The medication worked quite well: he could mask the most obvious ailments and even eat a meal without vomiting. All he told Cora was that the doctor had diagnosed him with severe gastritis, and he was, therefore, forced into a more sad diet; the rest remained in the shadows.
Their relationship had never been idyllic, they had several disagreements and little common ground. Still, because of this, after some time, they had managed to find a point of balance based on tacit disinterest. While Cora at first made a point of calling him whenever she had something to communicate to him, as the months went by, she had begun to limit her discussions to evening meetings. Even after they had begun living together, she had become less and less concerned about notifying him when she decided to go to the movies with a friend or to return much later than planned.
For his part, Fausto had moved from a conception of life for two to a kind of necessary selfishness. When he passed in front of a travel agency’s window, he no longer looked for offers that Cora might also enjoy and increasingly imagined himself alone in a New York restaurant or on a lush beach in Thailand.
Also, on that fateful May day, after returning home, during a rush of remorse and false memories, he nevertheless decided to call the woman back.
“I realized that I miss you,” he told her, immediately ashamed of his mellifluous tone, “I know it may seem strange to you, but the truth is that there is a void here, and the only person who can fill it is you.”
He never knew how much truth lay in his words or whether they, by their creative charge, bore the only truth worth considering.
“Did you get it? Really?” she replied after pausing for a moment. “Who knows how… But it doesn’t matter. You know I love you and wish to live with you. Everything else is of no importance….“
His plan(a most improper and far-fetched term) was to remain in Italy until his health condition would allow him to hide his worst symptoms and escape to a faraway place (Indonesia? Brazil? Hawaii? Or perhaps a place that in atlases is indicated only by a dotted outline, with no labels or city placeholders…) without leaving any trace behind as soon as the warnings of the end became excessively insistent. Cora would never know: it was not fair to impose that heartbreak on her; the disappointment of losing for the second and final time the one she insisted on calling the man of her life was enough.
Precisely to avoid arousing suspicion, Fausto always tried to act naturally and only rarely opposed her requests. On the first Sunday in June, shortly after moving back in together, Cora asked him if he wouldn’t mind going with her to visit an aunt of hers who now lived alone in a large country house. He willingly accepted, although he did not want to be introduced as a boyfriend, partner, lover, or in any other way. Nevertheless, to hold up the part he set out to play, it was also necessary to submit to “normality,” and that out-of-town trip had to be assimilated into it.
The aunt lived in a large farmhouse on the border of Lazio and Abruzzo. It was neither a mansion nor an old aristocratic residence but rather resembled an old, now abandoned farmhouse in which a reasonably wealthy family had once lived, perhaps with numerous employees engaged in various agricultural tasks. After several decades, however, it looked rotten and uncared for, “Just like me…” thought Fausto as he stepped through the rusty gate leading into the clearing in front of the house.
The ground gave off a strong smell of rain, even though the weather was scorching and the soil dry and dusty. The grass was now growing haphazardly, and the few outdoor structures still standing: a small drinking fountain, an archway that probably bordered a pavilion, and the remains of a farmyard were completely overgrown.
“It’s beautiful here!” exclaimed Cora. “Right? I would love to come and live there someday… I am the only grandchild left around here. Sooner or later…” and winked in search of collaboration.
Fausto looked at her expressionlessly. So that was the real reason for the visit. Not an ordinary interest in the elderly relative, but rather a well-thought-out plan that probably included him. The hypothesis, though fanciful, irritated him.
“I don’t like it at all,” he replied. “It is shabby, dirty, isolated, and probably doesn’t even get electricity there. Not to mention the phone…“
“They’re getting it, they’re getting it… Be quiet,” whispered the woman. “Renovations are needed now, but won’t you allow me to have a little dream? You don’t have any?“
Fausto shook his head. Acting that part with conviction was already difficult; lying shamelessly was far too exhausting for him.
“Maybe I have,” he added with effort, “But certainly not the one to live in such a dump!“
“What is wrong with you?” exclaimed Cora, unable to comprehend that attitude. “Why do you react this way? I just told you that I would like to live here. I’m not even free to express an opinion?“
That paltry exchange confirmed that he was beginning to control his reactions rather poorly. “It must be a damned effect of my state of health,” he thought as he strained to be rational. Then, turning to the woman with a smile, he said to her, “Sorry, I was just being insensitive… However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that this place depresses me more than an avenue of cypress trees!“
Cora passed a hand over his face, a gesture more like Magdalene’s than an actual caress between lovers. They kissed and, holding hands, went to ring the old doorbell. A prewar electrical wire ran externally along the edge of the wall and disappeared inside a hole covered with cobwebs. Fausto followed silently, imagining the winding path through dust and old stones. In the distance, alone as a fly in the aisle of a church, echoed the dull hum of a buzzer.
