Paolo and Francesca…

a novel about beautiful people in Italy.

Tag: Milano

a day in the park.

Something had changed with Selim since Venice, since Moscow.  The difference was barely perceptible at first but she came to recognize it by the frequency of his phone calls, the candor of his text messages, his seeming willingness to be more open with her.  To be more open about her.  Where he had once called her in whispered tones, in stolen moments, he now spoke freely.  She asked about it one day, when he called and she could hear his daughter in the background.

“Where are you?”

“I’m with Eva at the park,” he said.  “It’s my afternoon with her.  She’s got it in her head to fly kites.”

Francesca imagined him unfurling the six-year-old’s kite, butterfly-shaped, she pictured, probably pink and purple, showing the little girl how to run with it and then release it into the air.  The way her father had taught her, in the rolling space of Parco Sempione.  She felt a pang–of what?  Nostalgia?  Regret?  It was hard to place.

“I miss you,” she told Selim.

“I miss you, too.  I think we should go away together.  I’ve got to go to New York for some meetings in several weeks.  Can you come?”

“I’d love to,” she said.  “I love New York.”

“I was hoping we could go together.  I want you to show me all your old haunts.”

She laughed.  “My haunts are from almost eight years ago.  I’m sure it’s all changed.”

She heard him calling to his daughter in the background, “Eva, no, wait–” and then he came back to her.  “Darling, I have to go.  I have to chase her down.  I’ll call you later.”

This time, when he said he’d call her later, she knew he would do it.  He had promised to protect her and he was following through.  And she remembered that night they’d met, when he told her he was the marrying type, that against all odds, Selim was the kind of man who took commitment seriously.

This time she wouldn’t be scared.

lunch with Cristina at Obika.



image via Passport Delicious

[before this: an evening cruise on the Bosporus; lady in red]

“Oh!  So this is the best part.  Well, sort of.  It’s also the worst part.  So he’s some sort of tabloid celebrity in Turkey.”

Cristina raised an eyebrow.  “What is that supposed to mean?”

“Like, the paparazzi follow him around.  He comes from a wealthy family and that’s like society over there, they take it all very seriously, so every time he gets married or divorced–”

“EVERY TIME HE GETS MARRIED OR DIVORCED?”  Cristina almost spit her Valpolicella across the table.

“That’s the other part.  He’s been married or divorced a couple of times.”

“Which one is he currently?” Cristina asked.

“Which what?”

“Married or divorced?”

“Married,” Francesca replied sheepishly.  “But getting divorced soon.”

“Oh, that’s a relief,” Cristina said, drinking more wine.  “Because I’m beginning to see where this is going.”

Francesca stayed quiet for a minute.

“Well?” Cristina asked, selecting a slice of bread from the basket.

“You’re going to be too hard on me,” Francesca said quietly.

Cristina ground some salt and pepper, then dragged her bread through a pool of grassy green olive oil on her side plate, mopping it back and forth several times.  She paused with the bread midway to her mouth as if she’d just thought of what to say.  “It sounds like you deserve it,” she replied.

Francesca drank more wine.  “After the club we went back to the hotel,” she began.


“And, well, you know,”

“That’s the way to make a story really compelling,” Cristina said.  “Right when you get to the good part, start glossing over the details with, ‘well, you know…'”

“God, Cristina, he was so, I don’t know–so present, so into everything, so powerful.  He just conquered me, in every possible way.  I was possessed.”


“Something like that, yeah.  And I loved it.”

“So, not to put this too bluntly, but since you seem to be having trouble elucidating this event fully, you did sleep with him, correct?”

“I did.”

“Ok,” Cristina replied.  “And it was good.”

“It was fantastic.”

“And let me remind you that on a regular basis, you sleep with a top football player, so when you’re making the comparison–” Cristina whispered.

“I wasn’t comparing.”

“If you were,” Cristina continued.

“It’s completely different.  I felt completely different with him than I feel with Paolo.  I’m used to Paolo, I know what he likes to do, I know how he likes to do it, and yes, you’ve got a point–” she lowered her voice, glancing around the restaurant.  “Paolo is extremely athletic, and the Turk wasn’t like that, no, but there were other things.”

“Other things like anal?”

Francesca furrowed her brow and shook her head.  “No, not other things like anal.  Other things like a different emotional connection.”

“I see,” Cristina said, pursing her lips.

happy weekend from Italia!