I’m afraid the madness is still upon me. The kitchen is full of the smell of something – and, initially I can’t quite tell what, though the smell is familiar. And then I realise it is the melon I bought, just-in-case, for the dinner last night.
A colleague at work got me some Boursault cheese from France earlier this week. I had invited FfI and another friend (in fact, the one who first introduced us to FfI – FfC) for dinner but really to taste the cheese with some crispy baguette and good wine but we couldn’t seem to work it out and so, FfI and her friend who has a shop in Isola were to come round last night.
I got home and, after seeming to break the hoover, I went to make the Special Salad (that used to be made by my Father) which, I am told is called Cob Salad in the States, to find that the fridge seemed not to have been working well, if at all. Maybe the door wasn’t shut properly. I had to go and by more salad stuff as the stuff in the fridge, in one day, with the heat, had become mushy. During the day, FfI had also invited her other friend so there were to be four of us.
Buying new stuff meant that I was a little later than planned and, therefore, rushed. FfI is moving again. She has to. She cannot afford the current flat and has found another which, in my opinion, she will be able to unafford equally as much.
She phoned to say that she was on her way round with the Friend with the shop and some guy who was giving them a lift but would not be staying. She had had a meeting with her current landlord and it had taken longer than expected so they were bringing nothing other than themselves. I told her that we needed bread for the cheese as that was one of the things she had promised to bring but that I had wine.
It was all going to pot but I just didn’t care. I had posted a comment on a blog that I instantly regretted and sent an email to a friend that I also instantly regretted. The madness remains. I promise myself that I won’t do that anymore.
They arrive with some bread (though it is not quite right it will do). Everything is not quite right but it will do, suffice, be enough – but is never good enough to be good.
The guy is some estate agent (realtor) in Milan. He found the new flat for FfI who uses her womanly charms every chance she gets, since she is not unattractive for her age and, being who she is, is forward enough to use it well although I never cease to be amazed at how gullible these men are to fall for the ‘trick’. He is of average height, very slim and, kind of, weaselly. I don’t dislike him but I don’t like him either. I don’t know him, of course.
He is, it seems, shy and holds back. The other two are concerned that I am not happy. They are right, of course but although they are friends, I can tell them nothing. I tell them that I am fine, just a little tired (which is not exactly untrue). Everyone is always tired in Italy and so one can use it as an excuse at any time.
Since the Weasel is not staying and the kitchen table is laid up for four, I suggest we first have a drink in the lounge. We open the first bottle.
The Weasel is talking to the Friend with the shop. It’s all in Italian and I really can’t be bothered to try to understand. I think they are talking politics. It turns out later that, although he is not a big fan of Buzz Lightyear, he is anti-left. I decide that’s the problem everywhere, but particularly here. People aren’t for anything, only anti something. I would like to talk that through with someone but always feel out of my depth here, not really knowledgeable enough to have a serious discussion. Still, it’s my feeling.
We open the second bottle of wine. The Weasel will take just another, small glass, apparently.
FfI seems upbeat about the new flat and a new job. I always feel she is upbeat but, behind the facade, she isn’t. It’s always a facade and I wish it weren’t. It’s an American thing, I think. It’s like the ‘Have a nice day’ thing. Behind it there is nothing.
The other friend, who was coming but not eating (after I had prepared the salad too) arrives. At least she has a bottle of wine.
She is also American and Jewish and truly over-the-top but I like her for her honesty. She was the first (maybe, only) person who correctly guessed that V & I had split up even when we were still pretending and not having told anyone. And she is not really a close friend. I am amazed by her perspicacity and admire her for that and her honesty, even if she will never be a close friend.
I offer more wine and the Weasel will just have one more. It is getting late. FfI had said it would not be a late night. It is already gone nine. The Weasel is making no signs of movement out of here. I suggest, to someone, that, perhaps we should do the cheese anyway, thinking that, perhaps, the Weasel will take the hint.
