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Showing posts from May, 2017

A BENCH FOR VECCHIETTA - PART 3

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My dearest Cicciu,
On the eve of my 65th birthday, I hope you don't mind if I write to thank you for being a part of my life.
When you came into it, another relationship, particularly a physical one, was far from my mind so what happened was as much of a surprise to me as it was to you. There were many differences between us – age (which you said didn't matter), marital status, language, culture, expectations of life(I expected transport systems, bureaucratic institutions and government to work; you didn't) and of course the fact that you had children and I didn't. Yet we hit it off, Cicciu and sometimes we just laughed through those lessons. A man who can make a woman laugh is already half way to winning her heart, especially when that woman has had her share of troubles. For your part, you once told me that you liked the fact that I listened to you – it was always my pleasure, Cicciu.
Even though I had studied Italian, had taught the language and loved the culture…

A BENCH FOR VECCHIETTA - PART 2

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What a courting dance we had, Vecchietta! I called and messaged you at every opportunity, made excuses to see you and brought you pastries to the lessons. I genuinely wanted to help you in any way possible and, knowing you didn't drive, offered you lifts to do shopping and would have taken you anywhere you wanted to go. I told you, every day, how beautiful I found you and when you demurred, muttering something about age, I told you the truth, which was that I didn't see age; I saw an attractive, blonde woman with a pair of green eyes that held their own story. I didn't see age, either, when you had difficulty walking, especially climbing stairs. That's how I came to call you vecchietta (little old lady); one day, as I gave you my arm to help you up some steps, you used the term jokingly about yourself and I started calling you la mia vecchietta.
Three more months passed and I still couldn't convince you to take a chance on me physically. You said you were frig…

A BENCH FOR VECCHIETTA - PART 1

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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…