Friday, July 13, 2012

72. The Guest

The moment he deplaned, he started pestering me about Disneyland. 
“How far?  We go now?”  The 12-hour flight hadn’t impaired his goal.      

“Marco, we’ll go tomorrow.  I thought you might want to settle in and rest.  Disneyland is a two-hour drive.  Like Firenze a Milano?” 
“That far?”  He gripped his passport tight, like it might float away.      

“How was your flight?” 
Abbastanza bene.”  He shrugged.   

I initially interpreted the ensuing silence as jet-lag, but he was merely pouting.      
Thirty-five minutes later, we pulled into my mother’s driveway.  He clapped his hands together and inquired,

“Where are the movie stars?” 

I guffawed.  Movie stars!  Sure, Tom Cruise is my next-door neighbor.    
“Julia, are you friends with them?” His hopeful expression indicated he was serious.    

I stopped laughing abruptly.  I hadn’t meant to ridicule his childlike wonder at plastic sunshine and manufactured dreams.    
“Marco, I don’t know any movie stars,” I offered gently.  I considered adding But maybe we’ll see some tomorrow.  I suddenly wished I had a “Map to the Stars’ Homes” in my glove compartment to give to him.

“How do you know him again?” my mother had asked me after I had informed her of his trip dates.  “You never mentioned him before.”    
“Mom, I told you:  I met him in Napoli.  He’s a friend of Silvia’s.”

Europeans took things so literally:  Yes, come stay with us, any time!  An invitation like this in Italy was akin to an offer to move in with someone.  For Americans, it meant Nice to meet you, I am only being polite, please never call me.    
Disneyland didn’t make Marco happy.  He was convinced the ticket girl overcharged him because he was a foreigner.  He accused people of cutting in front of him in line.  His anger came in unexpected pricks, like mosquito bites. 

As the sky turned inky and we walked to the parking lot, I fantasized about putting him back on a plane.  He surprised me: 

“And now you drive me to New York?”   

trifecta writing challenge:  333 words about a house-guest


  1. Good writing. You express the character very well, hopefully he wasn't a literal part of your life or at least not quite so persistent as you portrayed...

  2. Loved the invitation being akin to moving in for Italians. So true? Now you drive me to New York. Yep, I will get right on that!

  3. Gah! Good story though! :D

  4. This is a true story!!!! Every word!!!! (which makes it more unbelievable, eh?)


  5. A friend of mine extended the same not really an invitation and ended up with an English visitor parked on her couch -- for six weeks. He only wanted to go on a five hour drive trip though. ;)

  6. I love this: "Nice to meet you, I am only being polite, please never call me." So true...reminds me of 'we should do lunch sometime', which means 'I remember why we lost touch, but I don't want to hurt your feelings.'

    Hilarious story. I really enjoyed it!

  7. Fabulous! Loved this story!

  8. Thanks so much for linking up with Trifecta this weekend. Please remember to come back and vote for your top three posts!

  9. Oh sheesh, I'da pulled my hair out. I'm a terrible host.

  10. Terrific story - Terrific descriptions. Plastic sunshine and manufactured dreams. LOVED!


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