It is five years, my Vecchietta, since you left me and six since you gave me a gift that you yourself said I did not want. But now I, Cicciu the carpenter, am making a gift for you.
We were very different, you and I, Vecchietta and when I first came to your house to put up bookshelves – you were always in need of more bookshelves - I had never met a British person, let alone one like you. Fascinated, I asked if I could also come to you for some English lessons, for I had long dreamed of wider horizons. I found you attractive from the beginning but there was an 18-year age gap and when I started inviting you to the bar after our two-hour lessons it was genuinely to get to know you better. And soon I became entranced by your independence, your humour and your deep cultural knowledge and  yes, I started to imagine what it would be like to hold you in my arms.
How, I wondered at night, could a woman from a large city in a country like yours leave everything and come, alone, to live in…