by Paolo Copparoni, translated into English by Ruth Stephens
Chapter 2 – Signor Bianchi
Marco, though surprised, agrees without hesitation to meet the director in his office as soon as possible.
While waiting at traffic lights, Marco wonders what the director could possibly want to see him about. He goes over in his mind the project he is working on and asks himself if he might have made any errors.
But he can’t think of anything.
The director’s office is one of those that ordinary employees dream of: it’s light and spacious, with antique furniture and leather armchairs.
It is the first time in 5 years that Marco has met Signor Bianchi, who doesn’t usually mix with the company’s staff.
“Come in, Marco. Make yourself comfortable” the director greets him, pulling forward an armchair for the confused young man.
“I’ve heard that you are a willing and reliable employee, and that you are good at your job.
I understand, too, that you have an excellent knowledge of English, which is why I wanted to see you.
I have an important opportunity for you.
We have just opened a branch office in Libya, and the managers there need someone to train the local employees in the operation of our machinery.
It would mean moving to Tripoli for a few months. What do you think?”
Marco is visibly surprised by this unexpected proposal and so pauses for a few seconds before replying.
He’s trying to understand what Sig. Bianchi is offering him, and to consider the advantages, and potential disadvantages, of such a career move.
“It’s an excellent opportunity to further your professional career,” continues the director, noting Marco’s hesitation.
He’s experienced in persuading others to accept his point of view, so he adds:
“And it could mean an increase in your earnings…”
“Yes, I am sure it’s a great chance for me,” Marco finally manages to reply.
“But, if you don’t mind, I’d like a little time to think about it. It would be a big change.”
“Of course,” nods Sig. Bianchi.
“I quite understand, but I advise you to consider it carefully, and then let me know your decision as soon as possible.
There are some opportunities that don’t happen twice, and I need your answer quickly in order to arrange everything. You would need to leave by next week.”
Marco leaves the director’s office and returns to his usual place of work in the factory. He can think of nothing else for the rest of the day but the offer he has received.
“It’s a good opportunity” he thinks to himself.
I’d really like to go, in fact it’s exactly what I want.
But… my friends? My family?
And Libya? I don’t know anything about life there.”
The next day, after a sleepless night, Marco picks up the phone and calls the director.
He has made his decision. His sense of adventure has won.
He will go to Libya!
With only a few days left before his departure, Marco goes home to Abruzzo where his family organise a big party for him. All his friends are there.
Having reassured his anxious mother, and listened to all her advice, Marco boards the train back to Milan.
His feelings are a mixture of sadness, at the thought of not being able to see his family and friends for some time, and excitement at the prospect of a new adventure!