I get the cheese and cut the bread and bring it into the lounge. Everyone seems to love it which is, kind of, galling since, although I wanted them to like it, I watch it disappear too quickly and, for a moment, wish I had never mentioned it and been alone and had been able to eat it all myself.
We finish the cheese. I offer more wine. The Weasel will just have a little more. He is getting drunk and seems to be slurring his words slightly but I can’t place his accent and maybe it’s that. I give up on the idea that he will be going. I explain that there are only four salads. FfI will share with someone, the someone is the A/J, over-the-top friend who keeps exclaiming that she shouldn’t be eating and especially cheese, as she should lose weight (which is true) but has done a damn fine job of gobbling the cheese anyway.
We go in the kitchen. I offer more wine. The Weasel will have just a little more. He had taken off his tie in the lounge, earlier. He had opened his shirt a button or two (it is hot) but I notice that he had opened it more and I look at his chest with some longing, for although he really isn’t my type, I know of the madness which I described in a much earlier post as me ‘being vulnerable’ which was stupid really as it’s me being unable to control this madness. I could jump him right now but I won’t, thank goodness.
We eat. FfI so likes the salad (or, maybe, having no money, ever, has not eaten for days, I don’t know) eats what remains of the Friend-with-the-shop’s salad as well. I eat it but it’s not as good as it should be, the oranges not being enough nor good enough – but it will do. I want them all to leave.< All the meat is eaten. More wine. Friend-with-the-shop's husband comes over. He is nice and I like him. He makes a fantastic deer sauce for pasta. I have said, in the past, that I would marry him for that, although I could not, of course. It's just one of those jokes - jokes you can do when you're not physically attracted to someone and, therefore, you can, kind of, flirt with them in safety. Like I can do with women. He has some wine too but only a little as he is driving. He is sensible and half the height of his wife and Italian and white (and she is black) and, together, they look......well......, I think you can guess. I offer what liqueurs I have. There is a little Sambuca, some Amaretto, and an unopened bottle of port - good port. Friend-with-the-shop, who is English, would like some port, the others wanting one of the others. I bring out the bottles and the shot glasses. I tell Friend-with-the-shop that this is nice port. Now everyone wants to try. The Weasel, has a glass. Then another, then another, then, after some consideration, just a little more. I wonder, as I look at him, if he will stay behind a little, after the others have gone and wonder if he has stayed so long, so far, because he fancies me rather than, the most likely reality, that he has stayed because of the women where he has misinterpreted their flirting, since he is the sometime boyfriend of a friend of the Friend-with-the-shop (I do hope you can keep up with this). I know I am in the middle of this madness and hope that it doesn't show and am grateful that, at least, I recognise it in myself and can, I hope, keep my bloody mouth shut and not say anything I will regret in the morning. Whilst we were sitting at the table, during the port, the subject came up about the 'gayness of Italian men'. The Weasel explains that this is true but only of men from the south, Northern Italian men are not like this. I realise he is annoyingly stupid and racist and right-wing and hate him for that whilst his open shirt and the fact that he doesn't speak English means that, in bed, it wouldn't matter one bit. I am annoyed by myself for this insanity and desperation, for my lack of control over my feelings, for knowing that, almost (but not quite) any man will do. And I know it's not the sex, per se, but, rather, the closeness that I desire (although for certain, the sex would be important for that is the ultimate closeness even if it would leave me unsatisfied for not being true closeness). We move back to the lounge and finish the port. It's now 2 a.m. and I tell FfI that everyone will have to go. I am not V and the time has come for me to go to bed. I toy with the idea of going to bed anyway and let them continue and let themselves out (except they could not lock up and, so, I don't do that). They leave at 2.30 ish. The Weasel is not staying after all, although he does look at the dirty dishes and starts to try to help clean up and I tell him no because I will do it in the morning and, so, they all leave. I hold his arm, for a moment as we're saying goodbye and wish I could hug him but, even as I think this, I know there is no magic, no sensation in this touch, no thrill like there would be would be with a lover or potential lover. But at least it's some physical connection with a man, with someone other than women. And, now, I should go to bed but I go to the computer and the friend has replied to the email and, with the madness upon me and the promise to myself about to be shattered (see, I can't even keep my own promises with this insanity), I reply even though