POV: Writing a letter from Bridey

'60s model Jean Shrimpton

’60s model Jean Shrimpton

As part of a blog tour, I was asked to write something from Bridey’s point of view. Eighty-five percent of What You Don’t Know Now is written from her POV, so I wasn’t sure how I could write something fresh that would fit into the narrative. Then I thought — a letter!

So I skimmed through the book to find a time when she had a chance to write in a pivotal moment. After all, she tells Sara (who writes in her travel “log” every chance she gets), “I don’t have anything interesting to write home about,” But that’s before she really gets to know Alessandro.

So here’s the letter. It’s written to Bridey’s best friend at home, Dena, who made a dress for Bridey that appears in an incident in Ulm, Germany (also pivotal to what happens down the line) and threw a bon voyage party for Bridey with her friends.

I had so much fun getting back into Bridey’s head, I just might incorporate letters into the sequel!

Enjoy!

July 27, 1967                                                                                                       Assisi, Italy

Dear Dena,

It’s 10p.m. here and I’m killing some time so I thought I’d write you. I’m sorry I haven’t sent any postcards or anything — you all must be disappointed in me, after that bon voyage party you threw!

The thing is — something incredible has happened. I still can’t believe what happened tonight and I had to tell someone.

We’re in Assisi right now. We got here yesterday. You know this tour is called the Summer Vacation Pilgrimage, right? “Quelle drag”, as you would say. Wait — I should probably tell you about some of our trip up to this point before I get to the good part!

We left Venice at 7a.m. after what had to be the lamest 18th birthday ever (I’ll tell you when I get home). When we left Germany, we were sort of sad. Sort of. Mannheim was gross — we got lost and our tour guide stopped at a bar and picked up a drunk guy to help tell the driver, Roger (from Belgium) how to get to the hotel, which had BUGS in our bathroom!

Munich was cool, and I did get to meet a very studly Marine and — can you believe it — my mom actually allowed me out of her sight for two seconds to go with him to the Englisher Garten beer hall (outside in the park, so beautiful). Only because Father Clement (the priest on our tour) and the oldest (and only other) man, Papa Joe, were going there and it must have seemed kind of safe to Mum.

The Marine — Brian — turned out to be kind of a jerk (ish). Trying to put moves on me. Totally gung-ho about going to VIETNAM!! He wanted me to write to him and I said no. I do feel sort of bad about that, but — He just wasn’t my type.

(Wait until I tell you about who IS my type!)

We crossed into Austria through the Dolomites but we didn’t stop. Can you believe they counted that as one of the 7 countries we were supposed to visit in three weeks? Rip off.

The Dolomites were scary and spectacular. I could tell my mom was practically having a heart attack at how high we were (1,500 feet+ ), plus the road was like — wild with twists and turns.

“Get back to your type!” I can hear you saying.

So we get to Assisi from Venice. It’s so beautiful here, Dena! We went to dinner (praying it wasn’t breaded veal cutlet for the 1,000 time) and I was thinking how boring it was going to be. And then… the most beautiful, handsome waiter came to our table. I felt like I was hit by a bomb. He was flirting like mad with me, pretending to get my order wrong, giving me about ten pounds of butter for my bread, doing everything he could to get my attention. I tried to play it as cool as I could. Mum was ticked at him. He gave me a flower when we left. The tour just got A WHOLE LOT better.

I managed to see him again this afternoon on the terrace of our hotel. Sara and I went there to get some ice cream — Sara completely knew that wasn’t my real plan, but she’s been a doll this trip. So “Romeo” shows up and — well, we ended up talking. At first he was a huge tease, but it turns out he can speak English (pretty well!), French and some German. Sara left us alone and we had a chance to really talk. It’s like we were meant to meet. He’s — I feel so safe with him.

The reason I’m killing time is that — Dena, I can barely describe tonight. Tonight I feel as if my life has changed into something beyond anything I could ever hope for.

His name is Alessandro. He SANG to me at dinner — he’s won a scholarship (I think it’s like a scholarship) to sing opera in Rome in the fall. His voice is like — an angel, but an angel who’s sexy (if angels could be). I felt like everything inside me was taken over by him and his eyes and his voice…

And he’s asked me to go dancing with him tonight. I’m going. I’ll have to sneak out. But I’m going! Because I have never wanted to be with anyone so much in my life.

That’s why I had time to kill. Now it’s 10:45 and I have to sneak downstairs to meet him in the parking lot. No one knows but Sara– we’re sharing a room, I had to tell her. I pray to God she doesn’t cave and tell my mother I’ve gone! But I don’t care, I’m doing this no matter what.

I’m wearing that black sheath dress. You know the one. Wish me luck.

Bridey

 

 

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