Learning Italian – Lesson 01



Dusk found me waiting in a concrete park on the edge of the touristic center of Como. So did he. He was taller than I expected him to be and he wore a vintage sport coat with patches on the elbows.

Across a window table at the bar he’d chosen, we spoke eloquently for a time about the things we had written and dreamt of writing. I sipped a whiskey cocktail and he had a beer. He’d been in Como all his life while I was half the world away, but we were alike. Kindred spirits; both a little left of center, a bit too smart to have ever been cool. At intervals, we stumbled over the syntax, speaking mostly in English. I was charmed by the practiced manner in which he pronounced the r’s. I was taken in by the warmth of his character.

He’d just finished filming a documentary in Bangladesh and wanted me to watch it with him. Having decided, two hours in, that I quite enjoyed his company and that he was not a threat to my physical person, I followed him out the door and toward his place along less picturesque lanes than those I knew. It wasn’t far, he assured me. On the way I asked, just to fill the silence, what his next project would be.

“I’d like to make a documentary about my life. My lifestyle.”

“Your lifestyle?”


The whiskey had slowed my reaction time. I was silent.

“You have a different word in English. Polyamory. I don’t like it, but it’s basically the same. It means-”

“I know what it means.”

I fell a little farther behind. I’d been misled. That wasn’t fair to assume, I suppose. If I’d asked him over a whiskey and a beer if he were currently involved in stable relationships with several other women, he might have told me the truth. It was on me for not having had the wherewithal to ask. His confession confused me in any case, left me inexplicably disappointed. Still, I followed. I didn’t have a burning passion to see his documentary. Rather I’d simply spent every evening alone since my arrival in Italy three weeks earlier, and, despite this revelation, was in no rush to return to an empty flat.

The film hadn’t finished downloading by the time we arrived. He poured us each a glass of wine and managed to unearth the first story he’d ever written. He read it to me in Italian, mocking his eight-year-old self as he did so. The action took place in the Wild Wild American West, I knew, but the rest I could only pretend to comprehend. The sound of his voice and the sultry cadence of his mother tongue went well with the drink in my hand.

The documentary ready, we took our places at a safe distance from one another on the sofa. I put my glasses on so that I could read the Italian subtitles. He settled in with a notebook and a pen. The film was about a priest who, in the 1980’s and 90’s, developed a sort of cooperative for women so that they could improve their stations in life and their status in the community. It was amazing. When it was over, I paid my sincere compliments, wrapped a scarf about my neck and bid him goodnight.

“It would be easier to reach your flat in the morning,” he offered. He stood apart from me, his hands in his back pockets. He smiled. When I didn’t answer right away, he added, “I’m a proud couch surfer,” and nodded toward that particular piece of furniture. I thought about it. Apart from the mention of non-monogamy, he had neither said nor done a single off-putting thing all evening. It was late. Public transportation had stopped running. A cab would have cost me dearly. Add to that, I wasn’t even sure I could find my way back to the city center in the dark.

I sighed dramatically. Then I took off the scarf.

When he knew I had made up my mind to stay, his hands came out of his pockets and he stepped toward me. “Maybe we could—”

I laughed. I’d been had. “No,” I told him.

He was flirtatious; not intimidating. “Just a little -”


“Are you sure you don’t want to—”

“No. I mean, yes.”

“I think you don’t know what you want.”

“I think you think American women are easy.”

“No,” he sighed, “The only other one who stayed here wouldn’t let me fuck her either.”

“Ha! Good.” I stood looking at him, looking back on the evening. For two entire hours it had all been so promising. He was good-looking and laughed easily. He listened. He was intriguing. He had a shy smile and a penchant for self-deprecation that belied his confidence. If I hadn’t been so stupid as to ask about the focus of his next project, I might be more agreeable to this current line of questioning.

