The OGs In African American Female Group Travel Experiences
Encouraging black women since 2006
Baby Food! The order of stories are chronological not by any importance in my life but “Baby Food” could be a major contender if the boyfriend position ever opens.
I call him Baby Food because he is years younger than me. Like baby food he is soft (to the touch), mushy (sentimental) and easy to digest (uncomplicated).
We meet in July at a “Black Music” party and open-air venue on the banks of the Tiber River beneath Ponte San Angelo (the bridge of Angels). The location of the party has always been one of my favorites as it is also the same spot the famous river party scene in Audrey Hepburn’s Roman Holiday. A movie everyone should watch before visiting the eternal city. The movie was shot in 1953 and not much has changed in the city. Come to think of it, not much has changed in Rome in 100s of years. One of the reasons I love it so dearly! Rome has survived devastating floods, the plague, and numerous invasions and yet she still stands proudly. The word “Rome” actually means strength and vigor, which seems appropriate for a city and culture that has withstood the test of time with only minor changes.
The night of the Baby food meeting, I was hanging out with my girlfriends from Finland and Sweden. The night had started at the Draft bar in Campo dei Fiori, a small lively medieval square in the middle of Rome, filled with bars and restaurants. I had not seen Miira, a bubbly blond from Espop, Finland in 2 years. We sat for hours informing each other of our life events over the last 24 months. I talked of my travels and growth of BlackGirlTravel.com and Miira of her courtship and recent engagement to the love of her life. Yes, an Italian.
My plan was to only come out for a couple of drinks and head back to the hotel but, Miira was not having it. She insisted that the night continue. How can I say no to such a warm smile? Her friends Hana and Charlotte, two stunning tall Swedes join us and off we go to the “Black Music Party”.
The party is packed and all heads turn to get a peek at the unusual sight of three blondes (two over 5’9””) and a tall ( and striking I must say)Black girl together. Minutes after arrival we are whisked away to a private bottle service area where I am introduced (presented) to the alpha male. The introduction went along the lines of “This is Giuseppe blah blah blah (in my head) and he is an important man in Rome. My reply “I am Fleace, an important woman from Los Angeles". My arrogant humor was lost on Mr. Blah Blah Blah and his attention turned to the blondes. Within seconds the underlings of Mr. Blah Blah Blah (like hounds waiting in the pecking order)are trying to make their move. Bored with the entire scene, I step outside the bottle service area, Miira follows while Hanna and Charlotte remain to sip champagne.
The music is pumping and I start dancing while talking to Miira. Knowing that I have an audience; a little extra is added to my normal moves. Mira is watching the party from over my shoulders. She leans in and whispers that I have admirers. I whisper…”I know”. My next dance move required a 360 degree turn that allows me to survey the onlookers. One, in particular, caught my eye. Not because he was good looking (which he was) but it was something about the excitement in his eyes as he watched me. I paused briefly to make eye contact (see” abitato Italiano” in the Pantaloni Verdi story) and he smiled so sincerely that there as a twinkle in his eyes. I completed my turn and waited. The next song played and he moved in closer waiting for another signal. I turned to look at the bar, actually to look for him and now he is directly behind me. Our eyes meet again, this time I smile. He seemed shocked yet excited by my approval. He steps closer and starts speaking Italian. Mi dispiace, non parlo italiano (I’m sorry, I don’t speak Italian), I reply. Americana? Si! “I am Francesco, you are very beautiful.” Grazie, mio nome è Fleace (Thank you, my name is Fleace). Would you like to dance, I ask. This is a sign to the other admirers that a choice has been made... for now. We dance and he asks my age, I say 34 (HEY, I am in Rome... don’t judge me lol), he says he is 32. Age to me is on a “need to know” basis. I am ageless and not bounded by time or numbers on a calendar. I am whatever I need to be at this moment in time. As I am not looking for a boyfriend, husband or plan to birth any one's babies, my age is not required information at this time. I am free to be whatever I choose to be...tonight its 34 ! ;-)
Francesco’s admiration excites me. It is a combination of teenage innocents and unfiltered magnetism. I am drawn to him like a moth to fire. How can this be, in Italian years, he is still a child. Ahhh... but I am NOT Italian... I am “A Black Women in Italy”, where any and everything is possible. Under the stars of a warm Roman night, I allow myself to reconnect with a part of me that has been hidden away for years. I am innocent and non-judgmental. I have no past in which to analyze this moment. I know nothing of heartbreak and stand free to enjoy these moments for what they are ... pure joy.
We dance and talk until the party ends at 5am. With a hint of a new day on the horizon, I am walking up the stairs to Castel Sant' Angelo (Castle of the Holy Angel) to hail a taxi. Castel Sant' Angelo was built in 135 AD - 139 AD as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian. It is one of the most popular and recognizable landmarks in Rome. It is said that a vision of the archangel Michael appeared at the castle announcing the end of the Plague in Rome. Today atop of the Castel Sant'Angelo, Michael stands mighty and proud, sheathing his sword.
As we stood in the orange light of the castle, Francesco tells me he is a musician and feels inspired to write a song about me and this night. I am speechless and fill with girlie giddiness. He offers his telephone number and makes me promise to call him. I promise with a kiss on his cheek and rode off into the dawn. In the taxi, ride reality comes crashing in as I start thinking about our age difference. I sink into the leather seat closing my eyes to reliving the evening. By the time the taxi arrives at my destination, only one thought was in my mind. No matter how this story ends, I will always have the memories of this night.
Sometimes we must allow ourselves to have the innocents of a baby to truly enjoy the “Baby Food” of life. I kept my promise to call Francesco, a decision I have not come regret. The passion between us is undeniable! I can never allow myself to be along with this man as one of us may be raped and it will not be me. :)
You can hear the song he wrote for me on Youtube. I do not have the heart to tell him my eyes are naturally blue/grey. He is an amazing guitarist by not the best singer. It is the sentiment that counts. www.youtube.com/watch?v=kY5AGp_vTL4&feature=relmfu
BTW.. Recently he confessed to only being 28 years old. Lord help me!
Note to anyone visiting Italy: Due to smoking and sun tanning, most Italians look older than they are. It is a good rule to subtract at least 5 year from how Italians may LOOK.
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