Childhood friends Elia, Giorgio, Claudio, and Fabrizio have met in their favorite café in the center of the ancient city of Arezzo, in Tuscany, for forty years. One day, they decide to go to Bucharest to visit their friend Angelo, bringing along Gert and Sebastian, more old acquaintances, for a reunion. When they arrive, Angelo has a surprise waiting for them – but little do they know, this visit will change their lives forever. Cracks begin to appear in their marriages, as well as in the wonderful friendships they’ve enjoyed for so long, and it all begins with this first trip…it won’t be their last. Complete at 79,000 words, my revealing adult adventure tale, Broken Hearts On Boulevard Unirii, is inspired by real events and shows the true unpredictability of lives – and relationships – put to the test.
Paragraph of the book
The trip to Costanza was short and went smoothly. After approximately two and a half hours of traveling we spotted the shores of this port city. The beaches at Costanza aren’t the most beautiful, but if one continues a bit further towards the Bulgarian border, one can find sprawling white sandy beaches.
We passed resort towns with hotels and private beaches with names like Neptune, Jupiter, Venus, and Olympus. When those towns ended, the scenery was not as nice and the beaches were neglected, with wild weeds growing on them.
After driving for another hour we arrived at Vama Veche. The town was far from being a resort area and the hotels were far from being luxury hotels. The “hotel” we had reserved in was actually an apartment hotel, an old three-story building with four apartments on each floor. Everybody received a small apartment that consisted of a bedroom, private bathroom and a small kitchenette. The accommodations were not expensive.
It seems that the hotel was once a government office building that had fallen into disuse. The government then converted it into a cheap hotel for government employees. When not occupied by government employees it was rented to tourists or locals.
The atmosphere and ambience were not exactly romantic. The beds were old iron-post beds and each room had an old wardrobe into which we decided not to put our clothes. The linens on the beds were clean and smelled fresh. We shook out the old bed cover and put a sheet over it. Since it was warm, we didn’t need more.
Elia and I went for a walk to see the surrounding area and perhaps enjoy the scenery. Just a hundred meters ahead of us, right on the beach, there were still many noticeable remnants from the Second World War. There were huge concrete blocks with holes in them for firing heavy artillery against vessels at sea or at those trying to come to shore. We didn’t know why the concrete blocks were never removed, and there was nobody around to ask.
While walking along the beach, I asked Elia if he was really in love with Silvia. He assured me that he didn’t love her and that he had absolutely no intention of staying in Romania. He planned to return home to Matilda and his four children to whom he was very attached and spend time with his elderly mother who lived with them. He told me that he was planning to retire shortly and close his garage permanently. Perhaps he will then help Matilda in her lingerie store on Corso Italia.
“I have a lot of plans for the future, and Silvia is not in any of them,” he told me.
He then turned the conversation away from himself and towards Fabrizio. He said, “It’s time Fabrizio abandoned his affairs here in Romania and returned home. I have no doubt that Giulia will forgive him and have him back. Let’s talk to him.”
“I think you’re right. Let’s talk to him,” I said.
Then turning to me he asked, “And what are your plans with all your girls?”
“Elia,” I began. “You and I have been friends for many years and you know me quite well. Do you think I am going to give up everything I have worked for all my life? True, there are exciting challenges here, romances and feelings that I had long forgotten, but that is where it ends. Everything will be forgotten the minute I leave Romania.”
“It seems to me that you’re fooling yourself. Sex with young women is addictive like opium. Once you’ve tried it, it is not easy to wean yourself from it,” he said.
“Speaking of opium, what are all these poppy plants all around us? Does it look like they are being grown intentionally?” Elia asked.
I looked around me, and lo and behold we were standing in the middle of a vast poppy field with beautiful erect plants, all of uniform height. I could not believe my eyes. Such fields are only seen in the movies. Immediately my thoughts returned to Bulgaria and its notorious Mafiosi, and this field’s close proximity to the Bulgarian border. Who knows to whom these fields really belonged.
The thought sent a shiver down my spine and we immediately decided to return to our hotel.
We settled in our rooms. When I went up to my room, Mirella was not there but her clothes were arranged, and her night-gown folded, on one side of the bed.
A short while later I had left my room to go downstairs, when I met Claudio in the hall.
“Where is your room?” I asked.
“Right opposite your room,” he answered. “And next to us are Elia and Silvia.”
“How nice. And where are the rest?” I asked.
“Angelo and the Elena as well as Gert with Sofia are on the floor above us,” he answered.
“What about Fabrizio?” I asked.
