The Jotter Pages are a glimpse into one of my many notebooks. The italics are the actual writings from my jotter and the roman type are my comments today. This entry takes place in Florence, Italy 1984. Part I of this story can be found by clicking here and apparently somewhere between part I and part II, I found out his name.
Yesterday I went to meet Gustavo where he works and then we went to lunch. It was a busy afternoon of meeting his commercial artist friend to see about finding me a job and then going to visit his mother in the nursing home. She was there due to a stroke and was the sweetest little lady I have ever seen. He seemed so happy to introduce me to her and even told her how he wanted me to come back to stay forever. We drove the motorcycle all over the city and ended the afternoon back at the same restaurant as last night. I had ravioli again and it was so good! Our conversation was focused about me coming back in January to live and pick up where we left off. After dinner, we went back to his apartment. It was a small studio walk up off of a narrow stone street. His apartment was dark and although it was evening, I imagined that it was just as dark in the daylight. I sat on the couch and we kissed for a while. I needed to use the bathroom and was nervous when I closed the bathroom door to find there wasn’t any toilet paper. Opening the door a bit, I called out to Gustavo that I was in need of some paper. His reply was a little shocking in that he told me to use the phone book that was sitting on the floor next to the toilet. I didn’t have much of a choice so I tore out a page from the directory and sat down on the seat. Upon exiting the bathroom, I realized that I was suddenly looking at him in a different light.
While kissing him, all I could think of was the phone book. Things began to turn physical and my “attitude” turned into an argument. We bickered back and forth and finally, I asked him if he would like me to leave. He said yes. So I did. It was late and the narrow little street was dark as I headed to find a bus back to my hotel. I was aware that The Monster of Florence, a serial killer, was still on the loose so I was very nervous about getting to the bus quickly. After a long wait, I realized that the bus was not coming and that I had better head back to Gustavo’s apartment. With all the little side streets looking the same, I became lost. Alone on the quiet street my heart raced as I saw a figure of a man approaching. I could tell by his shape that it was not Gustavo and I prayed that it wasn’t the Florence killer. Thankfully, it was a policeman and he helped me find my way back to the apartment after reprimanding me for being out on the streets so late with a killer in the city.
I truly don’t know how I found his door, they all looked the same. I knocked several times before Gustavo let me in. I asked, but he refused to take me back to my hotel until morning. I apologized for leaving in a huff and things seemed to be smoothed over. I went to sleep on the couch but had a very bad night’s sleep imagining what could have happened on the dark streets below and for a fleeting moment I wondered if Gustavo might be the killer.
We got up today and went for a ride to the mountains where the view was so beautiful and he was so sweet that I forgot all about last night. About midday, he drove me to my hotel so I could catch my train later in the afternoon. I was expecting a long sad goodbye filled with I’ll miss you and come back soon. But when I got off the bike, he said, “Thanks, it was fun.” I was shocked that he was just sending me on my way, so I made some small talk thinking that he was going to say he was just kidding, but he never did. My pride kicked in and I turned and said goodbye heading back into the hotel in disbelief sure that he would call after me, but he never did.
Once back in the room, I packed my things all the while thinking that he would call and say he had made a mistake. This couldn’t be happening. I have never had a guy use me before. Once at the train station, I waited for my train to be called. I just knew he would pull up on his bike and run in to find me…but he never did.
This is a story that I don’t like to remember but I learned a big lesson that weekend which I have carried with me ever since. I am aware of how lucky I was that it didn’t turn into something horrible. However, this experience didn’t stop me from traveling on my own and I continued to have many more adventures…. but looked at handsome strangers with a different eye.