Madonna Whore Complex

How I got thrown out of Italy

Flannery Wilson
3 min readMay 25, 2020

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Image from retroactivejealousycrusher.com

I love Italy. I also hate it. The country has never been very kind to me, nor I to it. Let’s just put it this way. There is no doubt in my mind that Amanda Knox is innocent.

At 17 years old I left to study abroad in Mirandola, a small town near Modena, in the north. I was going to live with a family for the semester and attend a local high school.

My new family, the Bianchi’s, met me at the airport. Margherita and her daughter Liliana were both blond. Liliana was about 15. Her father Pino had glasses and striking black hair.

I knew only a little bit of Italian. Their English was poor. Someone was going to have to adapt fast.

I sat in the backseat of their tiny hatchback with Liliana and buckled myself in for the ride. Margherita weaved in and out of her lane, passing other cars, nearly missing a truck head on.

Somehow we got home safely.

I became fluent in Italian in weeks because there was no other choice. I sat on the bus with Liliana every day and ate dinner with the whole family every night.

Margherita both loved me and hated me. She told me I should be a “top model,” but then warned me that she was going to get me kicked out of the program for smoking and drinking.

She would confide in me, but then yell at me for something small. I grew to resent it. I was her best friend and her worst enemy.

Liliana just wanted me to see how much she loved her mother so that I would stay away.

Pino was a dunce.

I really sort of hated them. But I also sort of loved them in a Stockholm syndrome kind of way.

I stayed in my bedroom a lot when I was in their house. I was in the attic, so I played my music loudly and stomped on the floor.

I began writing in a journal every night.

Every day it was a new boy.

I love Diego. I saw him looking at me from across the pool table.

Most of my interactions with Italian boys ended up in disaster.

One night two guys drove me into a field.

Have you ever had sex?

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Flannery Wilson

Flannery has a PhD in Comparative Literature. She teaches French, Italian, and visual media. Her book on Taiwanese cinema can be found on Amazon.