First of all, apologies for the recent silence – dilemmas summoned me homeward bound and so I’ve been absent from the keyboard.
I’m back now and, if I may say so myself, in full force.
Friday morning, I took Teresa to school like the model au-pair I can be, (she said she’d missed me and that gave me such a rush of joy so I promised her a gelato after school.) I then picked up a bouncy orange from the market and did some errands at home. At around midday I trotted off to meet a friend in a cafe’ in a piazza near the river Tevere. The sun was out and the sky light and blue.
I was early so took out my book Mrs Hemingway and was doing a spot of people watching, minding my own business (ahem.) The sun started to wonder over to my side of the piazza and a waiter promptly bumbled over.
He had a creased forehead, piggy eyes and generally looked like a grumpy bugger who was used to sauntering around this piazza for years.
I smiled, lowered my sunglasses and asked for a cappuccino in my best Italian. He frowned, lowered his chin and notepad and put his hands on his hips.
“Un cappuccino?” he gruffed. “A quest’ora?
A cappuccino? At this hour?
I looked at him, blinking in the sun. He looked at me, his moustache bristling as if I’d just produced a shotgun and was threatening to shoot him in the foot.
“If it isn’t a problem?” I retorted, politely (but I like to think with a twinge of sass.)
He continued to stare. So did I. Was this – was I in the middle of a culture-clash-stand-off?
He cleared his throat.
“We are actually beyond cappuccino hour, signorina, but, ” he threw me a false smile, “of course I can get you one.” He wiggled away and I, dumbfounded, went back to my book unable to read.
How dare he question my requests and impose his opinion on my coffee-timing standards? How dare he insinuate my cappuccino-hour ignorance? How can he not know that frothy milk this side of the river is SO DAMN GOOD and that a measly espresso is sophisticated, but sometimes just DOES NOT SUFFICE?
I felt upset and confused. I didn’t know what to do with myself – what to think.
I’m sure he didn’t mean to hurt me, but he did. Coldly, he didn’t even ask if I wanted something to eat – a fresh croissant, perhaps. I was sure he did that on purpose to spite me. I knew what I had to do – rise above it and shake it off. Its not worth it, he’s not worth it, the cappuccino’s not worth it. I took a deep breath and told myself to move on.
That minute, my friend swung up to the table. I jumped up to give her a kiss on the cheek, and I felt his eyes bearing down on me as he polished the pearly, heated cups inside.
The aforementioned cappuccino arrived and, as I’d hoped, was as frothy as ever. BUT I noticed he neglected to add the sprinkled chocolate heart which, everyone knows, is the best bit.
He will regret this, I concluded.