Excellent Adventure -
All’Improvviso Amore - Suddenly Love
by Andrea Lena DiMaggio
Il vento che soffia piano
Questa notte cambia il mio destino
E sento che il cuore ancora si sorprenderà
Tonight is changing my destiny
And I feel that my heart will be surprised
"Since we don't have a professional relationship here, I think it wise to continue to work together, but your other issues demand the sort of attention I cannot provide"
Katie was providing her counseling as a blessing to the trans-gender community, but still felt constrained by ethical expectations and certainly wanted Claire to receive as much help as possible. Katie was certainly disappointed at being unable to help her friend, but Todd's problems went beyond the gender identity issues that brought him to Katie in the first place.
Again, it was Claire who sat across from Katie, as it had been the last few weeks. But Todd spoke, almost on behalf of her.
"But I trust you...it's so hard to talk...to open up to another counselor?" Katie nodded to acknowledge Todd's dilemma.
"I just don't know...ever since we started talking about my mother's abuse, I've had this feeling, sort of deep-down, that something was wrong...that something was about to happen, and it doesn't feel right...or good."
"That's why I think I need some help here...I don't have the experience regarding this. Most of my experience before I opened up this office was as a guidance counselor in a middle school. I certainly want to do whatever I can, but you need someone who has expertise and training in the matter." Katie looked and it was almost as if Todd had disappeared back into the Claire persona as she began to cry soft tears, sobbing gently.
'Dr. Kelly, I can't begin to thank you for the help you've given me." She choked back a sob and continued.
"I'm so afraid of what I'm going to find out. I've had these feelings for the past few months...It's scary...like something bad is about to happen, and I can't get it out of my mind that it has to do with what ha....happened...to my...mother." By now the tears were flowing freely. It had become all confused and jumbled up. Claire almost hated her mother for how she was treated growing up. The Todd part of her...mostly who she really was...was ignored, and the Claire part of her...the part of her that tried so hard to please her mother, was confused at the compassion she was having for a woman who treated the child as an outcast.
She wanted to hate her mother, but after remembering the horrible treatment her own mother had received; the rejection and the abuse and neglect and the sexual dysfunction that had destroyed her family; Claire felt compelled not just to pity her mother. She wanted so very badly to remain in the hatred she had nurtured over the years toward her mother, but the part of her that was kind and loving and forgiving; the part of her that was so much like her gentle namesake...there would no longer be hatred or bitterness.
"Dr. Arcola is a friend of mine from grad school. He went on to get his MD to go along with his psych degree, and you'll be in good hands." Katie smiled and offered Claire a bottle of water, which she accepted quickly. Claire had begun to become ill, with no discernible reason other than nausea that took her at a moment's notice. She was struggling with the underlying uneasiness, and Katie was certain she knew what was causing Todd/Claire's problem, but wanted a second opinion as well as a resource for them.
"What do you think is happening...tell me what is going on when this nausea overtakes you?
"I really can't say...." Claire's voice trailed off, but the look on her face indicated she was beginning to understand what was happening, and it was more an understandable unwillingness than lack of insight.
"Darlin' as my mother used to say, your voice is sayin' no, but your face is sayin' yes. It sounds to me like you're afraid to speak what you already suspect."
Claire said nothing and looked away. Katie felt more helpless than at any time in her career, believing she had failed Claire and by extension, Jeannie and the couple’s relationship.
Se guardo questo cielo immenso
E la luna innamorata si illuminerà di me
If I watch this immense sky
And the loving moon will brighten up with me
And will be...
"I'm telling you, Gina. I honestly don't know what to do." While much of Jeannie's anger with Todd had dissipated, she still was upset and almost felt put upon.
"I mean, what the fuck am I supposed to do? It isn't about Claire anymore...Don't get me wrong...that still pisses me off that he didn't say a word...not a word about this. I had no idea." Gina resisted the temptation to offer an opinion. Todd had been completely understanding and stood by Jeannie when she finally confronted her parents about their own neglect of Jeannie, being preoccupied for most of her life with parties and functions that included wine and liquor and excluded little girls, even the day or several days after those parties were over.
"Let me ask you this, hon...What do you think you're supposed to do? What in your heart tells you how to treat him? Do you still love him" Gina knew there was still a spark left in the relationship; they had shared as much the other night.
Jeannie looked at Gina as if she had two heads...as if what she were about to say was obvious.
"Of course I still love him...I wouldn't be so fucking angry with him if I didn't” She went from vehement and angry to sad in a second.
"What happened here? Why did this happen to him? Now he won't talk to me...It's like he's afraid of something. He just looks at me with that stupid Frodo Baggins "I'm okay" face of his and walks away. It isn't okay....I want my husband back."
"Sounds an awful lot like a girl I used to know..." Gina rubbed her nose, remembering again where Jeannie punched her when they were kids.
"Sounds like you're ready to fight...like the time Connie Calabrese said something about your dad and you clocked her...knocked her on her ass."
Gina thought for a second and started to laugh.
"What's so funny?" Jeannie tried not to, but laughter can be contagious and she was giggling without even knowing what Gina was laughing about.
"Erica...you remember Erica McPherson...she married Mark Kiernan...and Connie and me and even Maura, Mark's sister?"
"Yeah?" Jeannie looked at Gina sideways. "I'm not following you...what?"
"We all have two things in common, three if you count that some of us go to the same church."
"And what would that be?" Jeannie was beginning to figure it out, but Gina just went ahead.
"You punched each of us...right in the face. You were so angry back then." Gina was going to add "and rightfully so, with those loons who posed as parents,' but she held off.
