Monday, March 28, 2011

tre signorine

Yesterday was like summer’s day. Three signorine had granita on the terrace of my local bar and admired bambino while I had my cappuccino. ‘He’s big for his age,’ they nodded wisely, not more than 13 years old. They wanted to know where I was from and what language I spoke to my bambino in and where I had lived. They said their English teacher at school was no good and that they planned to go to stay with their friend’s grandmother in England in the summer to improve their English. I gave them some tips on learning English, feeling the teacher in me respond to this obvious need. Teaching is so old-fashioned here, even these teenagers knew it – we just copy off the blackboard and repeat our teacher’s bad pronunciation, they said! ‘Sei giovanissima, quanti anni hai?’ they asked – ‘You’re so young, how old are you?’ Bold as brass, two of them. The third didn’t say a word, just dipped her brioche into the lemon slush. Like three young ladies out for a chat. The two interviewers remembered seeing me and bambino in the photo shop last week.

Poor bambino had no chance of sleeping with those two clucking over him so I had to wheel him round in the sunny piazza afterwards; midday is a great time to be out on a Sunday in Sicily since everyone else is at home stuffing their faces. A gecko slithered over the bench into the shrubs – sprawling mother-in-law’s tongue and stiff cacti.

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