Auntie came to open after a few minutes. She was a very old woman, petite and bent over, dressed somewhat modestly but polished and witty.
“Dear…” she exclaimed, showing her toothless mouth. Then, turning to Fausto, he added, “I have always had difficulty salting my favorite niece… You know, saying Dear Cora produces a racket that is all too unpleasant…” (ed. “Dear Cora” in Italian is “Cara Cora”)
“Don’t worry, aunt,” replied the woman smilingly. “Dear is more than enough! Meet my fiancé, Fausto“.
The old woman shook his hand: “You can call me Catherine. In my family, the proper name has always counted more than any other designation.“.
Fausto nodded, although he felt uneasy: he did not wish to pass as “boyfriend” at all, nor did he attempt to reach a certain level of intimacy with that woman. However, by observing her well, he realized he had many more affinities with her than with his niece.
Once they entered the house, they passed through two large empty rooms. “I only use a couple of small rooms,” said Catherine. “For me, this house is wasted. I don’t know what to do with it… Think about the fact that some time ago, I asked a gardener to fix the back lawn because I wanted to host a charity fishing, but in the end, when the parishioners of the small town heard that they had to come out here, they told the priest that it was just not appropriate… and I was left with my beautiful manicured garden, in the company of three cats and as many mice…“
“Yet,” Cora replied, “this house is lovely.”
“She is old!” exclaimed the woman, turning to Fausto. “Maybe it may be okay for me, but certainly not for you two… But still, you know that everything here is already yours. I could give it to you even now. I would have no problem going to the small nursing home in the village.“.
“But don’t say that even in jest!” intervened Fausto. “Cora has no desire in this regard. Yes, he indeed keeps singing the praises of this place, but I doubt that he would give up his comforts so easily….“
Cora silently confirmed those statements and cast a chilling glance at Fausto. It was tough to think that she desired to prematurely evict her aunt to move there and take for granted the participation of the one she had carelessly referred to as “her boyfriend.” For a few seconds, Fausto felt anger mounting: he hated that kind of bullying masquerading as love, and, to an even greater extent, he resented the idea of being tricked as a child.
Regardless of Cora’s plans, he wished he could decide to be part of it or keep out of it before the facts determined the conclusions of any choice. He clenched his fists. On another occasion, he would have left, but at that juncture, he realized that he had the coveted ace in his pocket to play in the last game.
“Let him believe what he wants,” he thought. “At most, he may take a photograph of me with him. Not even my grave will be within reach of his eyes….“
Auntie seated the two guests in a small sitting room and headed to the kitchen for water and liquor. Cora exploded like a mine as soon as they were alone: “But can you tell what’s on your mind? Why did you say that nonsense?“
“Would mine be nonsense?” relaunched Fausto. “But don’t you realize your aunt is convinced you want to throw her out of her house?“
“What are you talking about? What?” he shouted as he began to stamp his feet on the ground, “Who are you to know what my aunt wants?“
Fausto gestured with his hand to appease his soul: “Take it easy! Do you want to be heard? I’ve already told you that I don’t care about this house, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that you are free to do what makes you happiest!“
“Yeah,” exclaimed Cora, “But it sounds to me like you’re not convinced at all!“
“Yes, yes…” replied the man condescendingly. “I am convinced of this, fear not. But please regain some composure now. We are guests… yet“
Cora changed her expression again, but her aunt entered the living room just in time to avoid a further outburst of impropriety.
“Here you go,” he said in a squeaky voice. “The liquor is brought to me by some monks who make it still following the original recipe. It is an excellent digestive. Try it, Fausto; I am sure you will like it“.
The man started to reach for the shot glass, but Cora stopped him: “Have you already forgotten about your gastritis? Do you want to drink on an empty stomach?“
The chief physician’s sarcastic face appeared like a hologram, and he slowly rested on the couch again, “You’re right… Sometimes, especially when I’m better, I forget the doctor’s directions.”
