It was the last day of my holiday. I had eaten my way around the continent and was now in the last country with bad and nasty politicians.
The little seaside town was in the Four Lands part of the country, the weather was good, the ferry boat had just left and I was drinking a last glass of red wine in my favourite restaurant in the harbour. I didn't want to go, I hadn't learnt the language properly yet, but I had to catch the last train to the capital this afternoon. A waiter brought a plate of noodles and meat sauce and looked at me.
I looked at him, I hadn't seen this waiter before. He looked at me. He sank into a chair. He looked at me. He put his elbows on the table and his chin in his hands. He looked at me.
I ate my meal, it was good, very good, but I had no appetite. I stopped eating. I looked at him. He looked at me. I stood up. He looked upset, alarmed almost. I sat on the chair next to him. I looked at him. He looked at me.
I took a spoonful of food and put it into his mouth. Another spoonful. I took a big gulp of wine and kissed him. I pushed the wine into his mouth and wiped my tongue over his lips.
“Your name is Angelo and my name is Angelica.” He said nothing. I looked at him. He looked at me. It was very quiet. Everyone in the restaurant was looking at us. I took his hand and pulled it gently. We both stood and we walked hand-in-hand to the end of the sea wall and up the cliffs to the headland above the sea.
“Your name is Angelo and my name is Angelica. You cannot speak. You cannot keep your eyes off me. I do not know when you will speak again. You do not have to speak. Just hold me close!” I do not know if he understood me, but he held me close.
It was getting dark. We walked down from the headland, into the town, to the hotel where I had stayed. How did he know that? He didn't. We walked through the hotel to another house behind the hotel and there in a big room were many people sat around a large table.
I recognised many of them, from the hotel, from the restaurant. They shouted. I think that they wanted to know where he had been and perhaps who I was. Also they called him Giuseppe. An old and round and important woman came to him, hugged him and called him Bepi. It must have been his mother, but still he did not speak. I had never heard him speak.
Rather awkward. He did not speak and I only broken phrases. I did not understand what had happened and why I was where I was. I took a pad and a pencil from my handbag and gave it to him. This is what, translated, he wrote:
i am angelo you are angelica angelo loves angelica angelica loves angelo this is my mother this is my family
Someone found a seat for me, I sat on one side of Angelo and his mother on the other. He was between the two most important women in his life. The food was good. One of Angelo's many sisters could speak Belgian, she translated all his mother's questions and my answers.
Who was I? Not very easy. Who was Angelo? Very easy. The most handsome man on the planet. All the sisters giggled. Angelo looked at me. Angelo was the youngest son, Angelo was the one with brains, Angelo would take over the business when his father retired.
I held Angelo very tight that night. By day we walked around the town in a daze. Angelo said nothing and I only broken phrases. The nights were very tight.