laughter. “Now that’s what I call executive action!” said Michelle Obama, and the crowd roiled with glee. “Bella, you seem to be the belle of the ball!” “I’m having so much fun! Is that Chadwick Boseman driving the boat”. “Si, but you must keep that a secret.” I crossed my arms across my chest reverentially. “Wakanda per sempe. Did you get anything to eat?” “The food all looks delicious, but I don’t eat meat.” And with that I took off my shoes and my shirt and flung myself over the bow. Within a few minutes I had located a beautiful swordfish. Such a noble creature, his death could only be justified by nourishing my Belissima. The struggle was great, but the majestic fish, knowing he was outmatched, submitted to my will. I dragged him aboard but before I could put blade to flesh you said “You jumped before I could tell you I don’t eat fish either.” “Honorable swordfish, I return you to the deep” and, drawing upon my experience as Italian National Champion of javelin hurled him hundreds of meters into the blue horizon.

Our next stop was to Roma to visit la Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere. “I wanted to bring you here to express to you how important my Catholic faith is. I was christened here, as was my padre, as was his, and his, all the way back to the patriarch of my family, Maximus Decimus Meridius.” While we explored the campanile, an old man passed by and said to us, “What beautiful lovers!” “Grazie, Papa”. “Was that Pope Francis?” “Yes, Bella, rumor has it this is his favorite mosaic of Madonna and Child.” We left the Basilica for our reservation at La Pergola. You had the pumpkin risotto with sweetbreads while I had the lamb. As we looked out on il Colosseo, where my great x35 grandfather once died fighting for his freedom, I said “Bella, do you know why this is called the Eternal City? Because, when we love something, or someone, the way that we love Roma, that love is eternal.” Our cheese course came out and I told you about a manchego from La Mancha that would make you believe in God. “I thought you believe in God?” “I do, but this is the cheese god. He has a smaller purview. You should come to Spagna with me, Bella.” “I have to go home tomorrow.” “Well, then, that will be an adventure for another time.” We left the restaurant and went up to my room, the Imperator Suite at the Cavalieri Roma. We made love that night, for the first time. And while I did some things with gelato that seemed to be….new to you, overall our lovemaking was tender and passionate.

The next morning, I took you to the airport. You promised to come back someday. We kissed. And then you left.



You heard of me years ago and wanted to write me a letter. I had a brief 3-month relationship with Bryan L—- in XXX8, apparently while you and he were broken up. At that time, Bryan told me that he was infertile and though I was 25 at the time and old enough to know better, I believed him because he was 34 and he would know. Lo and behold, I got pregnant. Bryan tried to deny it, and that’s when he decided to tell me that he was divorcing his 2nd wife and tried and couldn’t get pregnant. Yes, they hid that from me, and at the time, in the Army, dating someone while not yet divorced can get him court-martialed. Well, wife #2 from NY was older, and I was 25, and I’m fertile & pregnant. We had lots of unprotected sex, and he climaxed every time. He said right away he didn’t believe in abortion. It had not even crossed my mind, but it’s odd to me that he brought it up first in hindsight.

He wanted to know 2 months later if I loved him yet, and it was hard because he kept hiding so many things from me. So one day, he said he was going to Barstow to watch football with a friend. I should have known better than in August – football season hadn’t started. He disappeared for 3 days, and I was panicking. I thought something happened to him, and I was ready to call his chain of command, thinking something happened and I’m having his baby. Then he called me Monday morning; he was safe. I was relieved, what happened? Was he stuck somewhere? Bryan called me every day up until then. No, “remember that friend,” he told me about? Yeah. “We decided to go off to Vegas and do something spontaneous.” Ok, but why not tell me that I was so worried. And he yelled, “Because he didn’t want to be obligated to tell me.” I don’t know where this was coming from.

