Late last Guido got his big hose out. Don’t go there.
He was washing out our courtyard when he made a big puddle in the gutter. The moon came out and shone there so it felt like suddenly the sky was upside down.
Then the telephone went, ring ring. It was my mother, Cruella.
“Darling, I need some urgent help,” she asked me breathlessly from her end of the line. “I’m in a suite at The Park Plaza Hotel in the middle of a completely delicious love affair. I’ve met a muscular thirty-three year old American vacuum cleaner salesman. He’s from a place called, Brookings.”
All I heard were the words – vacuum cleaner salesman – which came as a shock because the last I’d heard she was dating a Sheikh.
“He keeps telling me how wonderful Brookings is but I don’t know what to say about it,” she said, perplexed.
I chewed my lip. I assumed the hunk was laying some place nearby, completely exhausted.
“I’m not sure where that is,” I said, “but I think it might possibly be Montana.”
There was an awkward short silence from my mother. It was obvious she didn’t know where Montana was either.
“Look,” I said,”just tell him you have a love of wide open spaces and the great outdoors.”
There was a click on the line as she instantly hung up.
I did that Google Map thing. Brookings turned out to be a city in South Dakota. As you can tell issues with geography are hereditary.
The telephone went, ring ring again.
This time it was my friend Marc. In the past he’s had an intense relationship with an Italian guy called Secondo. The bust ups and make ups have been legendary. They split up in London a few months ago but now they’re apparently planning a passionate rekindle in Naples.
“Boxer shorts or thong?” asked Marc excitedly, “I don’t know which is best to wear for the big reveal?”
I had a feeling the question was rhetorical. I suggested whichever he thought was easiest to pull off. Then he hung up too.
“I’m worried about my mother,” I said to Guido. “She keeps having affairs with men half her age.”
Guido crunched a Dorito.
“I’m worried about Marc,” I said. “He’s going to try to find love with a mad Italian but in the final analysis I think he’s pinning too much on a thong.”
Guido crunched another Dorito.
“Well,” said Guido, “maybe that’s what it’s all about. The journey, the trying to figure it out. Perhaps in the end there is no answer to life’s great romantic questions except that not everyone ends up with who you think they should.”
I tried not to visualise my mother in bed. I couldn’t help wondering if the hunk was trying to explain the finer details of vacuum suction as she blabbed bizarrely on about the wild beauty of Montana.
Not to mention the twists and turns of Marc’s love life. For some reason it reminded me of a plate of spaghetti vongole – easy to throw together but prone to end up a horrible tangled mess.
Maybe Guido was right.
I looked at the gutter again. The moon was still there. Perhaps the world was upside down after all.