It’s Columbus Day in the States, which means its time to reflect on my love for Italian exploration; and oh, do I love exploring Italians.

My first adventure after Thomas met with his untimely end was an Italian.  It turns out I had no idea what his name was.  I called him Bill because it took a little while to realize he was calling me Bella and was not simply reintroducing himself repeatedly during sex.  By that point, there was no reason to find out his real name.  My little heart was mourning over Thomas and I had sworn I would never marry again (considering I had already met that brute Albert, I should have stuck with that thought.)  Bill seemed fine with that plan since, as it turned out, he already had a wife and a few kids waiting for him at home.  Somewhere around this time I learned sex and love need not go hand in hand.  Billy would pop by after work; always hungry.  My cooking skills have never been anything to write home about and I had just lost my cook to a young accountant who promised her a diamond ring in return for a life of streusel.  Billy would bring by fabulous food he’d had his mother pack him for us to eat.  Due to the afore mentioned wife, eating in bed was a necessity to, well, ever make it to bed; my fascination with food during sex was born in these antipasti days (and I came to insist we stick to the cold stuff; some of those sauces can burn.)  But his sails soon tore and he was left to drift in the vast ocean of martial discord.  I left him to it as he had awoken an epicurean world to me and was not about to look back.

But, like Columbus, I had to sail a few ships to get anywhere.  If Bill was my La Nina, Salvatore was my La Pinta; flashy, solidly built and rudderless.  At first I was awed by the way he threw money around.  He simply could not show up without a diamond cuff or some luscious stole.  He whisked me off to the opera, the ballet, the theater – anywhere I mentioned, he would appear with tickets.  I am not sure if he was married or gay or what happened outside our lives together.  He knew someone from every walk of life and all delighted in his company… when he was happy-go-lucky.  Unfortunately, he also had a temper at times and it became tiresome after a while.  I never did take to people who yelled in anger so when Sal worked himself up over the onion miscount in his gibson, I simply grabbed my handbag and asked some understanding patron for a ride home.  When Sal was good, he was fabulous and when he bellowed, he was a bore – I figured it would come out in the wash.  But it didn’t, it all came crashing down, actually.  Sal had no money or when he did, he immediately gave it away.  Collectors came looking for him and notes were called in.  When the mountain of debt threatened to bury him, Sal made for the other Coast and I was left to marry Albert.  At least I knew where Albert’s money came from; and I was smart enough to take a good chunk with me when I left.

After my disastrous turn as Albert’s wife, I absolutely swore I would never marry again.  I had gotten enough money in the divorce and with my own inheritance making a tidy little sum in interest; I decided it was time to discover my own trade routes and took to the sea for any port that would have me.  When I landed in Italy, I found my Santa Maria; Giovanni Schiamomorialli.  Trying to say Giovanni’s full name at the end of the evening was always my way of seeing how the limoncello was settling in.  Giovanni loved to dance;  I could barely walk half a block without Giovanni sweeping me up in his arms and twirling me about.  Poor Giovanni’s eyesight was terrible and often he would spin me into a bush or a fountain and once, unsuspecting monsignor who did a nice little two-step before he realized what was happening.  Giovanni Schiamomorialli lived life to the fullest and took along whoever wanted to come.  I adored every minute with Giovanni.  I ate and drank and loved and lived Italian in every sense of the word.  There was a time I considered bidding adieu to the good old US of A to become his per sempre Tesoro; oh, his pizza alone would have been worth it.  But alas, Giovanni Schiamomorialli ran aground, just as the mighty Santa Maria.  A young ragazza got herself into trouble by a young soldier who was on the next boat out of town when he found out.  Poor Giovanni and his terrible eyesight never could dispute it wasn’t her he had compromised that weekend in question so he married her.  She became a frightful shrew that kept the rest of us at bay with a pitchfork.  The night his prodigy was born, a group of his former admirers drank as many martinis as we could hold and spun ourselves into the hotel’s pool in honor of Giovanni’s legacy.

The next day, I put my broken heart and throbbing head on train pointed towards France.   We were halfway there when my compartment mate extended a flask and said “quelque chose pour votre gueule de bois?”   That blessed soul was none other than Rémy de Plume.

My point is, darlings, you may need to sail several vessels before you find the one that will take you where you were hoping to go.

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