“I have no idea. Maybe he is on the ground floor,” he replied.
We went downstairs to look for Angelo. We found him at the beach with the girls, some of whom were in the water while others were sitting under torn straw umbrellas that they had found near the fishermen’s huts. Nearby there were several tents belonging to young Romanian teenagers who were playing loud rock music.
Empty broken bottles were strewn all over the beach, which made it dangerous to walk on the sand.
“Angelo,” we called out to him. “How many rooms have you reserved?”
“Five,” he responded. “Why do you ask?”
“What about Fabrizio and Luciana? We are six couples. If you can’t count in Romanian, try counting in Italian,” I said.
“It doesn’t matter, we’ll manage. I will ask the manager if there is an empty room in the hotel. If not, I will tell him to put some more beds into my apartment,” Angelo answered.
We laughed, and sat down on the sand. “Angelo the scatter-brain,” I thought to myself. “After living in Romania for several years, he has become one of them.”
At noon we went for a walk around the fishermen’s huts. Since the area didn’t attract tourists, it had become neglected and over the years had been taken over by the local fishermen who had set up huts there.
The area attracted all kinds of young people who set up tents on the beach and held parties all day long. Since hardly any tourists came there, the women allowed themselves to swim and sun-bathe in the nude. Thus, the beach became known as a nudists’ beach.
The thought of swimming in the nude appealed to “our” girls.” Despite the fact that I thought she was the most modest of the bunch, Mirella was the first to go for it. She threw off the top of her bikini, which barely hid her protruding breasts, and then the bottom part which consisted of a string that was gorged into the cleft of her backside. Since her bikini left nothing to the imagination, when she took it off completely, it made no impression on anybody. Her twin sister did the same and it was not long after that the rest followed.
Gert sat down between us to enjoy the unique spectacle. It was the first time that a sea of girls’ buttocks surrounded him from all directions. Elia then came and also lay down on the beach. There was no doubt that we all loved the view.
One of the fishermen set up a small makeshift “restaurant” next to his hut. He spread out a fisherman’s net onto four poles and under it he put some white plastic tables and chairs. In the center he placed a homemade grill, constructed out of an iron grate welded on to a tin box, underneath which he put the hot charcoals. The food was served on disposable plates. The fish was fresh, straight from the sea, cleaned on the spot and immediately placed on the grill. The prices were ridiculous; a dollar and a half for fresh delicious fish. It was seasoned with a little coarse salt and some crushed garlic.
We called everybody to eat. Since there was no menu, it was easy to order; fish for everyone. We ordered beer, which had been chilled in a barrel of cold water.
After the first round, Claudio and Elia ordered another portion of fish, while I shared with Mirella and her sister a large fish which the fisherman sliced for us into steaks.
After such a meal, we all desperately needed a rest. We had to drag ourselves to our rooms. I was barely able to reach my room, as the lukewarm beer caused a banging sensation in my head. My head suddenly felt very heavy and Mirella had to help me up the steps. As soon as I got into the room, I fell on the bed and instantly fell asleep in my clothes.
When I finally woke up it was already dark. It was quiet, and all I heard was the frogs croaking outside. I washed my face and left the room to see where everybody was. Nobody was in the hallway, so I went downstairs to see if they were there. I went out to the parking lot and, much to my surprise, both vans were gone. I stood there wondering where they could have gone. It was nearly eleven o’clock and here I was, alone in the hotel.
I was ready to go back to my room, when suddenly a Romanian couple came out of their room and began walking to the parking lot.
“Excuse me. Do either of you speak English or Italian?”I asked.
“Yes. I can speak English,” the man answered.
“Do you perhaps have an idea where all my friends went to?” I asked.
“Yes, I think I heard them saying that they were going to Neptune Beach. There is a huge festival there. We are going there, so if you want you can come with us.
“Oh, thank you,” I answered politely.”I would be very grateful if you could take me.”
The trip took about twenty minutes. I thanked them, got out of the car and stood there in bewilderment. Throngs of people roamed the streets, all the hotels were lit up and music could be heard from everywhere. I walked down the main street and started looking in all directions to see if I could find the rest of my group.
“I will never find them in this tumult,” I thought to myself.
Just then, I turned into a side street when I suddenly noticed our two vans parked next to each other not far from a dance club. The lights in the club were dim, but I was able to see my friends through the front window. I saw Claudio and Roxana clapping their hands, next to them Elia sat shirtless, and what looked like two people were dancing on the table. I could not see the upper half of their bodies well because a curtain partially hid them.
