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Dave: Do you still love him? After all he has done? After all the nights you cried yourself to sleep?

Me: I still need him…I’m still waiting for a real chance to prove myself that he’s worthy, that I’m worthy…

Dave: He won’t prove you anything…if you’re already feeling not good enough…

Me: I’m not expecting from him to improve…or to do miracles to my self esteem. I need to do that, in order to value myself. He’s not my therapist, he’s not my doctor or my priest. He’s my choice. My free choice. All I’m expecting from him…is to make me his first choice, his only one…

“Her white silky dress was perfectly shaping her body, making her feel sexy and self confident. The way he wanted her to feel…The dress was his choice, like the high heels sandals and the flower in her hair. And, this time, she did exactly how he said and the admiration in his eyes was the biggest reward for her. She knew she’s attracting every eyes in the restaurant, but she pretended to be cool about it. In fact…she was afraid she’ll stumble and fall, or she’ll blush, or she’ll forget her role…

Yes…this evening was all about her role. He wanted from her to play a part…to be the perfect partner/girlfriend/fiancee for his business meeting. To impress the foreign investors…and she refused at first…Because she still had doubts…could she play it till the end? Still, the conversation went smooth and she knew how to taste gracefully the best Panna Cotta she ever had. Michael’s eyes were moving from her hand to her mouth, while her lips were savoring the sweet and she could feel him smiling when she licked (as discreet as she could) her fingers. She wondered if Matteo isn’t bothered, but he seemed delighted by the effect she had on his business partner.

She tried to look interested by Diane’s (Michael’s wife) small talk about her new low carb diet and the new collection of clothes. She smiled remembering the conversations with her mother…same subjects, same fake interest…Michael and Diane were married and they looked so good together…she wondered why don’t they look at each other…but, after all, Matteo wasn’t looking at her at all…

-Look, ohhhh…he’s so dirty…Oh My God…these people don’t have security here? They just let anybody come here? And they dare to call themselves “styled”…Matteo, do something! He’s coming over! To our table! My God! My God! He’s touching Carissa! That’s so disgusting!

She smiled seeing the little boy next to her. She felt like laughing of Diane’s reaction but she wanted to be as polite as she could. The little boy was dirty, with black hair and a set of shining eyes covered by the longest eyelashes she ever saw. The rest…a thick layer of dirt was covering his skin, hands and clothes (who seemed too big and large for a small child).

-Madam…can I have cake? Please…I’m hungry and I’m poor. Can I Madam?

Before she could say anything at all, someone came in. The big guy grabbed the child by his arm and the child started to scream. Diane laugh with superiority and sarcasm.

-Finally! Oh, Carissa, honey…you got something here…yes, on your right arm…be careful, you don’t know what germs he might have on his skin.

That was too much! She took a deep breath (Matteo started to panic and she almost laugh) and hurried to catch the big guy carrying the child.

-No, let him! He’s with me! Come here, sweetie…what’s your name?

-D..d…davide. Madam…can I have cake?

-Of course you can, Davide. Here, take my spoon. Come here, this table is much too high for you.

She took the child in her arms. Michael was amused while Diane was terrified. But she cared more about Matteo’s reaction…He seemed impassible. Frozen. The child was eating so fast, almost choking on food. He turned over her and put his tiny arms around her neck.

-Thank you, Madam. Madam, do you have children? (she said no, smiling) Do you take me to your home to be your child?

She didn’t had the chance to say anything because Matteo took her by her shoulder, excusing himself in front of Michael and Diane and leading her to the car. He drove silently to his apartment. When he locked the door, she felt afraid. Looking down, like a guilty child, expecting the worse…

-Take off the dress. It’s dirty…and it smells like hell.

The dress fell of. She was afraid to breath, standing there, in front of him, wearing nothing but her underwear.

-Go to the bathroom. Clean your face, brush your teeth and your hair. And use that perfume I like. You have two minutes.

She did what he said, without resisting or saying anything at all. Still looking down, she presented herself in front of him.

-Much better. Come here.

She approached hesitatingly and when he touched her she thought he’s gonna hit her. She closed her eyes, holding her breath. Suddenly, something very lightly and smooth was covering her shoulders. His shirt. He help her adjust the long sleeves and grabbed her chin.

-You embarrassed me in front of my business partner and his wife.

-No, Matteo. You, your business partner and his wife were embarrassing me in front of that poor child, Davide.

She couldn’t believe her own audacity, but the words came out of her mouth without giving them too much reflection. She looked fearful in his eyes. Hoping to see something other than anger. He looked amused.

-Aha…we did, didn’t we, sweetie?

-Matteo…I’m sorry, but that child wanted some cake. I gave him my Panna Cotta. That was all, it wasn’t a crime. Please, try to understand…I can’t stand to let a baby in hunger…You know, when I was a child, I used to steal food from my parents to give it to the gypsies…One day they caught me. My dad punished me…I was left two days without food…only water and some left overs that my brother gave me out of pity…My parents wanted to teach me the value of food…I couldn’t eat the left overs…I felt sick and in the second day I had a terrible pain in my stomach…I almost passed out…because of hunger…Since then…

She covered her face and turned away. He came closer, taking her in his arms.

-It’s alright, sweetie…it’s over…no one’s gonna hurt you…Your father is insane…Please, don’t cry…

-But you’re upset…and you’re right, I ruined it all…You’re right to be upset…I’m so sorry, Matteo…

He started to kiss her, feeling her trembling in his arms. She was still sobbing when he looked in her eyes with all the gentleness she needed.

-Sweetie, I’m the one who’s sorry now. What you did was right, sweet angel of mine…And about Michael and Diane…forget them. Michael was starring at you the whole evening…God, I thought I’m gonna punch him when you licked your fingers and it was obvious that he wants you badly…And Diane, that stupid bitch was annoying me the whole dinner. She has the brain of a flea…Davide was more clever than her! No wonder he came to you…you were shining, baby…Carissa…

-Yes…?

-Don’t you ever lick your fingers in front of another guy. Do you understand? (she said yes, blushing). And, Carissa…

-Yes, Matteo?

-I’m sorry for embarrassing you in front of that child…”.

Dave: You lost me…I’m still at the part about your father…Two days without food…I can’t even begin to describe how abusive this behavior is…

Me: I think that since then…I started to feel desperation…every time I experienced hunger. Mine or others hunger…I guess that my desperation wasn’t just about food…but also about emotional hunger…

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