Thursday, April 7, 2011

Florence With Friends

I spent the day with Lewis and Michael yesterday. I was going to change their names for this to Mario and Fabio, but was afraid they would fight over who got to be Fabio, so I will just stick to their real names. I don’t need to protect their innocence. I’m pretty sure they lost their innocence years ago and don’t really miss it all that much.

I should have known I was in trouble when breakfast included mimosas. I now know that 9:30 is too early for me to start, even with a drink as pretty as the mimosa. After breakfast Michael and I took a stroll around the neighborhood while Lewis took a short nap. It was a fairly uneventful walk, till at a crosswalk directly before a roundabout Michael decided to cross against the red light. The elderly woman next to me kept saying “Aspetto” (wait) over and over, louder and louder as he inched toward traffic. There was a lot of traffic. I grabbed f or his hand, but he moves quick for an older guy and he was across the road before I could get there. She started yelling at him for ignoring the red light and started telling the crowd (oh yeah, by now there was quite a group of us waiting for the light) what an idiot he was and that he didn’t respect anyone or anything.

I pretended I didn’t know him and waited with the rest of the sheep for the light to change. When I caught up with him he mentioned that she seemed a little put out with him but he was onlyy guessing as he doesn't speak Italian. Yeah. We could still hear her telling anyone who would listen that the light was red, was he blind? He laughed it off and her voice faded as we walked away, but I don’t think I’ll forget how personally she took his disregard for the light. Something to remember as I wander through town.

We woke Lewis up and got started on our walk to…well we never really had a destination now that I think of it. I have to say that walking anywhere with two gay men is memorable. I hadn’t really noticed the men in this town. I mean, of course, I noticed that there were men, but I guess I wasn’t looking at them that way because I am happy with the man I have. As we walked they would point out someone and comment (good or bad) on him. It’s kind of like walking around with a couple of best girlfriends. We walked to the old Town Hall so they could take the obligatory picture of themselves with the copy of the David that stands there. When I suggested we take a picture of them holding "some part" of David they looked at me like I was crazy. This look from the man who is seriously considering buying an apron with the torso of David (shoulders to mid-thigh) emblazoned on the front to wear to work when he gets back. I am confused and embarrassed, what was I thinking???

Then we strolled over to Santa Croce to pick a restaurant for lunch. We found a nice little cafĂ© with seating on the piazza. I don’t think they would have cared what we ate, they were too busy looking at the waiter. Lewis like the way he smelled. I didn’t notice any particular odor, but maybe I‘m just insensitive. Michael liked his eyes and particularly his ears. I didn’t ask why. They both perked up a little every time he came to the table. I know they were disappointed when a different waiter brought our food out, but they were brave and smiled anyway. Oh yeah, just to keep the breakfast buzz going, we had a glass of house wine with lunch.

We walked across the piazza to Santa Croce. Michael wanted to see the church, Lewis wanted another nap. We all went into the church because Florence is made of stone and not comfortable at all for napping. Lewis thought he might find a quiet corner somewhere while Michael and I looked at the church. “We’ll find each other later,” were his last words before disappearing toward the exit and the green grass of the courtyard.

Michael and I had a great time trying to read the markers and finding the memorials for Marconi (the inventor of the radio), some scientist whose name I can’t remember, oh, and Galileo, Michelangelo and host of other Florentines. He was frustrated that the Latin he had worked so hard to learn was gone from his head, and I’m pretty sure that what we couldn’t read we made up.

When we finished we began the hunt for Lewis. He wasn’t in the courtyards, the bathrooms or the chapel so we walked out the exit and there he was looking at postcards. Michael asked him if he had seen the marker on the wall showing the flood level. Lewis said, “Uh, no.” Michael asked if he saw the ceiling? Lewis said, “Hm, no“. I asked if he had looked at anything in the church and he said, “well, no.” He had pretty much paid for his ticket, walked from the entrance to the exit and looked for a quiet place to nap. But they kicked him off the grass so he waited here for us. “But I think I’d like a gelato soon,” he said.

So again we walked, ever so slowly, and found gelato and a flea market and an ATM and then back to their apartment. Our walk was littered with men. Men with nice shirts (code for nice pecs?) nice pants (code for nice ass?) and one with a nice bag and bird legs (code for something but I have absolutely no idea for what). I am beginning to realize that there are in fact a lot of men in Florence and some of them look darn good.

Who knew two older gentleman could so thoroughly exhaust me? When I posted on face book that I was too tired to breathe, I wasn’t kidding. I had to rest at their place for a little bit before getting on the bike for the long ride home. It was all I could do to boil water for pasta and slice a few mushrooms. I was in bed by 8:45. I was sunburned and tired. Michael made me think all day. When I left, Lewis was drinking a beer and contemplating yet another nap.

It was a great day and I am so happy to share my new life with someone who means so much to me. Sounds a little crazy, I know, but no one from my past is sharing my experience. You are thousands of miles away and only know what I tell you. Finally there is a first hand witness to my life here in Italy. Up until now, I could have said I was in Italy but actually be living in North Dakota. All my experiences could have come from my imagination. When Michael and Lewis return to Minnesota, the memories of me they carry back will, in some weird way, make this all very real.


  1. Oh Michelle! You are a GREAT writer! I hope you never stop because this post about Michael and Lewis - hilarious and vivid! I'm tired for you! :)
    I promise, when I visit I won't exhaust you nearly as much! xo

  2. thanks Reema!! I hope when you visit we are just as tired...then we have had a great time together! thanks for calling me a writer because I don't really feel like one yet. miss you xxoo