a quick visit home.

by s.m.

photo via The Selby

It was imperative that she go home and change. Timo would never let her hear the end of showing up at the studio in yesterday’s clothes. She pulled into the courtyard of her building and parked the car at an angle. During the day, no one else in her building needed the space. She skipped the creaky iron elevator and ascended the curving central staircase. Francesca lived on the second floor, in an old, large, shabby apartment that at first seemed at odds with her modern and streamlined personal aesthetic. She loved its high ceilings with their faded and crumbling frescoes, the wainscoting with its deep oil stain, the slight divots in the marble of the stairs and hallways from years of people walking. The apartment was drafty, with large windows that made it too warm in the summer and too cold in the winter, but she adored the light. She had grown up in a house like this one, a decaying monument to Milan’s past, and it made her comfortable living here. Her neighbors were all older, kind people who kept to themselves, people who had lived in the building for years.

She opened her wardrobe and pulled out a fresh pair of Stella McCartney jeans and a striped sweater by Sacai. It was a chilly day in Milan, the first hint of winter in the air. She swapped her booties for red lizard flats, swiped on some mascara and lipstick, and bounded back to her car. On her way to the studio she called TImo again.
“Have you picked up lunch yet?” she asked.
“Ten minutes,” he answered.
“Good. When you go out, see if you can find a copy of that Turkish magazine. I’d like to take a look at it.”
“Already on it. They’re holding it for me at the newsstand.”
She loved him. She really, honestly loved him. Most days she was sure she would fall to pieces without the zany constancy Timo brought to her life.
But she wasn’t going to tell him about Paolo. There was nothing to tell. Her relationship with Timo had long since transgressed any professional bounds; they often confided in each other, traded tales of their exploits, or just rated men walking past while sitting in a cafe. As private as she was, Francesca trusted TImo with almost all of the intimate details of her life. But to tell him about Paolo would be like going back to secondary school, to make a big deal out of the most popular boy in school giving her a ride home on his motorcycle only to have him pretend like it had never happened. She was old enough to know not to embarrass herself.