I was a little drunk and a little sleepy. I collapsed onto the sofa more or less, and he sat down beside me, closer this time than Şanlıurfa Escort before. He smelled nice and he spoke well and he had been an imaginative child. He’d directed a documentary on something pertinent and inspiring, and now he was sitting there beside me and I couldn’t help it. I wanted to touch him.

He proved himself intuitive as well.

“Do you want to be kissed?” he asked. It was a small thing to allow; a kiss. A consolation. But it was as though it had nothing at all to do with him. As though he only offered because he wanted me to be happy and supposed a kiss would serve that purpose. He was looking in my eyes when he asked, and I nodded.

It was as lovely as I imagined, hours before, when he was telling me about his desire to be a screen writer and about learning to play the violin. There was tenderness. In the kiss. In the way his fingers moved along the curve of my neck and across my collar bone and in the way that he breathed. He kissed for the sake of kissing. He took his time. As it went on, I felt myself coming undone, letting him in, this stranger. I was consciously choosing to disregard the notion that I was one among dozens. This was a hobby for him, this thing I might have mistaken for a human connection. He tasted like wine and remembrance and his lips were so wonderfully soft. I moaned into his mouth without meaning to. When it was over, he was above me, and I opened my eyes.

“Why me?” I murmured.

He laughed. “This is a strange question. Do you always ask it?”

“I’ve never been here before,” I said. It was a simple explanation. “Why did you want to meet me?”

“I don’t know.” He lay back on the pillows and stared at the ceiling, as if trying to recall.

“For me, it was your eyes,” I told him. “You have incredibly kind eyes.”

He thanked me and tried, “You have a nice smile.”

It was a cop-out, I knew, but I let it go, and we kissed until I was dizzy and my hands had begun to wander.

“Can I see you?” he asked, even as he lifted the hem of my blouse. Without a word, I sat up so that he could remove it more easily. Resistance was futile, I knew. My body would win out over my mind. I am of an age. I wanted to be touched, caressed, seen. He seemed more than willing. I took the upper hand for a moment, straddling his lap and pulling his t-shirt up over his head. He was surprised, delighted. I ran my hands over his chest, subconsciously counting the birthmarks there. When we kissed, I pressed my body to his, feeling the electrifying warmth of his skin against my own. Then there was the sweet release when he undid the clasp of my bra and with his fingertips traced the impression it had made in my skin. Still, I was hesitant. He must have been able to sense it. If I were completely sober, I would already have stopped.

He lifted me off of his lap and set me on the cushion beside him. He knelt on the floor between my knees, disentangling me from the straps of my bra as he went. I was exposed to him, to his hands, to his mouth, and he took full advantage. I shuddered in sheer anticipation even before his lips closed over my nipple. I felt as though I were seventeen. Everything he did to me was new and beautiful and when his tongue moved I thought I had never felt anything so erotic. He might have mistaken me for an inexperienced lover. I don’t consider myself to be, but this, he, the idea of something so purely physical was something altogether unknown to me.

The difference in our height worked to his advantage and mine as, from his position on the floor, he could still kiss me on the mouth. He did, and then he pressed his forehead to mine for a moment.

“Can I make a request, since we’re both a little weird?” His lips grazed my neck. “I imagine if you went home right now, you would masturbate, no?”

He seemed to want me to say yes, so I didn’t actually consider before I admitted to it.

“I want to watch you.” He had to have seen something in the expression on my face; uncertainty perhaps. He moved closer and whispered in my ear, “Or I could just listen. You made such a sound when we first kissed. I can imagine what you are like when…” He never finished the sentence. His mouth was on mine as he tugged at the button and zipper of my jeans and then guided me by the wrist. I did what he asked as he swallowed my every sound, and I rose and fell beneath him in need. I was surprised at myself in the instant before reason left me. I writhed and whimpered, felt the tide swell within. At length, I held his bottom lip between my teeth and came. Only after the first orgasm subsided did I remember where I was and that the hands pressed against my shoulders, holding me down were those of Şanlıurfa Escort Bayan a man I’d only just met. The look in his eyes was enough for me to know that watching me climax hadn’t been enough for him.

