Monday, November 13, 2006


I've been talking to my Milanese boyfriend online for nine months - long enough to have a dual nationality child, had we ever slept together, which we haven't. He visits me in London. He's put on weight. I've put on weight. We both looked better on webcam.

We met in Tanzania, where he was working as a safari guide and I was in search of a fantasy of east Africa, or trying to impress my father, or trying to impress myself. We were in a restaurant, I was glowing with happiness, he laughed at all my jokes. For the next nine months we sit at computers in various different parts of the world and show each other parts of our bodies on little webcams. He hates London, but is so proud of Milan that you'd think he'd built it with his own hands: the cathedral, the fashion, the food. I buy a cookbook and read about how to make fresh pasta, as if reading about life on an alien planet. I can't afford the fashion. I don't care about the cathedral.

I persist in loving him anyway for several months after I know I can never love him at all, for the sake of something abstract: romance, or consistency, or nostalgia for things that never happened. He tells me you can walk everywhere in Milan. "So walk," I should have said, but didn't, because even the saddest and most pointless love has some small weight in the world. When I last spoke to him, we found we had nothing to say.


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