**Disclaimer: The names of the people have been changed for the protection of their privacy, and for a bit of comedic affect.
I became quick friends with Katie when I was back in Phoenix. She was a sexy married woman about my age. She flirted with every man she met. We would go out for drinks after work almost every evening.
We shared two different favorite spots, Prego and Fenny’s, and rotated going to each locale every other evening. It seemed that Katie wasn’t ever in a hurry to go home to her husband. We were having cocktails at Prego, an Italian restaurant/bar I would frequent to practice my Italian. The owners were originally from Milan.
I ran into an Italian pilot I knew through my private airplane hitchhiking days. Guido had come to Phoenix to purchase a DC-3 airplane so that he could restore it. He planned to use it for fantasy charters to romantic destinations like Morocco. I introduced Guido to Katie, and that was that. Katie filed for divorce and moved into a tiny apartment she shared with Guido while he was in Phoenix.
A new bar/restaurant opened in Scottsdale called Tète a Tèta. Two French gentlemen owned and ran the place. I loved the food, and they served Kir Royales with champagne or plain Kir with white wine. They made a steak tartare that was prepared at the table, adding a raw egg yolk, diced red onions, capers, chopped parsley, and other condiments, just like in Cannes. This became my new favorite nightspot.
Guido finished restoring his plane and was getting ready to fly it back to Italy. Katie was distraught. “I don’t want him to leave. I don’t think I could do what you did—go off to Italy alone.”
“You wouldn’t be alone. Guido would be there,” I reminded her.
Katie and I went to the Phoenix airport to watch Guido prepare the plane to leave. The plane was beautiful. They had stripped off all the paint, and there before you stood a majestic and shiny antique plane. It looked like an Airstream trailer angled upward toward the sky, almost as if were already flying.
Once inside, we had to climb squat stairs to ascend to the pilot’s cabin. It was quite a hike. All of the seats but four had been removed. There was a spare engine in the middle of the plane’s interior. Three other Italian pilots friends had arrived to assist Guido in the flight back to Italy. Guido told us they had to make many stops along the way—Phoenix to Buffalo, New York, and then Ireland. It would be a very long flight.
We all went to dinner at Tète a Tèta. I had told Guido he would like this place because it reminded me of Cannes, where he frequently took his planes to the Cessna mechanics. I introduced Guido and Katie to the French owners. I could tell the single owner took a liking to Katie, and she noticed it, too. All of a sudden, Katie wasn’t so distraught about Guido’s imminent departure.
Katie was a piece of work. I admired her confidence. She did like European men, and so did I. There seemed to be something missing in the American men I met. I believe Italian men invented charm and refused to share their charming ways with Anglo-Saxon men.