Enrico Maso, translated into English by Ruth Stephens
Chapter 2 – The Wisdom Of The Agave
In the days that follow, the grandfather’s initial impression that something is wrong is confirmed. Alberto, who is usually so extrovert, is strangely quiet.
“Cheer up!” says grandfather one afternoon. “The volcano is demanding our respects!”
One thing the two of them always do is take the car and go to a headland covered in agaves from where the volcanic cone of Etna can be seen in all its grandeur. It’s a magical place where you can walk and talk calmly.
Strolling among the plants, Alberto maintains his silence and so his grandfather decides to speak.
“You’re hiding something, my boy,” he says, “what is it?”
Alberto evades the question, saying everything is fine, but it is clear that it is not.
“Courage, courage! We can talk about it here,” his grandfather insists, “the volcano and these agaves have seen much worse troubles than yours. Don’t be afraid of frightening them!”
“Well,” Alberto begins, “if I really must tell you, there is something that’s been bothering me…..”
Wandering among the agaves, he then admits that there are problems with his girlfriend, Anna. He feels things aren’t the same as they were before and he would like to think of some way of surprising her, to bring them back together again.
“What are the things she’s really passionate about, this girl?” asks grandfather.
“Well, she’s studying medicine, she doesn’t have much free time…”
“There must be something that really warms her heart!”
“Ah, well, there certainly is,“ says Alberto, brightening, “she really loves the cinema. And the actor, Johnny Depp – there’s no one like him, for her.”
“Marvellous!” says grandfather, starting to laugh and with such a strong Sicilian accent that Alberto looks at him, uncomprehending. “Marvellous?” he asks.