my head, the logic side, says I should not and I am too drunk and too tired but I reply anyway and then, as if the madness has not gone far enough, I write a text message to try and explain the email reply, which I have already regretted as soon as I pressed send because I realise that English is such a crap language and that even as I write the words, which, because I say them as I write them, gives them meaning which, when written and read by someone else, with a different voice, with different inflection, different tones, different, different, different.......means that the meaning has gone and the meaning becomes something else and I hate that and want that to be different; and so I regret the words I have written but can't take them back, for the words I have written now seem far too much if read in a certain way, without a smile, without humour and, yet, I didn't want to put smiley faces all over the email and, so, they, the words will be read wrong, and that's why I've done this text and, at the last minute, I delete it and I will, at least, be so grateful that I did when I get up in the morning because writing more words to explain the words before will not explain the words before because they are words that will be read in a different way to the way they were intended to be read because the previous words have already set the pattern. So, I will be grateful tomorrow that I didn't make the situation even more shitty. This much I know. And it is morning (but too late to do the things I intended) and the madness has gone and now my mind has to deal with the madness of yesterday and trawl through it trying to make more sense and being so grateful for not making a play for the Weasel and so much more grateful for not sending my friend the text even if I so want to explain properly, but with the voice, which, you know, if you read my stuff, is more important than anything, since I can put the real meaning to the words. And the dogs want to go out but I just want to stay in the flat, with the shutters closed, with just me, without having to have human interaction, for fear of the madness and losing control completely but also because it means putting on a show that I don't want to do. So we go out but we don't go to the park and I take the quieter streets so as to see as few people as possible, just in case someone should know me or, anyway, want to talk, or strike up conversation at which point I would pretend not to understand Italian at all but always with the danger, here, that they would speak English or be English and want that conversation anyway.
I am lucky. There is no one who wants the conversation and we do not go to the normal café or even past it as the dogs know it and always try to go to sit at a table and we arrive home.
There is a text from FfI. She enjoyed it last night and the salad and that the Weasel thought I was nice (but not nice enough to go to bed with although that too I would have regretted this morning in the same way I have with the stupid emails, the near text and all the other things I do with this madness upon me). I have been here before, 20 odd years ago.
And, I wonder, was last night just punishment from her to me for the fact that I didn’t text her or come round or help her with the problems of the unaffordability of the current flat or just to ‘get back at me’? And I find that I really don’t care, even if I now need to get more wine and more port and more stuff. After all, that is just stuff.
And, so, I said I wouldn’t write more posts but that was the sanity talking, which only happens in the morning before I have had the hours to think, which I must find a way to stop before I do some real damage. And so I write yet another rambling post to try and pour out my feelings – not even to be read, really, just to try and get the bloody things out of my head as if, by writing them they will disappear, which they do in a way but not enough and this time it simply will not do.
And I realise that I must talk to someone about this. And there is one person I want to talk to about this, as if this person can straighten me out (so to speak) but that can’t happen and so, unwillingly but desperately, I text Best Mate, who can’t talk right now but does, at least, recognise that something is wrong and phones me and I explain that I’m crazy and that I must talk and she say she will be back later and will be over in August anyway and I laugh and explain that I really don’t think I can wait until August ‘cos that’s weeks away and the madness is now and increasing and that I’m sorry to put this burden on her but I have no one else and she understands (or says she does) and I believe her because I think I can hear it in her voice because, after all, the tone and the way the words are spoken actually really express it all.
And we agree to Skype later.
And so, because the madness is abated at the moment I will not post this straight away but will hold it ready and, maybe, after the conversation with Best Mate will not post it, or maybe I will and then delete it later or not. But I feel I should post it because this blog has become some sort of place where I try to………no, I don’t know what I’m trying to do anymore.
It will do.by