This man was guilt-tripping me non-stop about my pregnancy and “IT’S A HUMAN LIFE.” I never thought of abortion, but he talked about it all the time, that he was against it – was he trying to convince himself or me? I was trying to figure out what happens next. I was exhausted and sleeping all the time. He kept doing everything he could to make me not trust him. When he thought so little of me to let me worry about that while I was pregnant – this is not someone I could raise a baby with, nor did I want to chase him down to pay child support. He told me how he outsmarted his first german wife, Army basic housing allowance, while he was finalizing his divorce. I had already told my mother I was pregnant and upset because Bryan and I were fighting all the time. She was trying to encourage me to focus on what we had in common, not on what divided us. It was odd for me because I was conflicted. I asked my mother not to say anything yet, and she decided to tell my sister anyway “because she’s married, and she wanted this for a long time.” My boundaries mean nothing to anyone, apparently.

He’s not obligated to do anything for me. I had enough, I was humiliated, and I was having an abortion, something that went against my moral values, but being a single parent is not want I wanted, not with someone I just started dating and not someone that was okay being on his 2nd divorce and starting another relationship with a friend. He clearly likes his life to be sloppy, but I had unprotected sex with someone that told me he was infertile. I just trusted that. So it says a lot about me. I wasn’t raised that way. Bryan decides he wants to pay for it. Really? I decline, and my friends say no, he got you pregnant, and he needs to see what this does to you, how it heartbreaking, and how traumatic it is. And she knew because she had one, and I didn’t realize at the time what she was trying to prepare me for. It was worse than what she warned me about. I was 10-11 weeks. I had a sonogram from my last doctor, and Bryan went to the last session with my doctor. So it was shocking that he decided to run off with a friend and not be obligated to me. It’s a 2-hour drive to the clinic.

Bryan is with me, and he wants to write a check for this. A check at an abortion clinic. She said no, I need to collect 300 cash from you. So then he had to find an ATM. I get on the table, and the nurse tells me that I am farther along and traumatizing. No, I know how far I am. I know when I started having sex with Bryan, and I have my last sonogram, and she said: “I see a very large fetus.” The word she used was fetus, not embryo. I am in tears; what is going on? I already feel conflicted about this. The doctor comes in and looks at the sonogram, and he told the nurse she’s not that far along. She’s about 10-11 weeks.

But I was so unnerved about a doctor having to confirm what I knew and what the nurse said I was too upset; I didn’t want to do this. I got off the table. Bryan followed me and wondered what it’s too intense? In that hot sun, I sat in his car, the black interior, at least he parked in the shade, and I was sobbing. I can’t do this. We have to figure out a way to work this out, and at the time, I thought parenting, but Bryan YELLED at me. “YOU HAVE TO MAKE THIS DECISION FOR YOURSELF. I DON’T WANT TO GET MARRIED.” The way that he yelled at me, I can remember the shrill in his voice, I remember how abandoned I felt. And I stoically walked back in and was ready to continue the procedure. Bryan followed me and started a perfunctory protest, but he did what he wanted; he bullied me into doing it.

Another nurse came in; she was older, calling Bryan a hottie and talking about California’s great pot. This is not my life; I don’t do drugs, I don’t get casually pregnant by a man working on divorce #2 who didn’t love me. And yet, I did get pregnant. When it was over with, I said nothing on the drive home. And Bryan called me to say, “people love you -Em.” It was perfunctory; he moved on. I felt suicidal, I did something that violates my own living standards, and why did I listen to the son of a bitch? There’s still a rank thing at the time that still was at work now that I think about it. Yeah, I had a personal relationship with him, but something about yelling at me like that… I was conditioned. I couldn’t understand it or process it. I visited another male friend who knew me from college, and we both landed in the Army in the same unit.

He was someone I trust could watch me when I was feeling suicidal. No, he thought it was a time to try to have sex with me, and I finally found my nerve and told him I just lost a baby. What is wrong with him. He decided to say that he would have taken care of my baby. I found my nerve – oh fuck off, I’ve heard every excuse to get laid, the man that impregnated me said that he was infertile. I just had surgery down there. I’m a breeding ground for infection. You are unconscionable to try to use this moment, this moment after I’ve had the procedure, not before, to make a bullshit statement like that. I slammed the door.