“Do you also have some problems with your stomach?” asked Auntie. “My poor husband, Uncle Nicholas, suffered at the end of his days… He thinks he can no longer eat anything he loves most, which unnerved him more than the pain. Once, he even went so far as to kick out the doctor, a fool, after all, who had suggested that he be more controlled in his diet if he wished to live a little longer! What kind of advice! The poor fellow would die less than a week later, and the doctor urged him to deprive himself of the few pleasures he had left…“
At that moment, for the first time since they had entered, Fausto noticed that the parlor was filled with photographs of a middle-aged man with a large mustache and two very dark eyes.
“He’s my uncle,” said Cora, noticing Fausto’s attention to all those portraits, “Catherine loves to feel observed by him – doesn’t she?“
The old woman looked at the ground, “Actually, my dear, this is the only way to not feel the weight of impossible love still on my shoulders…”
“Do you mean ‘to feel the weight of love’?” attempted to correct her niece.
“No, no, you got it right. I know it may seem strange to you, but I am sure that you will understand this as well when you are in the same condition as me. For now, consider it the extravagance of an old…“
“But I understand it perfectly, even now!” protested Cora. “Those images keep you that’s normal! After a lifetime together, you still long to see his eyes and remember the good times of your youth! What’s strange about it?“
“Nothing,” intervened Fausto, who, until that moment, had remained silent, “If it weren’t just the opposite of what your aunt just told you…”
“But no!” exclaimed Cora abruptly, turning to the man, “Catherine was wrong-it’s obvious!“
Auntie shook her head. In that trivial debate, she seemed utterly ostracized. She looked at Cora and then Fausto, waiting for one of them to give her the word again, but her granddaughter seemed adamant in her interpretation of the truth.
“Do you think,” he said, turning to Fausto, “that a decades-long marriage can end in repudiating the love that founded it?“
“What are you ranting about?” the man reprimanded her. “Don’t you think your aunt is free to express her opinions? Or do you wish to explain even your thoughts to her?“
“Guys, guys!” interjected Catherine. “It’s not that important — why fight over such nonsense?“
“Of course, ma’am,” Fausto replied with as much formal detachment as he was allowed. “But I think by now you need to clarify with your granddaughter what you just told her…” Then, turning to Cora, he added, “I don’t want your aunt to pass for a — yes, I don’t think any kind words are needed now–you just pass for a crazy person!“
Cora became red and squinted as if she wanted to frame her prey better: “Do you think that about me? Come on, say it! Do you take me for a cruel woman who wishes to prove that her aunt is now out of her mind? Fear not! After what you said, no one is shocked here anymore!“
“Calm down!” exclaimed the woman, tired of the useless bickering. “I will repeat more fully what I have already said. And you, Cora, don’t be afraid — no one ever thought you had those intentions. Neither I nor Fausto. Take it easy. Here you are at home!“
The two guests nodded while remaining silent. The situation that had arisen was an accurate representation of the absurd: a scanty group of spectators was watching the forced recitation of a drama that had never been written, and the only actress had been thrown out of bed and pushed roughly to the center of the stage for no reason. Fausto lowered his gaze, shaking his head: “Why on earth am I in the middle of this situation?” he kept telling himself, hoping that Cora would intervene to put an end to that irreverent demonstrative paradox, but then again, he had been the one who had demanded an explanation to rehabilitate that old lady whom he barely knew and could no longer back down now. He breathed deeply and closed his eyes.
Catherine, as if nothing had happened, put back a white lock that was falling on her forehead and began to answer Fausto’s request: “When your uncle died, Cora, it was a terrible blow to me. I had married in my twenties, and after an entire life spent at my husband’s side, finding myself alone in this house showed me a vast chasm that split me in two. There is nothing strange about this; it is understood that any woman who is widowed in her old age can only discover herself naked in the middle of a thunderstorm…
But I also lived wholly isolated and could not, although I had plenty of time, indulge in any entertainment. Sure, I could have sold this house and moved to the village, but at my age, it was a commitment I didn’t feel I could take on. So I was alone, and everything took the form of your uncle.
He gave meaning to any of my actions, thoughts, and even the melancholy of life, so when I began to hear only the echo of my footsteps, I understood that I was like a bead sunk in the sand. Nothing was reasonable anymore: waking up in the morning was a futile effort, making breakfast, dressing myself, tending the plants, and waiting for Angelina to bring me groceries, and helping me with household chores. Everything was now stripped of its meaning.