He stood with his knees on either side of mine, and I looked on with some fascination as my own hands, the fingers on the right now slick and damp, reached for him. He watched. I confessed without shame, even while I manipulated his belt, that I had never been with anyone I wasn’t madly in love with.

“This is your first casual sex.” He grinned as he said it as though he were proud.

“Not sex,” I asserted.


Once I had his belt undone, I could slip my hands inside his jeans and move them down over his hips. He helped me to get them off and then lay down in just his underwear so that I could do as I pleased. He didn’t push me. He didn’t seem to expect anything. He only waited, and while he waited, he touched my lips, my neck, my shoulders, and he was delicate. The night wasn’t supposed to have gone like this, I was thinking. For fear of judgment or shame or regret, I had never behaved this way. And yet here I found myself after just two drinks in another woman’s home with another woman’s partner, allowing him to wash away all the lines I’d ever drawn in the sand.

I was no longer timid in the moment that I took away the last layer separating us. At the sight of him, though, I suppressed a gasp. I couldn’t have taken him even if I’d wanted to. I wondered if he recognized my apprehension; if he’d seen it in the eyes of the countless women who had gone before me, and so I avoided his gaze. Just for a moment. Then, steeling myself, I wrapped my fingers around him and touched him with my tongue. His breathing changed but he remained still. Touching turned to teasing. He held his breath, and I let him slip past my lips.

“Oh, si,” he muttered, his voice deep and unsteady.

I took his cock as far as I could, until he pressed against the back of my throat. His hands were in my hair, but still he did not move. I swallowed. He moaned. There was nothing so exquisite as this, as knowing I had complete control. He was helpless. I released him, drew my tongue along the length of him and took him in again. He sat up. I knelt on the floor at his feet, still in my jeans and boots and a necklace, compelled by the sound of his voice and the shattered rhythm of his breath. In a sudden motion, he put his hand down the front of my pants. I was too far gone to fight as, with knowing fingers, he explored my body. I was wet and yielding. When he was inside, I lost focus and moved to stop him.

“It’s not true that a woman can do two things at once?”

“Not when one of those things is have an orgasm.”

He kept his hand where it was, but let me move against him, controlling what I felt. With my mouth, meanwhile, I led him on, changing pace and my technique. I kissed the head of his cock, drew figure eights with the tip of my tongue, took him in again and again as deeply as I could manage, torturing him just a little.

Then he stopped me. Lifted my chin, my eyes to meet his.

“I’m going to come,” he warned.

I smiled. “It’s alright.”

“Not everyone likes it in the mouth on the first date.”

The words. It was a hell of a time for semantics, I knew. On the one hand he was admitting that the others had indeed been countless, on the other, he was suggesting that this wouldn’t be the only time we were together.

“It’s alright,” I said again, placing myself squarely in the camp of those who wanted it in the mouth.

He smiled and then laughed. “But you still have your shoes on,” he pointed out. It was an apology of sorts. I stood in front of him and took them off. Then the necklace. He reached for me and gripped my waistband, but he waited for my consent. I gave it. He pulled hard, the tenderness having given way at last. I was startled, thrilled, entirely vulnerable to him in the darkness. He positioned me on the sofa and knelt over me, his head toward my feet. I took him in again, adjusting to the slightly awkward angle to accommodate. Wrapping both arms around my waist, he held me steady with more strength than I would have thought him capable. His mouth was insistent, and I would have screamed if it were possible. I would have shied away, but he was powerful and relentless and his tongue drove me over the edge without warning. I pressed upwards, my thighs trembling. Still he would not let me go until my muscles gave. He took his cock from my mouth, moved backward on the couch and helped me to sit up, my back against his chest. I couldn’t see properly. And then he leaned close to my ear and Escort Şanlıurfa kissed the sensitive place just beneath, the tenderness of that kiss a stark contrast to the force with which he pinned my body to his own, one arm beneath my breasts. Holding me tightly, he drove two fingers into my still throbbing pussy, and this time I cried out. There was at once a violence in him. I struggled in his grasp, but he was unyielding. The palm of his hand worked my clit, his fingers threatening to tear another orgasm from my body.

