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.

The first time

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.