I ate to not fall ill and dusted only the two rooms where I lived. Sometimes, with the cloth in my hand, I would get sleepy–at my age! I slept no more than four hours per night, and wishing to do so in the morning made me feel guilty. For what, then? This also turned out to be beyond my possible explanation. The inconclusiveness into which I had plunged was terrifying, and the lack of life drive was joined by the discomfort of realizing how miserable my condition now was. In front of the mirror, I was not just an old woman; I felt something else….
More I didn’t understand, and that seemed to suck what little energy I had left. I thought I was going crazy… Angelina kept telling me I should decide to move, but I pretended not to listen to her until… Until I realized I couldn’t do it anymore. It happened one November evening, shortly after sunset. I had finished eating some vegetables and an apple. I remember it as if it were yesterday, and I felt a suffocating anguish invade every corner of my body.
I let go of the chair where you are sitting now, Cora, and tried to cry. I couldn’t. It wasn’t significant even that gesture-or maybe my eyes had dried up by now. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I was afraid. A crazy fear without understanding why. Without realizing it, I got up and went upstairs to the bedroom.
I felt tired, damn tired. I observed the unmade bed but felt no desire to sleep. It was another bed that was calling me… I opened the French window, convinced that my time had come, but just as I was about to go out onto the balcony, I saw a small picture of your uncle and me.
You may not believe it, but at that very moment, I stopped and realized how stupid my purpose had been. From behind a glass graying with years, my husband had succeeded in denuding my nonmeaning, which, let me put it bluntly, could only be the pure nonmeaning of love…
I saw him standing beside me, smiling, with his pipe in his mouth and his eyes spiraling, and I burst out laughing. I closed the French window and went back downstairs. That evening I retrieved all the photographs buried in the dust and placed them in every nook and cranny: wherever I turned my head he was always there to say yes or no to my moods….
It sounds like a crazy person’s tale, but you can’t love a dead person! You can’t, Cora. Unless you throw yourself off the balcony–you can remember, certainly! And the memory will be alive, able to fight with you, curb your impulses, or push you to action, but loving will not. A broken love will bleed unceasingly, and every word addressed to those who were formerly close to you will run into an immense space, never finding anyone to pick it up and send it back“.
At the end of that narration, Catherine closed her eyes. She seemed to retreat into her memories while Cora, relaxing in the back of the chair, turned to Fausto and, without any compunction, murmured, “Pathetic…”
The man, finding himself amid a silent dispute, seized the ball and replied, “Well, I think everything is clear now. I agree with what has been said. It’s tough to continue to love someone who can no longer materially reoccur” and turned to Cora to try to persuade her to let go of that useless hold.
Having come to her senses, the aunt took both off the hook: “Why don’t you take a walk in the back now? Cora knows it well. She often got lost when she came here as a child!“
“Of course!” Fausto exclaimed, “That sounds like an excellent idea.”
“Yes, let’s take a walk,” the woman listlessly echoed as she stood up and pointed Fausto down the street.
The back garden was much more manicured and welcoming than the one that stretched across the entrance, as if Catherine had wanted to keep her little corner of Paradise to herself, leaving visitors to confirm how squalid and battered the estate was.
Behind three large French doors was a sizeable brick-paved area with an Art Nouveau canopy and three wrought-iron tables. Beyond it began the garden, with paths, flower beds, trees, and brambles. On the right, hidden by a bush, was also a fountain with running water and dozens of goldfish. Fausto felt captured by the simple beauty of that environment and regretted hastily saying that he hated the house.
“It looks just like another mansion…” he said, turning to Cora. “The entrance is depressing, but lovely here. I would spend hours there“.
“Yet just now, you were saying the exact opposite,” she replied in a piqued tone.
The man froze her, “Look, I don’t know what got into you, but the behavior with your aunt was deplorable — I mean, what do you care if she thinks differently from you?“
Cora paused with her back to him, her light brown hair shining in the sun, and a gentle breeze tousled it, and then she let it fall back into place.
“I have nothing against her,” he replied, turning around and revealing his clear face and bright eyes. “But I don’t understand how you can say such things… If I were to lose the person I love most, which is you, I would keep your pictures to remember our love, not to exorcise it! It’s just absurd…“
Fausto did not respond. That statement had awakened a dormant demon in him. He involuntarily touched his stomach and felt an excruciating twinge. How long could he have continued to hide the truth from that woman? The doctor talked about a maximum of 12 months, but the symptoms would worsen, and then there would be no chance to hide the reality. But was this not precisely what he had desired? He wondered as a slight gag began the retaliation against him.