“You’re so tight,” he growled.

With my eyes closed, I could have believed he was fucking me. He pulled his fingers out and slammed into me with a fierce rhythm, his palm making a slapping sound against me as he did. I came hard, but he had me in such a position as to prevent me from squeezing my legs together. I realized I wouldn’t be able to stop him when it became too much, but he knew just when to slow down, when he had pushed me to a limit. He loosened his grip enough that I was able to turn around. I fell on him as if in desperation, licking and sucking his cock with the same abandon he’d shown me. “Si, oh, si,” he repeated. He gripped my waist, slipped a finger into me from behind. When I moaned, my lips vibrated and he began thrusting into me, choking me. I held on. I dug my nails into the backs of his thighs, and he let go. Leaning over me, completely lost, he came down my throat. And when he had finished, I let him go.

It was quiet. He lay back against the pillows and brought me to him, held me. I heard his heartbeat slowing.

“How do you feel,” he asked. His voice was soft again.



I thought for a moment and chose the word, “Contenta.”

He held me tighter, and I felt more than saw him smile.

I closed my eyes, my head on his chest. His fingers had somehow become entwined in mine.

“Do you want to sleep alone or that I sleep with you?”

The thought of ever being apart from him was, at that moment, impossible to bear. “With you,” I said.

He led me to a small room lined on one side with bookshelves and cluttered with musical instruments, where he opened the sofa into a bed and commenced fitting it with sheets.

“Do you do this every night?” I asked.

“It is a rule,” he said. “Well, it is not my rule, but it is a rule of non-monogamy that we don’t share the bed with anyone but our partner.”

This was a vague explanation, perhaps further convoluted by the language barrier, but I understood. This was not his bedroom. It was the room he shared with the other women. I refused to let my mind start down that particular path. The night had been far too perfect. He covered me up and said he had to fix two things on the documentary before the screening the following morning. Once he had them done, he would come to bed.

By the time he returned, I’d fallen into a deep sleep. I didn’t realize he was there until I felt his hand prying apart my thighs. I’d put my underwear back on, but he moved them aside and slipped two fingers inside of me. God, he knew what he was doing. Before I was even fully aware of where I was or who I was with, I was grinding my hips against him, moaning softly. I buried my face in his neck and came one last time, squeezing and soaking his wonderful fingers. I reached for him then, but he held me at bay. He suggested, “something known in the Far East as penetrative sex.” But I wasn’t willing and he knew. “The difference in height might pose a problem,” he mused. He kissed my lips, my ears, my neck until I was giggling. He held me to him and I fell asleep in his arms.

The next morning, I woke in unfamiliar surroundings beside a man I did not recognize. I slipped from beneath the covers, careful not to disturb him. In the room were boxes of tampons and framed photographs in black and white of a woman with dark eyes and a pretty smile. The room, the man in the bed and the night we’d shared belonged to someone else. I watched him for a moment. While his eyes were closed, while I couldn’t see them, I was resolute. I could walk away. I knew I’d have to go before he could look at me. Quietly, I dressed and went out into the living room for my glasses, jacket and scarf. But it was too much for me to leave without saying goodbye, so I tiptoed back into the room where he slept and quietly kissed his forehead. He stirred and stretched and then opened his eyes. I clung to my resolve.

“Good luck with the screening today,” I said coolly.

He propped himself up on one elbow and ran a hand through his hair. “Grazie.”

“And,” I whispered, seemingly unable to help myself, “thank you for last night.”

He put a hand behind my head and drew me in for a kiss. “Thank you.”

I let myself out the door to the flat, then the door to the building and then out the front gate. When the third had closed behind me, I laughed aloud in the street. I was walking away somehow unscathed and knowing, beyond a doubt, that I’d never see him again.