Reading time: very short
The reconciliation between the two boys wasn’t too warm or emotional. Simone knew Elia, but he never spent much time with him. They were friends, but not very close. And when Elia was adopted they said goodbyeeach other with a simple hug and a “good luck”.
The reason for this was simple: age. Elia was five years younger than Simone, which prevented the two from bonding too much. They had different friendships, different lessons and different courses, as well as different passions and interests. But they slept together, in the same room, in the same bunk bed … and this led them to get to know each other and talk to each other over time.
<<So?>> Simone asks after the pleasantries <<What are you doing here? Isn’t it a bit too late to come and get something you forgot?>>
<<Eh?>> is the slightly distracted response of the boy.
<<It was a joke.>> Simone immediately explains <<Some come back after a day or two to get things they forgot, you know …>>
<<Yes. Yes, I understand.>> Elia nods; he has a grim face and a slightly nervous aspect, which pushes Simone to become much more serious.
<<What … happens? Why are you here?>>
Elia throws a strange look at his old friend <<You …>> hesitates a moment before continuing <<you have not been adopted … eh?>>
A half smile escapes Simone <<I was lucky. And I was too old anyway. I was seventeen when you left. What sense would it have had to adopt me?>>
<<Lucky you …>>
<<Let me guess … shitty family? >> Simone asks at this point.
<<No, on the contrary … it went very well for me .>>
Simone sketches another half smile <<I saw you on social media. You became famous… more or less.>>
<<And you have also improved with the piano.>>
<<A little>> Elia admits <<we don’t have a real piano at home though. It’s a pianola.>>
A slight awkward silence falls, which Elia immediately tries to break.
<<So … uh … Bea?>>
<<She’s gone too.>>
Simone gives a half laugh <<Two years after you.>>
<<I bet Giacomo took advantage of it, huh?>>
<<Nah. When you left she and Giacomo never spoke again. I think they had a fight.>>
<<Good. He was an asshole. >> Elia comments <<I mean … no. He wasn’t. But is still good.>>
Simone laughs again <<He is still here.>>
<<Yes. He was not adopted. In two years he will be 18 and will start working.>>
<<Yes. I started working at 18. And since I live here I save money to buy a house as soon as I leave.>>
<<And how much time do you have? For going out I mean.>>
<<I have up to 25 years. Not more than that. By then I hope to have enough money to buy myself at least one shack. If I don’t spend it all on alcohol.>>
<<Do you drink alcohol?>>
He smiles <<A little … >> he says with a guilty smile.
A slight silence falls again, much less embarrassing than before.
<<It was nice to see you again, anyway.>> Simone says at the end, making the boy understand that he is about to go.
<<Yeah. Um … you asked me why I was here, right?>>
Simone freezes for a moment, looking him straight in the eye<<Do you want to tell me? >>
<< M… maybe.>>
Simone nods sympathetically <<Do you want to sit down? In our usual place maybe.>>
<<He will be already taken.>>
<<Then let’s go to my room.>>
<<Your room? Do you have a room?>>
<<Do you remember the locked rooms on the top floor?>> Simone asks with a half smile <<They are private rooms for adults! And I have one!>>
<<Come on>> Simone beckons to follow him <<let’s go.>>
Before following him Elia casts a nervous and worried look around, as if he were waiting for something … or someone.
Then he advances towards the interior of the orphanage.