Chapter 8 - In memory of Dave

In Memory of Dave

Language level: lower-intermediate


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What a bad day.

This morning I made a terrible error: I was sincere with an Italian woman. Concettina asked me if her bottom looked big in her new jeans. She asked me to be totally honest with her.
So I was:
“Yes,” I told her, “very big. ”
She didn’t talk to me again after that.  This is usually the sign that I am in big trouble.

A friend in need

So I went to Dave’s house to talk to another Englishman about this and that’s when I made the shocking discovery: ladies and gentlemen, Dave is English no more, he has transformed into an Italian.

There were many signs. Last week he moved his hands around while talking on the telephone; he even said “Mamma Mia!” at the end of the call.

Then last night he arrived at the restaurant 15 minutes late! 
At the restaurant he then refused to put ketchup on his pasta and ordered water with his dinner, which consisted of fish with a piece of lemon!
Then, when I asked him how he was, he answered “tired.’”
But then the worst thing of all happened. Our friend Marco came and I said hello, as always, but Dave hugged him and then he kissed him on the face! When I asked Dave about this he told me to “stay calm.” Then he ordered tea, but not ordinary tea, no: cold tea with lemon!

Mother!

That’s when I knew we had to talk:
 “Dave, have you told your mother?” 
“Told her what?” 
“Have you told her that you are Italian now? I think she should know.” 
“What are you talking about?” he asked. 
“Dave, listen,” I said, “I am still your friend, you don’t have to hide these things from me! But please be open and face reality... do you want me to call you ‘Davide?” 
Davide didn’t say a word, he just touched the side of his head with his finger.
I think it’s an Italian gesture for something, but I don’t know what.
 Returning home, I saw that he has also started to drive like an Italian, which means now I have to take the bus to work.

A window of opportunity

Back at home I didn’t feel well.
 “Are you OK?” Davide asked. “Not really, no,” I answered.

Then he started asking me the strangest questions:
 “Did you sleep with the window open?” he asked.
 I didn’t answer. “I’m having a bath,” I told him.
“You can’t!” he shouted. 
“I can’t have a bath?” I asked.
“No!” he said, “you just ate dinner!” 
I sat down again. I think I deserved an explanation:
 “What are you talking about, Dave?” 
“If you eat, then have a bath with the window open, you’ll sweat and die!”
 “Dave,” I said, “so you are saying that on some death certificates in Italy you can find ‘had a bath with the window open’ under ‘cause of death’?”
 “Probably,” he answered.

Farewell

“Well,” I said, “call me crazy, call me a mad hero even... but I’m going to take the risk, Dave, I’m going to have a bath. And if I don’t come back into this room alive, please tell my mother I loved her. Tell Concetta that I’m sorry about being sincere about her gigantic bottom and tell her that I loved her, too.“

And, before I had the bath, I went running for half an hour to get nice and sweaty, then I opened all the windows and had my bath.
 For Dave, this was like taking a full bottle of valium, but I survived.

Maybe an Italian would be dead after five minutes: we will never know.



In memory of David Dickens the Englishman (1975 - 2009).

Glossary

bottom - sedere
I am in big trouble - sono nei guai grossi
hugged him - l’abbracciò
to hide - nascondere
face reality - guarda in faccia la realtà
I deserved - meritavo
you’ll sweat - suderai


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