You eat gelato like it's your day job, and you hug a lot of people, be it friends or family or hapless Italian strangers, voraciously taking their love without explaining why you need it. " You see the awe in all these American tourists' faces, the deep admiration for something so old and beautiful and significant.
He introduces you to his favorite bands, his collection of Woody Allen films, his aunt who runs political campaigns for the city's left party.And for the first time in a long time, you like being with yourself. You meet him at a bar down the way, and despite his Gucci tshirt he doesn't seem 1/8 the tool that picks up women at bars or wears Gucci tshirts.Small talk turns to deep musings, deep musings turn to dinner, dinner turns into an almost-relationship. He lives in the same quarter as you, just a 10-minute walk away, and you close the 10-minute gap in long strides.You walk through the city absorbed in a narrative of monuments you've shared together: Santa Croce, San Lorenzo, the Duomo...Despite how much you think of him, only a fraction of your thoughts breach the surface.He invites you to his parents' villa in Bagno a Ripoli a couple weekends down the line, and you star and circle and cover it in red hearts on your calendar.
In Italy, you're constantly reminded you're different.You decide it's much better to sweet talk in Italian -- but you'd take fighting in English any day.Your fluency rockets, and your professor asks how you suddenly got so good. You measure the time in days and hours until you see him next, and you gush about him to friends.You hike to Fiesole alone, wander Siena alone, trace the entire perimeter of Florence with your own two feet, always alone.You may trip a lot on the cobblestone but you are, without a doubt, the best travel companion you've ever had.You'd text him everyday if you could but only check in sporadically.