Chapter 6

Chapter 6

The beginning of my relationship with Jacques

The week I was back from Morocco, I honestly was not sure of what would have been next in my life and in my “relationship” with him.

Rationally, it was just a holiday love story.

Emotionally, it was the love of my life I had been waiting since I was a child, lost in my romantic reads.

As I said, the day after I was back home, I received 21 red roses.

Every night I would receive a very long and intense phone call from him; he was everything I was dreaming in my lonely nights as a single.

He was sweet, delicate, yet passionate and funny.

He kept telling he loved me and he would come to Italy to meet my parents.

I trusted him, of course, but could not really believe it was possible. It was hard for me to figure out that a man like him would do all of that for me.

A relationship between us would have impossible.

Demanding, more than that. Impossible!

I was so busy with my clients travelling with and for them; he was supposed to go to Lebanon the following year.

We were living in two different countries. We had two very unique careers and we had to face the truth.

It was impossible.

The thing is, when it comes to feelings and emotion, when Love is involved, there is no rational schema, no truth, no fixed dogma.

I loved him.

He loved me.

I was totally convinced of that. We just had to work hard and figure out how to move on.

The following Wednesday, three days later since I came back home, he announced he would come on Friday.

On Friday? Here? Oh my God! I had to tell my parents.

I never had a “boyfriend” staying at our home.

I was confident my parents would understand but I had to prepare the whole thing well.

My father had always been very fond of History and Military, most of all he adored the Air Force and when young, he wanted to become a pilot but, because of his bad sight, that was not possible.

I told my parents that Jacques was a pilot, so I knew my Father would have been thrilled.

I am ashamed of this horrible lie, but I was feeling very nervous and unsecure. I wanted everything to turn out perfect.

Jacques drove from Savoie, where he was born, to Desenznao on Lake Garda. That week he was visiting his parents, before going back to Valence where he was stationed. He was unsure of how getting here, in Montichiari, so he called me from a telephone box to check the best way to arrive.

I hadn’t probably been clear enough so he was not dialing our area code and he could not obviously reach me. That was another misunderstanding. For an hour, he thought I made fun of him and that was not my phone.

In the end, he asked someone and managed to dial the correct number so I went to the highway to pick him up.

Oh my God, he was so charming, much more beautiful and charming than I recalled. Maybe 5 days without him were way too much, already.

That first weekend here with my parents was wonderful, everybody, my grandparents included, loved him.

Everyone thought he was not only very attractive, but very polite and charming.

My grandmother Alda, who lived in my present home, cooked for days.

I don’t want to sound like the Italian version of the “Fat Greek wedding”, but Italians only think of food.

At least in my family, we are obsessed with food.

The first two words Jacques learned in my parents’ home were:

“ Si” which obviously means “yes”


“Ancora” which means “more”

and, of course, everything was related to food and drinks.

I think when he left on Monday, somehow, for him, it must have been a relief…I don’t think he had ever been exposed to so much food, people, questions and looks.

Yes, because it was the Italian look, do you know what it is?

It means that my girlfriends, my grandmothers, not my Mother, because she is much more reserved, everyone else would stare at him and check each single part of his body.

The thorough physical inspection ended and he was approved.

Definitely approved! Everyone was in love with him, so by the time he left I had told my Father he was an Officer, a Lieutenant, in the Cavalry Regiment of Spahis, the most decorated Regiment in France. And, at last, that was the truth.

In those three days I did my homework. I wanted to know exactly what he was doing because, in my silly rationality, I wanted to double check whether there would have been a chance for us.

I was happy, serene, satisfied, I had everything I wanted.

Just after three days, I was sure, I was sure of my feelings. I could have married him the following weekend.

I know that saying an writing this at my age, 57, sounds ridiculous but hey…it is the truth. It’s what I strongly believe.

I don’t think we can better know a person: if we don’t understand and fully absorb their personality, their heart, their sou in a month, we will never do that.

I deeply think that time has nothing to do with the possibility of certainty of having found the right soul nor to know if he is the right one.

In my case, I knew it almost instantly.

I knew he was what I wanted.

I am not saying that we have had no problems in my life. Everybody has.

Saying the opposite is a lie.

I never lie.