“As soon as we get back into the house, I’ll get the medicine,” he thought as he followed Cora inside a small arbor that marked the boundary between the garden and the open lawn.
The atmosphere seemed rarefied and suspended in a virgin time. Turning around, he saw the majestic profile of the house and felt a keen sense of inferiority. Those stones would see him dead and then welcome his rotting flesh. His arms, which may have one day erected those walls, planted the trees, tended the hedges and the veranda, would have been sucked out of the earth while the work of his labor would continue to exist for who knows how long.
He shook his head, and the present instant meekly returned to its place. Cora had moved on, disappearing behind some trees. He hastened his pace, and the pain, constant until just now, vanished along with the melancholy thoughts.
“It falls asleep,” he said to himself, “It knows he’s got the scene anyway — damn it!“
He passed a large bush and saw Cora waiting for him with her arms folded, leaning against a tree trunk: “I used to come here a lot. I have never seen anyone else there: it is a small oasis protected from prying eyes….“
“Yes, I’ve noticed that. It was good of your aunt to invite us for a walk“.
“I don’t feel like walking,” replied Cora, smiling. “As a child, this place was the cradle of all my fantasies. I used to come here and dream. And it was not at all like doing it at home… Among these trees, there is nothing artifactual, and the silence is not intentional. It is there, and you find yourself in it without even meaning. Don’t you think so?“
“Yes, I understand what you mean,” Fausto replied, “I think I felt the same way myself…”
“Shall we make love?” the woman interrupted him.
“Of course! I told you no one ever comes here — you are more isolated than in your bedroom!“
Fausto disliked the bizarreness of such proposals, but he realized that he was no longer in a position to give up lightly except to realize with dismay that all possibilities had changed into silent statues of salt.
He approached Cora, hugged her, and began kissing her on the neck. He soon realized he was aroused and let himself fall onto the still-damp turf. He made love like a scared little boy, constantly threatened by the presence of people who had been granted the privilege of judgment. The idea dizzily increased the emotional force attached to those gestures, and within minutes, he found himself panting, exhausted in the soft arms of his companion.
“I felt like I was going to faint,” he told her under his breath.
“Yeah,” replied Cora, kissing him on the chest. “You were so excited, I could feel it. I told you this place is magical-so I was right.“.
At a different time, he would have countered by trying to explain to her that the location had nothing to do with it or, at least, not in an exclusive sense. He was the one who was now all too sensitive to the immense power of moral awe, and just taking the slightest risk awakened the untamed power of fear. Being aware that he had lost control of his life (if he ever possessed it) made him tiny in the face of the inescapable but, at the same time, gave him the spontaneous bliss of wilder enjoyment, less harnessed in the tortuous logic of civilized man. That was the “good” side of death: one dies only after, for a very brief moment, life has been granted without interdiction, without anyone in front of the agonizing person having the power to raise his index finger and point it.
“God, Heaven, and all the other nonsense,” he thought to himself as he closed his pants, “have been pulled up to serve this purpose — to no avail.”
When they returned to the house, Caterina had already set the table, serving lasagna Bolognese and baked rabbit. Under the guise of washing his hands, Fausto went to the bathroom and secretly took his medication. At the same time, Cora laid her eyes on each photograph, trying to notice what the fundamental differences were between one and the other.
“Please sit down,” said Auntie as soon as everyone returned to the dining room.
“So much food!” exclaimed Fausto. “Don’t think I can finish it all…“
“I didn’t know gastritis makes the appetite go away,” replied Cora. “But, for a few days now, you are very different — you used to eat much more. However, better that way…“
Fausto nodded, avoiding all stares, and swallowed his first bite of lasagna.
“I have a favor to ask of you,” Catherine said, turning to Cora, “Something you may not like, but I hope you can do anyway.”
“That is?” asked the woman with her mouth still full.
“Your cousin. Your cousin Irene“.
