This is a series of posts about Italy, Malta, and Spain that starts here.
I decided to write one more post before I leave for Belize.
In my last post I noted that I have sometimes returned home in bad shape or to dicey situations. This post is about that worst time ever. There was that time I got bumped up to first class on a London to Minneapolis flight, was seated next to a handsome, single, and presumably rich man my age—but I had a terrible cold and I went through an entire box of Kleenex blowing my nose. He expressed sympathy at the start of the flight, then faced away from me for eight hours. I can’t say I blamed him.
This was worse. I was dating a guy I’ll call Jed whose parents were Italian immigrants. He had been to Italy many times.
Before I met him, Lynn and I had made plans to meet in Venice, and Jed was excited for me to see the country he loved so much.
By the time the trip happened, Jed and I had been dating for about two months. By this point in a relationship, things have usually … erm, progressed … but not with Jed. He made the trek from Minneapolis to St. Paul every Saturday night to pick me up, sometimes with flowers or a nice bottle of wine, Italian of course. We would go out to dinner, have great conversations, maybe see a movie, then he would bring me home, kiss me good night, and leave. There was no groping, no heavy breathing, no frustrated desires.
It kind of felt like a first date, every week. It was all very nice, but there was no sizzle. I thought that maybe if I was gone for a couple weeks, he would be dying to see me—and more.
So I went to Italy and Lynn and I had a great time as usual. I bought a purple felt deco-style hat that Lynn said looked very “fetching” on me.
I had an early flight home from London, so I booked myself into a Yotel at Heathrow. Yotels are cool little hotels in airports. The rooms are tiny but mirrored all around to prevent claustrophobia. For once, I was good and didn’t drink a bottle of wine the night before a long flight. Instead, knowing Jed would be picking me up, I hydrated like crazy and went to bed early to get my beauty sleep.
I started feeling funny as soon as the plane landed. I stopped in a bathroom to check my makeup before meeting Jed, and my face was ashen and gaunt. The purple hat that had looked fetching the day before made me look like some sort of demented Dia del Muerte skeleton dancer. Still, I had plane hair so I kept it on.
The look on Jed’s face told me I hadn’t just been hard on myself. He asked if I wanted something to eat and I said yes, thinking if I got some chicken soup it might make me feel less queasy. It didn’t. It made me want to hurl, violently.
“I need to get home,” I said weakly. But I couldn’t remember which ramp my car was parked in. We drove around for a very long 15 minutes, me Trying Not to Throw Up in Jed’s SUV.
Finally, we found my car and I made a dash for it without even kissing Jed goodbye. Thankfully he drove off so he didn’t have to witness me blowing chunks in the parking ramp.
Oh, did I mention it was the coldest night of the year, around -20F (-29C)? Shaky, I managed to drive out of the airport before I pulled over, threw open the car door, and chundered on the side of the road. This happened three or four times more before I reached home, where the heat was turned down to 55F (12C). I cranked up the thermostat then started a bath of scalding hot water and lay in it shivering and shaking. What a long night.
And Jed? I broke with him a few weeks later after a couple more Groundhog Day-like dates.