I hated myself and wondered, why am I attracting men that can’t love me back? Bryan helped me pack up my stuff for my move to my next station, and he even drove me to the airport – asking me to stay in touch so that he knows he didn’t ruin my life. He sent me a card a month or two later. I moved on. I got promoted. He emailed me at my job email (literally, I did not write to him after that) and wanted to know why I had not written to him to tell him I got promoted. I was 27. At the time, I was in a relationship and happy. He was 6’6″ and a rugby player. I was in Germany and enjoying Europe. I found a way to stop hating Bryan and stop hating myself. I sent Bryan a card at his old address at Ft. Irwin because he told me to write to him.
A year earlier, I tried calling him because he told me to, but he just blew me off on the phone. Mary, you know my address. He was a dick. But I moved on. I sent a card that said. Basically, I think I found a way to stop hating you. I’ll remember you as the guy that jumped in a dumpster for me to retrieve my wallet when I dropped it in by mistake, and that’s how I will choose to remember him.

Bryan was trying to encourage me to consider making my next duty assignment Ft. Bragg. That’s interesting when I talked about that before – he was “all roads lead to Darmstadt, Germany,” where I was to be stationed. Now he was encouraging me to PCS. But the women that I knew that went to Bragg told me not to go. I was sexually harassed at my previous unit. Bryan knew about it. The women I served with said it’s a lot worse at Ft. Bragg. Besides, the man paid for my abortion; why on earth do I need to be where he’s at? I had moved on, and I wasn’t trying to hate Bryan anymore, but this was pissing me off. He wrote about “all women jump teams.” Really trying to sell me on PCSing there.

I am at Sergeant school, and I get an email from Bryan, again, unsolicited, reading “about your card.” This is when Bryand decides he has to share my life again (my promotions) but is only sharing his life because he’s forced to. That he got back with his ex-girlfriend Deon in Las Vegas (after we broke up). I’m guessing you’re the friend he went to watch Football with when he disappeared that weekend. That he had a baby with you named E*****, I think, and that he moved on to Ft. Bragg, and you stayed behind in Vegas. That his mail from Ft. Irwin was forwarded to his wife in Vegas. Wow, he got married and had a baby after me. I let that sink in for a while, logged off. And no, I didn’t regret that I had an abortion. That’s what my friends thought I should be feeling. And the feeling that I felt was different. It was anger and rage; who the fuck does he think he is that he can be so cavalier with me after something so traumatizing that he literally screamed me into doing? I also felt an enormous amount of relief, that could have been me that had a baby. I started a family intercepting a letter from a woman he cannot finish things with because when things get tough for Bryan, he decides he needs to move on to the next thing so that he’s not alone, just in case.

I could handle being separated, but Bryan can’t, apparently. Cause that’s when he said you wanted to write a letter to me to find out if our contact was “totally innocent.” I don’t know if trying to convince me to move to Ft. Bragg is innocent, but I know the way he operates in hindsight. He tried to say, “my family is in your hands..” and then he had the audacity to tell me what dates he was with me. This is too Jerry Springer for me, and yet that was my life. I remember too well the time it happened. It broke my spirit. It’s also the reason I can never have a baby again. Because of that procedure, I developed adenomyosis and fibroids. I have to have the top of my uterus removed, and hoping that I don’t have cancer. I find out tomorrow if I do.

I wonder what kind of mother I would have been. I would do better than my own, who got caught up in a religious cult. Would I have had to chase down Bryan for child support, probably? I would have stayed in the Army, probably even deployed or been killed by now. I got out. I became a contractor, I make about 200k a year, but I never married and can’t have children.
So yeah, I think he harmed my life for sure, not sure that he ruined it. I was a willing participant, for sure. He’s never contacted me since the last time I went off on him in that email for telling me that news that he moved got married, and please don’t trash him to his 3rd wife. I asked Bryan if he gave a damn about my feelings when he wrote that? He just said, “All I can say is” he didn’t know I was going to write to his wife.

