I am currently in to anything Italy, not really sure what piqued this particular curiosity and few days ago while reading Mark Twain’s The innocents abroad, I remembered Stefano. That is his real name.
I met him a few months after I returned from England. His uncle was staying in the unit next to mine and he was visiting his uncle. Stefano spoke very little English and I spoke very little Italian. While his uncle worked ( very long hours), Stefano stayed home alone. I felt sorry for him and used to take him out for dinner most evenings. The Malaysian idea of going out for dinner is to go to the nearest Hawker center and order Malaysian style fast food.. Nasi Goreng ,Mee goreng etc. It was a culinary journey for Stefano and I really looked forward to spending time with Stefano.
He must have been 15 years old, was as tall as me and that trip to Malaysia was the first time he left home. Though he was only 11 years younger to me, I felt very maternal to him and I really wanted a son like Stefanos..all cute and innocent..
By then I had so many false signs of pregnancy.. I was already taking folic acid suppliment. I ensured that I ate healthy food..even going to hawkers I felt wouldn’t use too much MSG. I wanted to ensure a healthy start for my baby..and each month my world ended when I got my periods. But that particular month my periods was already late by few days. I didn’t want to rush and do the pregnancy test, but I was sure I was pregnant. I walked carefully, so I won’t trip and fall down like the last time and caressed my belly gently..imagining the little baby growing inside..my baby. I didn’t want to go to my normal doctor because I felt he was bringing me bad luck and I decided to go to a new doctor. New doctor for new beginning.. On day 7 after I missed my periods, I made an appointment with the new doctor and as I walked in to the clinic, for some cruel twist of fate, I knew I was getting my periods. I couldn’t go back to work because I was planning to go back and tell my friends after seeing the doctor that I am finally pregnant. I called in sick and went back to my apartment. As I entered my unit, I could hear the music from Stefano’s unit. When I was growing up, amma used to hit me more because I wouldn’t cry. But at that moment, I howled. The pain I felt was so big, it came out like screams. A part of me knew someone might hear me. But I couldn’t stop. Soon I heard someone ringing the calling bell. I saw from the kitchen window that it was Stefano. I couldn’t be rude to him and so I washed my face and opened the door. He obviously heard me crying. He asked me something in Italian and I assume it was ” are you alright?” How was I going to explain to a 15 year old kid what I was going though. I shook my head and then after a few seconds he asked me “coffee?”
I almost laughed at the irony. For weeks before that day, I didn’t drink coffee or tea because I knew the baby that was growing inside my body was in the developing stage and I didn’t want to eat/drink anything unsafe. No one has done a study if coffee/tea was safe during pregnancy. (anyone with sense would tell you that I was totally nuts.. but I really wanted a baby and was willing to go to the end of the world to get one).
Stefanos made me a glass of strong espresso..and we listened to Italian Music..
He went back home a week later. I never kept in touch..
But this was the song he was listening that day.
I also noticed that Lucio Dalla passed away a year ago..