It was 2001. I knew some Italian, but not enough to have a full conversation or express myself. Saying that, some things I did understand.
Back then, I happened to frequent Ostia beach around 3 or 4 times a week; I had to work on that tan of course. That’s when I saw him, the tall, dark and very handsome hunk bathing not too far from me. His natural tan and curled hair made him look so sexy! We spent most of the day eye-flirting. I hoped he would come up to me and ask for my number, I even contemplated asking for his.
Then one day, he approached me and asked the time. I nearly jumped on him right there and then. The conversation was short lived but it wasn’t long before we met again; ee had both become regulars at the same beach. We exchanged numbers. After spending some time together, it became apparent as to why he was so beautiful - he was half-Italian and half-Moroccan - what a beautiful mix. I asked him where he lived. He told me, “Via Veneto”. In my head I thought, “Jeez, I’m a broke-ass English teacher renting a room in Tiburtina”. I then asked him, “What kind of work you do?” He told me he made jewelry. I was quite impressed.
For our first real date, we met in Piazza Navona. We walked, talked and even kissed! It was a lot of fun. Of course at the end of the evening, like most men, he asked if he could accompany me back at mine - to which I replied, “Well, you live on Via Veneto, I really would like to see your place!”. That’s when he let me know that he didn’t have a place. I was confused, thinking my Italian must be worse than I thought - I couldn’t understand what he meant. I added, “Of course you have a place on Via Veneto and you make jewelry. No?”. “I live on a bench on Via Veneto and I make jewelry that I sell from a cart near Piazza Navona!!”. I was obviously not going to date a homeless man. I was already struggling with living in a new country, learning the language and trying to figure it all out. So, I stopped talking to him; he had no money on his phone to make calls anyway. (Had it been today, with all free wifi in the city, he would have been able to find me anywhere).
A few months later, around Christmas time, I happened to be walking around the area. I was on a double date with a good friend of mine, a friend who had previously met my homeless love. While walking, laughing and looking at the street-stalls, I heard someone call my name. I looked around and saw a man with two dogs leaning up against the wall of a small street that lead onto Piazza Navona. He had an unkept beard, an old, oversized winter jacket, and ragged boots. I didn't recognize him at first, but my friend did - “That’s Corado”. “What the hell!” I yelled a little too loudly. Right then I decided it was time to make a quick exit. We headed back to where we had come from. I don’t usually like backtracking, but this was an exception.
That was the last time I saw him again! He does cross my mind from time to time, and I really do hope that his sexy ass has got it together.
Submitted by: Patrizia Di Gregorio