SOLO CON TE
by Anton Wills-Eve
as this is the same as a prompt last year I am re-posting my experience.
Solo Con Te
It was several months since I last wrote anything of any importance by hand, but recently a strange necessity arose to make me do so. Edgardo, the youngest of my three sons and four daughters, just five years old at the time, had been asked to reply to a birthday party invitation and the card even had a reply form attached with a lined space for a child of his age to write on. But it was beyond him.
“Eh, Papa, non possedo ecrire in questo language. Mio caligrafico es crap!”
When I was his age I would have received a clip round the ear for that reply but it’s illegal nowadays. Okay he was born in America and had been brought up in France, Switzerland and Italy by an English/Australian father and an Italian/Austrian mother, but that was no excuse. I knew where his deliberate bad language came from. His nine year old sister Lucia, one of twins, delighted in telling him how to really annoy me and pretend it was because he was linguistically over challenged. So I played along and tried to understand his difficulties.
“Mio bambino caro, this exercise will be all in English, capisce?”
“Capisce is no English. You liar, Papa. God will punish you”
A voice from the doorway did not help either,
“Si, and quoting from an Italian opera ain’t gonna teach the kid much English either, in it?” You know those moments when the woman you love most in the world suddenly changes from ‘my wife’ to ‘his mother’? Well this was one of them. I lost my patience with her.
“Francesca. I’m trying to teach Eddie polite English. Give me a break, please!”
She roared with laughter and said our two months in London wasn’t improving the children’s English or the family’s bonding. That was when I realised Edgardo had wandered off to play elsewhere so I just scrawled ‘thank you. I’d love to come. Eddie’ on the invitation, sealed it and addressed it to the daughter of the Australian High Commissioner. Francesca posted it that afternoon.
The farce concluded two days later when our eldest child, twelve year old Maria, came rushing up to me and said “Daddy, Daddy is Eddie going to that girl’s party? Her brother’s just texted me to ask because they couldn’t read the handwriting on his reply.”