The sight I saw when I walked in struck me like lightning. Gert who was completely drunk, was dancing in his underwear on the table with a beautiful blonde girl, a head taller than him, totally naked from the waist up and wearing a super short miniskirt. When she bent over while dancing, you could not fail to notice that she was not wearing panties.
Elia applauded and occasionally stopped to take a sip of beer from the huge glass in front of him. Mirella and her sister Silvia sat next to each other swaying back and forth to the beat of the music. When they saw me they waved and Mirella even blew me a kiss.
The bass that could be heard in the background of the heavy metal music caused me to shake as it reverberated off my chest. The atmosphere was electrifying. Everybody was loaded with alcohol and completely loose. Seeing my friend Gert dancing in his underwear on the table cuddling up to a blonde stranger was indescribable; it was like seeing but not believing.
Everybody either stood or sat around the table and encouraged the dancers with shouts and the banging of empty beer mugs against the wooden counter. When the music became more serene, the two of them got down from the table and sat down. Gert sat on a chair and the blonde one sat on his lap pressing her body up against his. She held his head tight with her two hands and slipped her tongue into his mouth. Somebody threw a shirt to her; however, she didn’t respond and continued kissing him.
Out of nowhere, two tough-looking men appeared. One of them approached her, pulled her by her hair, lifted her off Gert and threw her to the floor. She started screaming, but he didn’t leave go and continued dragging her on the floor, screaming at her in Romanian.
None of us got involved. Gert remained seated, seemingly unaware of the severity of what had happened. I jumped up and stood next to him, afraid that these guys would attack him next. It turned out that they were only interested in the blonde.
All the while the music didn’t stop. Several guests noticed what was happening, but ignored it, trying not to get involved, either because they were used to such scenes or because in the meantime they lifted the girl off the floor, put a shirt on her, dragged her out of the room and disappeared.
When things calmed down, I sat down opposite the two sisters, Mirella and Silvia. Mirella stuck her tongue out to me and smiled sheepishly. She didn’t seem drunk, but looked bemused. Roxana didn’t seem drunk at all, while Elena and Sofia danced with each other.
Gert got up and staggered, as though searching for the blonde girl, walking around aimlessly and muttering unintelligible words.
The guests began to disperse and slowly the hall emptied out. Our group and one other table were the only guests still there. A worker who was cleaning up asked us to please vacate the premises as he wanted to finish cleaning and lock up.
I asked Elena, who seemed to be the least drunk, to drive one van while I drove the second one. I told her to drive carefully in front and I would follow her. After everyone got into the vans we started our slow trek back to the hotel. Elena was forced to stop on the way to let Claudio get out and throw up. The rest of the way went smoothly.
It was already dawn when we arrived, and we crawled to our rooms. I lay down with Mirella at my side.
“I hope you enjoyed yourself,” I said.
“Sure, but I don’t think you did,” she replied.
“Why do you say that?” I asked.
“You didn’t drink didn’t eat and haven’t spoken to anybody, not even me,” she answered.
“The noise was overwhelming. It was impossible to talk to anybody,” I responded.
Mirella moved closer to me, reached over and caressed my back. I turned to her, hugged her tightly and kissed her neck. I stroked her bottom while looking for her mouth. As her breathing became heavier, she parted her lips and held my tongue, which was already deep inside her mouth.
She removed the T-shirt that I wore for sleeping and then took off her night-gown. We lay naked and excited. This was the first time Mirella had decided to go all the way, with no inhibitions, thoughts or questions. She threw everything aside and plunged herself into the ecstasy that swept over both of us.
Hugging each other, we fell asleep, just as the morning light began to seep through between the shut blinds.
At around noon, everybody began waking up. Mirella was first into the shower and I followed.
“I really enjoyed it with you last night,” she said as she kissed me on my shoulder.
“I also enjoyed it. I had been waiting so long for this moment I had given up,” I answered.
“So it came to you as a surprise,” she said.
“Absolutely,” I replied.
“A pleasant one, I hope,” she commented.
“Extremely pleasant,” I whispered into her ear.
“I guess the mood here got to me. I am usually more reserved,” she said to me.
“What do you mean? I saw you sunbathing in the nude,” I responded.
“It’s not the same thing,” was her answer.
“That is correct. You’re right. But I would hardly call you reserved. I remember when we played the game of Truth or Dare, you had no problem taking your clothes off,” I countered.
“I don’t feel ashamed. Does that make me a slut?” she asked.
“I said nothing of the sort. On the contrary, you never let me close enough to even give you a kiss,” I said.
