I knew it the minute he mentioned north and south Italy.

“It’s very different. North and south Italy. Have you been there?”

He’s from close to Rome, and I have family born in Sicily. I have an Australian passport in my closet. I consider myself a global citizen.

“No,” I tell him growing bored of the conversation and already forgetting how we met in the first place. “I haven’t been there.”

His wife left him a month ago, and you broke my heart about five years back. And while he thinks he’s about to get laid — he doesn’t know that I was already fucked a very long time ago.

“Oh… sei un liutaio? Che è così romantico…

E tu… sei una bella scrittrice…

When I was a little girl, I didn’t realize there is a place where you don’t feel anything. I learned that around my 30th birthday. People say we all learn sooner or later.

I try to know better than comparisons.

He’s gone now, somewhere across the water with the other ones who can’t afford to live in Manhattan. Brooklyn… Queens, maybe. At one point he was living in Long Island.

I have never once visited Long Island. Why the fuck would I ever go there?

There are a few things I like about living on the east side, the sunrise. The bike messenger I always see wearing a boombox, riding hands free. I like the chubby Vietnamese girl who sells me beer downstairs. When her uncle isn’t working, I always leave her a bottle from my six pack.

I came back to the city because I wanted to belong somewhere. I wanted to be a piece that makes what Manhattan is. Because when you left, I knew there was nowhere I would ever belong.

But there was still someplace that I had to be.

The last time he spun me was on east 44th street. I knew it was done before he pulled out and the feeling of emptiness wasn’t even worth writing about.

I remember thinking that. Anyways. Allora…