Friday, 7 August 2015


   "Then why did you stay there so long?"

  After a short pause, in which the old man himself began to wonder why, he said: "I think I fell in love". "You?" said his godson, laughing. "I find it hard to believe!" "Impertinente!" - The old man was Italian.
   A long time ago, a very long time ago, he had been Oscar-nominated for a 'best foreign language film' which he had both starred-in and directed, set in Copenhagen; so it was only natural that on his arrival in Los Angeles they called him "the Dutch guy". When he decided to stay, and make his home and career in Hollywood, the name stayed with him.
  "No-one 'thinks' they fall in love," said his godson. "You do or you don't. Trust me." He, on the other hand, was from America. And at an age (not yet twenty) when a new-found confidence, risking impudence, finds itself indulged - encouraged almost - by those nearer the end than the beginning of their lives.
  "So! The arrow has pierced your tender young heart already? Povero bambino!" said the Dutch guy, resorting to his native tongue. "Just a glance. Don't make a big thing of it." The young man was also at that age. "Mine was more than just a glance, you should understand," said his godfather. "But it was what you in America call 'a love-hate thing'."
"Oh. One of those. Been there. T-shirt. Una cosa di amore-odio. Isn't that how you say it?" His Italian was excellent, but his godfather never acknowledged it, and insisted they talk in English 'because he found it difficult to understand him otherwise'. Upon hearing his godson's quite remarkable translation from idiom into idiom, all he said was - "Since you were a child you have been coming to Rome, and yet you have accent of a tour-guide."

They were sitting in the old man's apartment.....

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