We have been together for longer than we haven’t.
Do you remember that day, that beer in the village,
that evening, that night?
Do you remember? I do.
And yes, life has changed,
life has definitely changed us,
life has of course green splintered and mended,
yes to all of those things, yes of course.
But still when I see you,
my eyes open or closed tight,
still when I see you I remember that evening,
the evening when the shadows were gone.
[The doorbell rings]
Who is it?
Daniele. Come down, I’ve got something for you.
Can’t you come up?
No, come down.
[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.
You said let’s give each other presents on Sunday. It’s our one-month anniversary.
You gave me cufflinks in a velvet box, I gave you a meat pie in a greasy bag and then had to pretend it was a joke and your real present was at home and I was saving it for our 33-day anniversary because that was my lucky number.
That was the second time I lied to you but I only did it for good reasons. I knew I was not good enough for you no matter what you said.
The third time I lied to you was when I said it was fine you were leaving and that you had to do what was best for you and everything would be ok. Then I didn’t have another chance to lie to you.