Tea for Two

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

by Rita Siligato

Brr brr… Brr brr…

She is now accustomed to the peculiar sound of a British ringtone. She owns a brand new smartphone – a gift from her sister Marina – and her grandnephew Kevin helped her to memorize a few numbers in the phonebook. Now she always knows who is calling. She preferred the surprises, an unexpected call from a friend, even the “Sorry, wrong number” calls. 

It is almost eight in the evening on a hazy Sunday in July. Dario is somewhere in the house, reading or dozing off, waiting to be called for dinner. Redenta is sitting by the kitchen table, in the thin air flow between the door and the window.

Brr brr… Brr brr…

No one is answering. Maybe something was not right with the phone. Maybe she “blocked” his number: she did it before, once. Kevin told her not to worry, it’s easy to “block” and “unblock”, sometimes it happens when you press the wrong key. Biting the nails on her free hand she stops the call and punches on the picture of Duncane again.

Brr brr… Brr brr…

“Auntie?”

Oh, here he is. She has so many things to ask him.

“Have you had your dinner yet?”

“We ordered something to be delivered a few minutes ago. I was busy watering the garden right now, it’s scorching hot here today.”

Fish and chicks, I am sure. Janet told me once you always order fish and…”

“Chips, it’s chips, aunt Redenta” says Duncan, laughing. “Chicks, at my age, auntie…”

“Anyways… will you watch the match tonight?”

“Of course, auntie. The Professor is with us, too. He says hello to you guys. And Janet and the boys.”

Duncane has two sons, and each has a son of their own: a house full of boys.

“And the wives?”

“The wives decided to watch the match by themselves. The door! Jas! Janet! I’m on the phone with Redenta! The door!”

She hears a ding dong in the distance, repeated and in some ways anxious: she listens to the muted voices of Janet and of someone who is saying something like “pepperoni pizza” and “for two”.

“Oh! Tea for too! It’s a lovely song, even if a bit old and repetitive…”

“Auntie… I don’t want to push you, but my pizza is waiting for me. And the match is starting in half an hour. You said before you wanted to ask me something.”

“Many things, Duncane.”

He is struggling to comprehend what she is saying and trying to bring into play his pidgin Triestino to make himself understandable. He snorts, lightly but intelligibly.

“I will watch the match with my husband,” Redenta says. She still articulates the word “husband” with pride, savoring it: it is a new word – even if more than ten years old now, but still exciting – that does not quite suit her fiancée of more than fifty years.

“Usually we don’t watch tv, we listen to some records or to the radio, but tonight…”

“Tonight the whole world will be watching, auntie.”

“Anyways… will you please explain me what is an offside? You know, we call it hopside here, I heard two men talking about it on the bus, I am sure.”

“Auntie, it’s very tricky for me to explain an offside on the phone, moreover in Triestino. Maybe next summer we will come to Trieste and I will show you.”

“I can’t wait till next summer. I have to understand it right now, before the match. For example, if the referee whistles and calls a hopside, how do I know if it is right?”

She hears muffled sounds on the other side of the call: Duncane must have covered the microphone with his hand, maybe he is telling something to Janet and the boys. They were calling him, she heard their voices before: “Duncan, time is running out, we will eat your pizza, too!”.

“I have to go now, auntie. May the best team win!”

“We hope not!”, says Redenta, laughing, hearing the hang up sound of the phone. 

She gets up and she calls her husband, shouting: “Duncane and the family are having pizza tonight. Like us! Come, Dario, it’s hot from the oven!”

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Rita Siligato
Contributing Author. "I was born in Trieste on November 30, St. Andrew's Day. I teach creative writing at the School of Music in Trieste. The class is called “Le Bustine di Minerva” (you find it on Facebook). Being a professional editor, I usually work “on the other side of the mirror”; I enjoy writing and reading. I love gardening and cats. Cats and gardening. I love them both, one at the time. Cats can break a gardener’s heart. While working on my PC I always listen to Radio3 or BBC3. My favorite musicians are Frank Zappa and Bach, not necessarily in that order. There is no room enough to tell you about my favorite writers."

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