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Extraordinary date

  The two of them were sitting on the terrace eating lunch, as before. She sliced ​​slices of white bread—Mrs. Sabodina’s thick toasted crust—and placed it on a plate with ham, olives, and mozzarella. It’s his favorite lunch – he said, it’s only available in Italy. The father and daughter sat under the flower stand, overlooking the valley and the distant mountains. She likes to throw olive stones out of the low wall, hoping that they will take root and sprout and grow into an olive garden; the stones thrown away in previous years have already sprout and branches outside the wall. He smiled at her and sipped the wine slowly. He always had a glass at lunch. She only drank mineral water in large bottles, which were filled with various certificates issued by the inspector. “Professor Eduardo Millitello, Institute of Hydrobiology, University of Parma, has proved that the ingredients in this bottled water include: calcium…”
  She liked the sound of the names, the signatures and the complex and gorgeous language. What is the “Professor of Aquatic Biology” doing? She constructed an ancient university building in her mind. In the cold depths of the building, hidden kingdoms were bubbling and smelling of sulphur.
  ”I can’t help but want to sleep when I get here,” he said, reaching for the bread. “Italy has magic on me.”
  She smiled. “It’s okay to do nothing.”
  ”I really do . Should retire,” he said. “This place is suitable for long-term living. A year and a few months are not enough. It takes a
  lifetime to live.”
  ”What are your plans? You really plan to stay here until college? Have you made up your mind?” His voice sounded laziness, but still showed concern and anxiety.
  She nodded. “I like it here,” she said. “I’ve always liked it. You didn’t say that, you should spend more time here.”
  His expression was hesitant. “But can you do more this year? Go somewhere else, like—Australia, Canada. I know a lot of people over there. It’s going to be interesting, you know.”
  He He added another sentence: “Life is too short. I won’t lie to you.”
  ”But I don’t want to go anywhere else,” she said. “I probably won’t have a chance to stay here for so long. I can go to those other places later.”
  ”But what do you do all day? There’s nothing to do here. You can do it. You’ll be bored.”
  ”No. I can read, I can take the bus to Siena, and I can sign up for music lessons. I’ll sort it out.”
  ”If you really think about it…” There was still some doubt in his voice. He didn’t want to interfere with her freedom, but he was such a precious daughter, and his only relative now was her.
  ”I figured it out.”
  This house was built in the 17th century, at least the main part is already that old. It has been expanded a lot over the years, and the newly built parts have been integrated with the old house and cannot be distinguished. Now the whole building looks strange and charming. There are all kinds of surprises hidden in the house, some rooms are so big that you need to turn around, some corridors seem to be endless, and some cabinets have turned into cellars.
  The house was bought by him after a long legal battle, but when he got the house, he felt that he did not become the owner of the house; it did not belong to anyone, at least not to anyone. a living person.
  There are many animals sharing the house with them. The bats have a small nest, firmly attached to a brick exterior wall, and descend from the sky screaming in the evening. There were several cats. The first time he visited the house, he saw a few semi-wild cats. Now these are only their offspring, which have been raised by Mrs. Sabodina, who looks after the house. The fox had a family and lived in an old shed that was propped up against one wall of the storeroom; and of course there was the elusive rat, who was always rustling around in the cracks in the ceiling and behind the skirting boards.
  He bought the house to keep his wife happy because she loves Tuscany. He originally thought that everything could be restarted from scratch, but it did make a difference for a while. It was like having another child—two people who had to share responsibility—but it didn’t last long. She was tired of him, and he knew it very well, and she couldn’t hide her absent-mindedness. The two ended up spending a week together here, and the torment of being speechless and pretending to be polite made these last days extremely heavy. When he left, he understood that they were not coming back, that their marriage was over, and that she would return to America to start her new life. There are people out there who like her. He never understood them, and eventually he figured out that they didn’t care. He found that they were completely incapable of understanding anyone who was unfamiliar, who had a different mindset, accent (which is considered their own culture), and concerns than theirs. He even thought that they were a little surprised that there were other people in the world outside the United States.
  At least Emma stayed by his side. She has never been close to her mother (she has no interest in her daughter), and although she regrets her mother’s departure, it doesn’t seem to be much affected. Now the two of them are left, and they are enjoying themselves; he is in his fifties, doing all kinds of shady business, his office is in London, and he has a group of people, and his life is boring; She was only nineteen years old, and she went to the most expensive schools all the way. She had never endured hardships, but she always felt that something big would happen, that her real life would begin, and she would do it the way she wanted. .
  He had expected her to change her mind in a week and promised to go back with him, but she had no intention of leaving. He went to Mrs. Sabodina again, whose cottage was on the edge of the land he had bought. He knew that she liked Emma very much, and he believed that how she guarded the house so that no one would break in, and how she would try her best to protect her, which made him feel a little relieved. If Emma was staying here completely alone, he would never have agreed – he even had a fight with her.
  As he expected, Mrs. Sabodina was very happy to hear that she had company. He didn’t speak enough Italian, unlike Emma, ​​so he didn’t quite understand what Mrs. Sabodina was saying, but her joy was clearly on her face.
  ”I’ll remind her to write to you,” she said. “Every week, do you understand? She’ll write to you, so just wait.”
  He smiled. “Okay,” he said, reminding himself to pay her more. She looked after the house, so she didn’t have to pay rent, but he knew she was struggling. It was easy for him to help her improve the situation, but for so long, although he knew about the situation, he did nothing. Now that he really needs to rely on her, he came to help, which really made him feel bad. The day before they left, they strolled to the church of San Cosimo. It was the father and daughter’s favorite place—a small church that, although the priest and the congregation were no longer here, it was still in good shape. The chapel is next to a hill, and you can walk along a white dirt road. If you continue on, you will see a large vineyard. Next to the locked side door is a stone wall with a slit and a legend (“Please show your love”) inscribed above it, the handwriting of which has been blurred over the years. The two of them would stuff a coin into the crevice every time. It was funny at first, but gradually it became a little superstitious. Where the inserted coins fell, they still couldn’t figure it out. Not a single sound could be heard, no metallic clanging at all, as if the silent church had swallowed their offerings.

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