Don’t touch my car

You always told me not to touch your car. It was a big thing to you. Don’t touch my car, dude. And you’d always find the fingerprint or the licked finger letter I left for you and you would say don’t touch my car and I would and you would hit me. Don’t touch my car, dude. But now, now we’ve raced one of those ridiculous races, lights off on the clifftop road, and my car, touches yours and you’ve spun and hit the wall and somersaulted and hit a tree and another and now in the moonlight your car is on its side in the olive grove,gently hissing. I touched your car. Dude.

The doorbell rings

[The doorbell rings]

Who is it?

Daniele. Come down, I’ve got something for you.

Can’t you come up?

No, come down.

Ok.

[I go downstairs and out of the main door. Daniele is standing there in the midday sun, a cardboard box in his arms. He holds it out to me.]

Here you are. It’s for the anniversary.

Thank you. But you shouldn’t have.

Take it, take it.

[I take the box. It is the size of a shoe box but lighter than a shoe box with shoes in would be.]

What is it?

It’s for you. For the anniversary.

[Daniele starts up his Vespa and rides away. I stand in the midday sun and take the lid off the box. It is not sealed. I look inside.]

[Later, on the telephone.]

Thank you Daniele. What’s his name?

I called him Twenty-five. That’s how many years it is, isn’t it?

Yes, yes, twenty-five. It’s twenty-five.

[I stop talking and look down at the tortoise walking across the floor.]

Hello, Twenty-five. Here’s to us.