Nice, I was blamed for writing to his old address that he told me to write to, and it got forwarded to yet another wife I didn’t know about. I remember that phrase of his very well. “All he can say?” Dude, stop talking, don’t contact me again – leave me alone. I won’t respond to any letter that she writes, not for you, but for her; I can’t imagine how painful it was for her to read my card and learn that, yeah, you keep secrets from her too, and she actually gave you a baby. You don’t have the right to intrude on my life anymore. I’ve not talked to Bryan since. But since learning about my adenomyosis at the focal point where implantation occurs, I cannot stop reliving what happened that day.

I don’t share this with you to cause you pain. Once upon a time, you wanted to know what happened. Now you know, and I hope that what Bryan did all those years ago, to have a wife and family with someone other than me, and jump out of planes and then try to reappear in my life 2 years later to intrude and hide things he “wanted to tell me in his own time”… was worth it. I would like him to suffer; I’ll have to settle for you being the one that signed up to be wife #3 and having to trust him because we both know he can’t be trusted.


While everyone is asleep after s bout with Young Frankenstein I chew up some plump little hallucinagenic mushrooms for one night of solo indoor adventure .
I start the event with a good cuddle with my kitty in the dark before soaking up a warm shower, kind of marveling how the light made everything look a little iridescent, and imagining the shifting grays on the floor to form lavish scenes.

The living room is filled with holiday lights and gives me a warm glow to spend the rest of the evening in, alternating different workout activities with my video game and dusting a layer or two on a few paintings. The lights make the popcorn ceiling look like a school of fish battling a current and I contemplate different stages of my life and how I felt I navigated the personal challenges I faced.

It was a good night, I clicked out somewhere around 2:30 am.
31 still having fun.

Great Expectations

I’m not quite sure how we became an old couple that just fights all the time without ever really being a proper couple. Its not like I want this. The combativeness, not you. I still want you. I want your sharp mind and your sexy body and that’s never changed. In some ways, when I think about the parts of you I’ve never explored, even if I tell myself its long overdue, maybe I want you even more now than before. Desire of the complete package that you are has never been the issue. But it is undeniable we have been stuck for some time.

(This is when you say: Maybe we’ve been stuck for a long time because you’ve been stuck for a long time.) You’re not wrong. The way I had this planned out, we’d be married with kids and both be successful and happy by now. Not that I really had much of a plan, but that was the end goal. Maybe we’re further from that now than ever before. I won’t pretend like I have some quick fix for this. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m gonna have to pretty much change my entire life, and in the meantime, you’ll be….reminding me how much further I have to go? Believe me, if it was easy, it wouldn’t matter how beautiful or intelligent you are, I wouldn’t really be that interested. I am very self-aware, and I know this isn’t something I’m super great at. If its easy for me, then it has and will continue to be even easier for people who are better at this facet of life. I think that’s just a very pragmatic way of looking at it.

So what should I do? Show up and surprise you at work? Send you flowers on Valentines? Wish you a happy birthday every year? Pretend like I don’t abhor having any kind of social media presence whatsoever? Am I getting warmer? Doesn’t seem like it. Certainly, you must realize by now that I want to make you happy! I want to make you feel special because that’s what you are to me. My baby and no one else’s. And when you appreciate me back, even just a little bit, I feel really special too. But if nothing I say or do ever changes anything, would it be completely unreasonable for me to become a lot more reticent in my efforts?

Of course, the problem has ALWAYS been communication. Neither of us can fix that by ourselves. I’ve tried for years to figure out how to have trust and affection and support without communication and I am firmly convinced its impossible, not just for us, but for anyone. I don’t really know what else to say on this point. I don’t seem to be able to get through to you that this has to change or nothing else ever will.

Neither of us are happy with things right now. But I know for certain in my heart that we can make each other happy. And I really hope you feel the same way my love.