Class. Back in class. I just finished classes and now here I am. Here. Same same but different, as they say in India. So different. The calm, incredible after months within the intense noise and bustle of the city. There is a peace here that cannot be matched. There are only about 20 or so writers living in Villa Natalia. We putt around most mornings,
reading in the garden in La Pietra amongst rain warped statues and bees in the plants, or in the lounge we have deemed the writer’s room. Some hit the gym or the town, all of us cruising along with stories buzzing around in our heads waiting to be put down on paper. And then we drink tiny cappuccinos from a machine that makes the best coffee I’ve ever tasted and eat twix from the vending machine and write feverishly, elbow to elbow in the writer’s room into the wee morning.
Our classes are in Villa Ulivi. The most beautiful classroom I have ever seen. Giant views overlooking the valley below. One day we watch a lightning storm. The ancient shutters slam themselves open and shut in the wind. One of our teacher, C., she can’t hear well, She passes a little box with a microphone around the room when someone speaks and listens through a pair of headphones and it feels like we are delivering a private message for her ears only - or - that it is being recorded for the whole world and therefore must be well spoken and very important. I fluctuate between feeling these two things. She flutters through the room to close doors that refuse to stay open or closed, shuffles over to switch seats with someone to get the microphone to the next person who needs to speak. it makes me feel tentative about raising my hand, it’s such an ordeal to say one thing and then I feel a pressure to go on for a while with nothing else to say. Stage freight and the awe of speaking to someone who holds that kind of wisdom. But I am adjusting. She’s a woman. A real one. She’s seen and felt so much. All of it spilling out of her and onto the page. And she’s not afraid. I want to be like her. Unafraid to show my scars, my strange spots, the things that people might judge me for. I admire her.
She was to be an actress and came up in New York when the soil was rich with poets and punk rock and I like to imagine she burned her ears out standing too close to the speakers at writhing concerts. She’s beautiful. She walks and reads with a poise that tells me she was a real knock out. That she still is. And yet I feel this great ocean between us, and I feel silly for thinking that something so trivial, like sound, could get in the way of me being able to hook up to her. But then I wonder if it’s some old thing flaring up, my inability to trust women. Already I have made friends with all the boys. Stick to my kind I think. And images of riding to the grocery store on skateboards with my best guy friend to fetch spices for the dinner my mother was cooking in early sobriety flickers back. The boys will tell me straight. They won’t go behind my back. So long as we don’t become involved romantically I’ll never get a lie and they will love me despite my inadequacies, laugh at my jokes, and fart in front of me. The women I trust are few and far between. A product of losing my mother for a time when I was small and wishing with all of my being for a new one to love me despite not being born of her loins. I keep thinking I’ve outgrown this, and then I realize no. This will never go.