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I made it back!
I spare you the details of my disastrous week only out of decency and because I do sincerely feel for all those poor souls forced to sleep on a conveyor belt in the hope of finally reaching their home turves.
Two days after returning home from our italian Easter break, I had to fly back to Rome as my dad was rushed into hospital.... All went well thank goodness, but I got stranded for a week at my mum and dad's house, caught between a never ending volcanic eruption and my dad's emergency heart surgery. Well, at least I did not have to sleep at the airport. Being forcefully separated from my little Gabriel, after 10 whole months of uninterrupted 24/7 care, has been one of the hardest things I had to endure in my life, beating even my hemorrhoidectomy, hands down (or butt up....).
Relying strongly on the fact that the news bulletin has already saturated your brain cells with every possible perspective on the Icelandic disaster, ( Volcanic ash, is it safe? No it isn't, we're gonna die! No we're not! Can you see the landing strip? It's all Gordon Brown's fault...) I move on to illustrate what this Easter/Volcanic break has brought into my plate.
In a nutshell: A LOT!

I won't hide that I was a little apprehensive about introducing my son to the rest of the clan for the first time. I come from a very small village up on a hill, in the middle of the countryside north of Rome, the village counts about 6000 inhabitants and the most 'exciting' thing that has ever happened to my village is probably.... ME!
I say this without modesty because I know for a fact that, since I moved to London 13 years ago, in the best tradition of small village gossip, a lot of stories began circulating about me.
I once was the "little queer",mocked by all, the teenager locked in his bedroom when he should have been experiencing life with his friends...
Now I was a bona fide homecoming queen. Funny how a little bit of gossip can turn things around for someone.

Well, the thing is, it seems like another 'me' was created at the exact time I left home to look for fame and fortune abroad and, most surely, for that I have to thank my mum (the spin doctor) and the army of gossipy bitches (meant less nicely than you might want to believe...) in my family.
Just to give you an example of reality distortion at work in my family:

-My name is Marco Platti
-I used to work for Gucci within the creative visual environment
-I collaborated with Bella Freud, an english fashion designer for whom I designed one off pieces for VIP clients
-Thanks to Bella I had the sheer goddam luck to work on a one to one with Madonna, whom I met ONCE at her rented London house 10 years ago (my best claim to fame to date..)
-I married my lovely Steven (Superman in disguise, but don't tell anyone...) after getting engaged and romancing across Europe like two traveling love birds. (yeah...In this respect, Carrie Bradshaw can really suck it!)
-Steven works for an italian cashmere company.
-We now have a son after three years of surrogacy.
End Credits.

If you ask about me back in the village, the reports are very likely to sound like this:

-His name is Marco Platti
-He owns half of Gucci
-He has his own clothing label called Bella Freud
-He is BEST FRIENDS with Madonna (OK, this has definitely my mum's signature on it...)
-He has married a gay guy with lots of money that owns a cashmere company
-They adopted a son from America (this is due to the fact that most of them, until Ricky Martin went gay-global, did not even know how to spell surrogacy and so: 2 men+1 baby=adoption for sure....)
-He went to London because his parents kicked him out when he came out to them
-His mum found him in bed with a man and realised he was gay
-His mum found a message on a red rose left on his bed by one of his lovers and she found out that he was gay (this last piece of information was given to me accidentally by a long lost friend of mine not a month ago...)

As you can figure out from the above list of statements, it's safe to say that my visit "with child" was surrounded by quite a degree of anticipation.
Basically, according to the village gossips, on the drama scale I should be giving Liz Taylor a run for her money.....
That's what made me nervous. I was sort of expecting awkward questions, awkward glances, awkward comments and every possible embarrassment coming my way.
You know the kind of awkwardness I am talking about right? Picture this scenario:
I meet up with such and such relative, we start chatting and I can read on their faces the surprise and disappointment if I fail to mention any of the above stories.
The question "So, what have you been doing all this time?" reads more like "So, give me the juicy content. How many men have you been having gay sex with and how many roses has your mum found on your bed?"
"How is work?" reads as "How much money have you got?".
"What's your partner's job?" reads as "How much money have you got?" Got it?
"Gabriel has got your eyes!" translates as "Who's the father?"
"Gabriel looks so cute!" translates as "Who's the father?"
Obviously, my mum relishes in the interest my presence at home arises among the family. She always says that as soon as I leave the phone stops ringing.
I also need to say that small village people are not all bad and bigoted and homophobic; most of them, at least where I come from, are just gossipy, curious and nosey, all sprinkled with a good dose of ignorance (meant as it is: lack of knowledge, not mental retardation...), but their hearts are in the right place.
Also, I was afraid of the family embargo that always awaits me back home: no matter what time I show up, there is always some sort of crowd of relatives waiting in my mum's kitchen and, when I just would like to take a shower and spend a quiet evening with my mum and dad, I end up answering questions about my life until late whilst translating simultaneously to Steven (no, he doesn't speak italian).
Now, imagine having to do that whilst tending to the needs of a 10 month old boy.... Not my idea of a perfect vacation.
In particular I was dreading my bitch cousin Dina and my staunchly religious aunt Mattia, the latter simply because every time she sees me she tells me that I got fat, but she is like my grandmother and I love her, so I suck it up.
Together with my stomach.