“Irene? But doesn’t she live in London?“
“She lived in England,” replied Catherine, shaking her head. “Until almost three months ago… Then I think she had trouble with the law. Problems related to politics, I think — and so, as you can imagine, she came back here. First, she was in Milan, then Florence, and finally, she knocked on my door. I am trying to help her, but my means are meager, which causes me even more discomfort… How bad it is to be powerless when the thing you want most is to give up every advantage to help those you care about! It is the worst feeling you can experience….“
“Of course,” murmured Cora. Then, turning to Fausto, with remarkable bravado, he added, “Irene was always a time-waster who disguised any nonsense with politics… A fanatic who was ready to demonstrate for the rights of dogs, bums, workers, and even the treponema of syphilis!“
Fausto smiled, but Catherine lowered her eyes at that stark truth.
“Don’t be so adamant with her,” her aunt begged her, suddenly raising her head again, “Irene made so many mistakes, but she did it in good faith, and to tell the truth, you never asked for anything.”
“Maybe to you…” blurted out Cora, getting up abruptly and rudely exiting the dining room.
While in college, she and Irene had started attending the same faculty: economics and business. However, while Cora studied with some passion, Irene preferred to engage in committees, events, and any other activities that served as an alibi for poor academic performance. She would read the pages of a book here and there and then show up for the exam with the boldness of a veteran; as soon as the professor invited her to try again in a later session, she would often start insulting him and calling him a “fascist.”
The result was soon disastrous, but on the other hand, Irene was the only person who could sustain any possible lost cause. Once, a student with a mass of hair that quadrupled the volume of his head went to a class carrying his tiny hamster in his pocket. Unfortunately for him, shortly after the start of activities, the rodent escaped and began to roam the long corridor where the classroom doors opened.
A janitor, unaware that it was a pet, mistaking it for a mouse, had chased it with a broom and, after knocking it unconscious, inadvertently pushed it into the crack of a manhole cover. The episode immediately made the rounds of the faculty, and many laughed about it without any pretense; Irene was the only person to consider the “seriousness” of the incident. Immediately, he called the desperate longhair and organized a demonstration to defend the rights of “small animals.”
When Cora met her in a club that students used as a “political hangout“, he could not restrain his exuberance and asked her in front of everyone if two flies that he had seen with his own eyes shooing away badly could also be allowed in that group of bums. Irene had exploded, calling her a “filthy capitalist“(a most grotesque falsehood) and, not paying for the shabby figure she had already made, she had run for a broom and struck her cousin from behind, shouting at her, “Do you like being treated like that poor hamster? Yes?“
From that moment on, relations soured irreversibly. Cora received a polite apology, but Irene’s attitude did not change, and one day, the latter sneaked into her cousin’s room and stole two necklaces and a pair of earrings and put in their place a slip of paper that read “Social Security Check.” After that, she disappeared, and for a long time, nothing more was heard of her.
“Cora has never forgiven her for her attitude,” Catherine said softly, turning to Fausto.
“Yeah… But now, what should he do for his cousin?“
“I have no idea,” replied the elderly woman. “Maybe help her regain some balance here… Maybe point her to some employment opportunities. At the very least, prevent her from falling into the same traps that once destroyed her future….“
Cora re-entered the dining room a few moments later. He apologized for his behavior and returned to the table.
“The thought of Irene drives me crazy,” he exclaimed. “I can’t do anything about it. Her way of getting away with it behind other people’s backs is that political nonsense! No! I get sick to my stomach just remembering them….“
“It’s different now,” murmured Catherine, “Time passes for everyone…”
“But if you just told me she was deported from Britain for political theft?” exclaimed Cora, clenching her fists. “Maybe another payment with a welfare check, isn’t it?“
Fausto did not feel he was a party to this; he did not even know that woman, but he could not remain silent either. Just as had happened that morning, he felt compelled (except he regretted it soon after) to intervene in that dispute.
“Cora, let me talk to her — if I understand that she’s still invaded, I’ll report it to you, and that’ll be the end. But if.“
“To hell with the ‘what ifs’!” cried the woman “There are no ‘what ifs’ with Irene! You don’t even realize it!“
“Listen…” attempted Fausto to continue.
“Agreed. All right — I don’t care,” replied Cora, abruptly lowering the tone of her voice. “If you want to be a good Samaritan, Catherine will give you her phone number. I can’t dissuade you — but don’t bring her to me! You will soon realize what kind of person you are dealing with.“.
The discussion ended without further exchange. Fausto would contact Irene to try to figure out what her actual situation was, and Cora, for her part, would continue her life because, after all, between the two of them, the only person who was allowed to use the verb indiscriminately, “continue” was unfortunately only her.
Filed for legal guardianship with Patamu: certificate
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