But if you start totally, completely and desperately in love, you may have a chance of making it work. But love needs to be crazy, passionate, desperate. Nothing less.

I also think the physical attraction is the most important because it is the glue of a relationship. It exists from the very first instant or it does not exist. You don’t work on that. You can’t develop it. It exists or it does not exist.

Of course, if there is no involvement in his heart, soul and personality, it can’t work.

I may say, after 30 years of marriage that, if it starts with a strong , crazy, irrational and passionate relationship, and after that you share values, ideals, interest and respect him as he is, you may have a chance to make it work.

Without this passion, it can’t last.

Without this sharing of understanding and ideals, it will not work.

A marriage, in my opinion is a challenge. An everyday challenge within ourselves to continue loving and believing it is worthwhile.

Nothing is simple in life.

But this is its beauty.

If you don’t fight hard for something, it will not be so beautiful and immense when you reach your goal.

We met August 6th 1989 and from then to next August 1990 when we got married, I travelled to Valence by train each Friday to come back on Sunday and when I was lucky and my work allowed me on Monday. Every other week I would travel to him.

11 hours in the train.

My dad would drive me to the railway station in Brescia, I would go to Milan, then wait half an hour, then change train to Turin, then wait another half an hour, go to Chambéry, change again and at last, arrive in Valence.

Every weekend I was more and more convinced he was the man I wanted.

We laughed so much in these months.

He took me to beautiful places in the area around Valence, I managed to go to the most incredible parties in French Chateaux – and God knows how much I adore parties, I am a areal party girl - through his Regiment, met lots of interesting people, ate in the finest French restaurants I could dream of.

He was perfect, if perfection exists!

He came here at Christmas , Easter and in the summer; of course it was harder for him to take days off. I was self-employed so it was not hard to reschedule my appointments and classes.

At the time I was working for my clients but also teaching English from home and one night a week in a school until 11 pm.

I adored my life.

It was exactly what I dreamed of until then.

At Christma he offered me a beautiful diamond and asked me to live together in France. Of course he was French, young and modern.

IOf course I was not French nor modern!

I told him that I would move to France only if he woud marry me.

When I think f this, I asmile.

He could not understand what was the difference, only because in France everybody would do that and it did not mean he did nto want to marry me,.

But I was Italian.

I grew up thinking I would live with my man only after marrying him.

Thank God in the years, my Italian mind has loosen and expanded a little …

To make the story short, in February around Valentine’s Day he asked me to marry him.

No need to mention what I replied!


I went on the phone, dialed my parents’ number and had my Father on the phone.

When I explained Jacques and I would get married, he replied he could not understand those things and I better speak to my mother. That was my Father!

My mother was thrilled to say the least.

Remember I am Italian, so the first thing she asked was “when?”.

I said we were thinking of December so we would have time to prepare everything and add our honeymoon to the Christmas holidays.

She replied very quickly there was no way we would have a had a winter wedding, how on earth was I thinking to get dressed? And she has no ideas for a winter outfit.

Remember, this is an Italian household and things work differently from any other Country.

She recommended August, and immediately I thought that was not a bad idea because I would have had my summer holidays and then my wedding and honeymoon.

What a great plan!

The following months were hectic, he has his stays on the mountains, for a swimming pool brevet but we never missed our appointments twice a month.

One thing I have to say and now makes me laugh each time I tell the story but at the time made me cross with him: when I arrived for the first time both in Valence and Savoie, each one who met me, his colleagues, his friends, even his brother Pierre, would say:

“ wow, this is incredible! Amazing! You are a lovely young girl but you must be very special because it is already the second- or third- or fourth time Jacques goes out with you. In all of these years we have never seen Jacques twice with the same girl.

Well, I may smile writing this now, but I can tell you I did not at the time.-

To be honest, I have never been jealous of his present, but always of his past.

I know it is totally stupid and irrational.

He did not know me them and he had all rights to have all the girlfriends he wanted to.

During the years, I have learned why.

It was due to my fear of being inadequate and not good enough for him.

I only had one boyfriend before him and really, little experience.

I suppose the fact we got married August 18th 1990 after seeing each other 54 days in person made up for a dull sentimental past.

I got married twice, once in a civil wedding in France and three weeks later at Church here in Italy.

But that requires another chapter…