It was only the third day of the New Year and I had already decided that I was not going to write a single word until the end of the next century. When I am struck by that particular form of self-pity known as ‘writer’s block,’ I sometimes seek out the people I knew long before I actually had anything to say.
Sara, Francesco and I met years back at a school in Mantova, and found each other in Florence again five years ago. We inadvertently became neighbours in November—another lucky coincidence which supports the idea that one should always keep old friends nearby. I sometimes stop at their house for tea on my way home from work, especially when the day is cold and I need to be reassured that there is still warmth in this world. Only Francesco was home when I arrived that night, and since he was already drinking tea, I sunk into the sofa and told him my news. ‘I’m done writing about Italians,’ I said.
‘Good goal for the new year,’ he smiled.
His response was so mild that I decided to try something more drastic. ‘Maybe I’ll shave my head and move to Singapore.’
‘I don’t know—that’s why I want to go there. I already know about Italy. Basta, I’m bored.’
‘Alright. But before you go, come look at my new book.’