“We had better drop the subject. After all, this is our last day here, let’s enjoy it,” she said.
We went downstairs holding each other tightly. At the bottom of the steps we met Silvia who said something to Mirella in Romanian. Whatever she said caused Mirella to scold her.
Since I didn’t understand what was said, I asked Mirella, “What did you tell her?”
“That is none of your business,” she replied blushingly.
I realized that I should not have asked, as it was possibly only family matters.
We spent all afternoon at the beach. We made a picnic there with the sandwiches and soft drinks we had brought along. Everyone seemed happy. Sofia had forgiven Gert for his shameful behavior the night before and sat next to him holding his hand.
Claudio and Roxana went into the water. From a distance, I could see them embracing, jumping and repeatedly kissing each other. Elia and Fabrizio sat next to me on the beach, expressing their satisfaction with the trip.
“After Bulgaria, this is paradise,” Elia said. We all agreed.
Angelo was very depressed, partly because of the theft of his car, but more so, because he was not getting along with Elena. Since our return from Bulgaria, she had become irritable, impatient and terribly jealous. Whenever Angelo talked to a girl, she would go into a jealous rage and start crying.
I put the towel that I had brought from my room at a distance from the rest of them to have some privacy. Elia came to join me and together we sat on the towel and talked.
“What do you say, Giorgio?” Elia asked.
“What are you referring to?” I asked.
“Don’t you feel as if you are twenty years old?” he asked.
“Not exactly twenty; maybe twenty-one,” I replied. Elia laughed.
“Tomorrow it’s all over,” he said in a sad voice. “Gert, Claudio and I are returning tomorrow to the boring routine of our daily lives. Afterward you will return and finally Fabrizio will also return. Vacation is coming to an end.”
“Enjoy the present moment. What will be, will be. Think about ‘now’ and don’t worry about tomorrow,” I told him.
“Don’t tell me you don’t think about what’s going to happen next,” Elia commented.
“Think, I certainly think. I’d rather not talk about it. The thought causes me heart-break,” I responded.
“The first trip to Romania changed our lives forever. Nothing will be the same as it was,” he said.
“You are right. But look at it from a positive point of view. There aren’t too many guys our age who have experienced what we did,” I replied.
“Do you really believe it’s all over?” he asked.
“It will end once you decide to return to your routine of being a husband, father and grandfather. At the moment you are acting like a teenager in love,” I laughed.
“Strongly in love,” he replied solemnly.
As it got dark, we lit a bonfire on the beach. Nearby, some youngsters, around twenty years old, had a sound system and were playing Romanian gypsy music. We sent Gert over to them with some cans of beer and asked them if they wanted to join us.
They were thrilled to join. We enlarged our circle, as they were five guys and two girls. They brought along a huge bag of bagels which we ate with great appetite. We sent Gert back to fetch some more beer.
The boys spoke Romanian amongst themselves. Of course we didn’t understand a word. Roxana got up and danced with the two Romanian girls, while everyone applauded, encouraging them to continue. One of the Romanians shouted something, and one of the young women threw her shirt off and remained in just her bra. Silvia got up to dance and forcibly pulled Mirella to join her.
One of the young men took out cigarette paper, began to fill it with tobacco blended with what looked like marijuana, rolled it. He made several cigarettes and gave them out to whoever wanted. The atmosphere began to warm up, and we all started smoking, or at least tried to. Gert, who didn’t smoke, began coughing violently. Nonetheless, he didn’t give up and tried again. Fabrizio took an entire cigarette for himself, as he loved spinello.
Mirella got up to dance and tried to drag me along, but I refused.
She went to one of the young men who was dancing in just a bathing suit and danced with him. She suddenly took off her shirt and threw it aside and stood there topless. She wiggled her body with the music, shook her breasts and made them flop up and down. She didn’t resist when the young man caressed them. She removed the cigarette that he was smoking from his mouth and took a drag of the intoxicating smoke. She then approached Elena and began stroking her erotically and rubbing against her body. The guy came over, hugged them both and placed a kiss on Mirella’s breast. She showed him her other breast and he kissed that one too. He hugged her, took her hand and pulled her to the sea, where she threw off her skirt and her underwear and went with him into the water.
I didn’t comment when my friends looked at me in surprise. I just shrugged, as if saying that it really didn’t bother me. The truth of the matter was that it hurt me a lot and I was burning inside. But I had no right to complain or say a word. After all I was married, older than she was, perhaps even older than her father.
I sat alone drinking a can of lukewarm beer, realizing that for me it was all over now, while for the rest it would end tomorrow.