"And now we're all friends...well, Maura's gone..but the rest of us...life-long...like a club...you know...the Sisterhood of the Traveling Punching Bag?" Gina nearly snorted her coffee at the cleverness of her own joke.
"And your point being?" Jeannie asked in mock-angry tone.
"Well, you've always been a fighter...maybe now's the time to get those boxing gloves out of storage?"
Respiro te nell'universo
I tuoi occhi son due stelle nell'oscurità
I breathe of you in the universe
Your eyes are two stars in the darkness
Rocco sat outside the bedroom door, gnawing on one of Gina’s old tennis shoes. The door was closed, and normally the shoe wouldn’t have held his attention; he’d be whimpering and barking to come in, but a long day playing with the Sapienza twins…Jeannie Sinclair’s aunt lived down the street, and her two beagles often entertained their gentleman friend Rocco…and he was tired.
“What do you think, darlin’?” Katie asked as she nuzzled her wife’s neck. Katie enjoyed kissing Gina’s neck just behind the ears, which was highly distracting for Gina, who wanted to answer the question.
“I’d bet that Claire…Todd was abused too…sounds too close to home…There was a woman at church…you remember her…Alicia Bartilameo…she started having flashbacks when she was in her late twenties…out of the blue…she spoke at a woman’s meeting a while back. Sometimes this stuff stays down deep for years.”
“I think you’re right. I need you to be prayin,” Katie said, breaking off her attention to Gina’s left ear. “They…Claire and Todd…we should just pick one or the other when we’re talking…”
“Todd agreed to go seen Donny Arcola for this…I’m afraid he’s on the edge of finding out just what happened…not just more about his mother…but to him as well. I'm in way over my head.”
“I think you’re right,” Gina said, adding quickly, "Donny's got the background for this." She noticed the tears in Katie’s eyes.
“You can’t let this get to you, honey. You’ve done everything you could, but he needs help that you can’t provide. And keep in mind where he might be if you hadn’t helped him at all.”
“Oh, I know…It just hurts to see someone in as much pain as he is…as much pain as Jeannie is in. How is she handling this all?”
“Not bad, actually. I got her to read that book, you know…"My Husband Betty." She didn’t want to admit to it, but I think it helped her figure out that Claire isn’t just some thing that Todd wants to do. She’s found a counselor that is willing to work with them when they’re ready but I’m afraid that’s not going to happen anytime soon.
“The calm before the storm?” Katie asked.
“Yeah…what those two are going through…” Gina sat up and looked at Katie. She was exhausted, and the stress of the day had gotten her down. She looked up at Gina with tears in her eyes.
“It’s going to be okay…they’re going to make it. They’re fighters and you’ve sent Todd to the best doctor in the area.’ She smiled at Katie who had put her head in Gina’s lap and was crying softly.
“And honey…Claire has the best counselor as well. I know this is going to be long and painful, but they’re in God’s hands as well.
Gina lifted Katie’s head and cradled her in her arms. She began to kiss her on the face, tenderly brushing Katie’s eyelashes with her lips. She tasted the salt of Katie’s tears as she continued to caress her wife’s face.
“I love you so much, my dear heart. You are my love…my treasure…” She kissed Katie on the lips. Katie was sobbing by now, but even so welcomed the passionate kisses from her bride. Soft hands began to explore Katie’s body. She wept, at last not out of shame but out of relief, feeling utterly loved. Her mouth opened and emitted a soft sigh as Gina turned her attention to Katie’s breasts.
“It’s okay, my dear sweet love,” Gina said, tears filling her own eyes as she kissed her lover. Even as she continued to cry, Katie raised her body slightly to meet Gina’s hands, which were softly caressing and squeezing. Gina’s fingernails danced across Katie’s nipples, evoking an even louder but still sweet sigh from Katie.
“Let me…’ Gina said as her hands probed below, the same fingernails scratched Katie's thigh lightly, while her other hand stroked Katie’s shaft. She leaned back and pulled Katie close,, kissing her passionately before straddling her lover for that intimacy and release they both sought.
“I love you, Katherine Agnes Kelly. I loved you the first time I saw you when you tried to hide from me in your brother’s kitchen. I found the man I loved was a beautiful woman as well. You were so ashamed, but I didn't care...you were so sad and scared that I'd leave but I fell madly in love with you when you wept in my arms. I don’t think there’s anything more beautiful than two women crying joyfully together.”
Gina nuzzled Katie’s neck in the same manner as Katie had only moments before with hers.
Their bodies moved as one as their passion mixed with their spirit; their tears mingling as they kissed and the fears and anxieties of the day were washed away in a flood of emotion and release.
Moments later, the two held each other and wept. Katie’s head was almost buried in Gina’s breast as days of worry and feelings of failure washed away with her tears. Her own hair was soaked with Gina’s tears, as her wife wept out of relief for her lover….the stress they both had felt from the worry over their friends was gone, replaced by a joyful surrender to the end of the day. Soft cooing and murmurs replaced the sobbing which in turn were replaced by the quiet soft sound of Gina singing in Katie’s ear.
Rocco raised his head, taking his attention away from the sneaker. He stood up, looked at the still closed bedroom door and softly padded down the hallway to find something to eat.
M'invade il cuore e l'anima e mi salverà
E sarà naturale, come respirare
E sarà vero amore, che guarisce il cuore
Luce dentro me.....nascerà!
Suddenly Love, like the sea
Flooding my heart and my soul
And will save me
It will be natural like breathing
And will be true love healing my heart
Will rise the Light inside of me!
All’Improvviso Amoreas sung by Josh Groban
From the Album Closer
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