When we moved to Perugia a year and a half ago, all was new, we knew no one. Then slowly slowly we got to know people. Our first proper invite out to dinner in to Perugia was from our insurance man. A big man, full of laughter who turned up at our house wearing a black ACDC t.shirt, I love that about Italy people come to your house to do business. I love even more that our insurance man was wearing an ACDC t.shirt, I was half expecting him to air guitar… He laughed a lot, I liked him.
He invited us one evening to his very full house, he showed us great photographs that he had taken. He was a brilliant photographer. Whilst he was showing us around the garden a mini helicopter landed expertly in to his hands, his son and my son’s beaming faces were smiling and they were leaning out of the first floor window of his house. We met his wife and his parents, who lived downstairs below them. Our kids played with their kids. His daughter banged hard in to a tree, she sat at the dinner table with an egg protruding out of her head. He wiped it with antiseptic and smoothed away her tears.
We talked about photography, he loved photography. He showed me an art magazine, I knew someone in the magazine, I didn’t say anything. I felt a bit shy. His wife made great food, they were generous and warm.
On the way home from their house we talked about when we would see them and that we must invite them over, weeks passed. We didn’t, we kept saying we would. One evening a few weeks later it was mid-winter and on the way back from a dinner, his car slipped on the ice at a turn off from the motorway, he died two hours later in hospital. His big, vibrant, expansive life seemingly snatched from him and his family in an instant.
I am grateful for that dinner he gave us, I am grateful for my life and everything in it. It is so unbelievably precious.