فصل 07

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فصل 07

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متن انگلیسی فصل

CHAPTER SEVEN

A difficult dinner

‘Could you please watch Thomas?’ Ruth asked Carlo as they sat down at a table in a bar. The little boy had run off and was throwing salt on the ground.

‘Relax,’ Carlo said to Ruth. Max could see that Ruth was getting angry. She got up with the baby in her arms and went and took the small boy’s hand and pulled him back to their table.

‘He needs someone to watch him,’ she said, looking angrily at Carlo.

But Carlo was talking to Stephany. Max watched Carlo and Stephany. They were laughing together happily. Stephany turned to Max.

‘Last time I was here Carlo taught me to water-ski!’ she said. Her eyes were happy. Max began to feel a tiny bit angry. Stephany knew he couldn’t water-ski. Was she trying to make him jealous? Or perhaps she was trying to make Ruth jealous. She seemed to be doing a good job.

‘Carlo!’ Ruth was shouting at him. The little boy had run out of the door of the restaurant and down the street.

Carlo said, ‘You know my mother offered to take care of him.

‘I want Thomas to eat with us,’ said Ruth. ‘Relax and let him play, then,’ Carlo said. Just then the baby started crying. Ruth got up.

‘I think I’ll go home if you don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I can’t look alter Thomas and the baby in a restaurant without any help.’ Her face was red.

She looked as if she was about to cry.

No-one moved as she got up, holding the baby in one arm, the small boy’s hand in the other.

Max began to feel very angry. Why didn’t Carlo help Ruth?

He was also angry with Stephany. She should understand how Ruth felt.

‘Don’t go,’ Max said to Ruth. ‘I’ll take Thomas for a walk until his food arrives. We’ll go and see the boats, shall we Thomas?’ The little boy looked at him for a few seconds then held out his hand.

‘Thank you. Max,’ said Ruth. She smiled at Max. She had relaxed.

‘You have your drink,’ Max said, ‘and I’ll be back in a minute.’ He walked down the narrow street with the little boy’s small hand in his. They got to the beach where some people were putting a boat into the water.

The little boy stood and watched. Though he must have seen all this hundreds of times before, he seemed very interested.

‘Do you like boats?’ Max asked. He didn’t really know what to say to children.

‘Si, Thomas replied. Then he said something else in Italian.

How wonderful. Max thought, that a young child can understand English but reply in Italian. And I can’t understand a word he says. Apart from ‘si’.

The little boy said something in Italian again.

Max smiled at him. The little boy looked at Max, trying to understand why he didn’t reply to him. Then he smiled. It seemed he understood suddenly that Max only spoke English.

‘Let’s see the fish,’ he said in English, and Max, smiling, said, ‘Yes, let’s…’

They walked beside the water. Some men in a small fishing boat were taking some fish off the boat. The fish were silver in the evening light and a small crowd stood round the boat.

Max and Thomas were enjoying themselves so much they almost forgot the time. They went back to the restaurant. Max felt pleased that the little boy had trusted him. He hoped Stephany had seen what he did. If he couldn’t water-ski, at least he could show her what a good father he would be!

‘He’s a sweet kid,’ Max said to Carlo.

‘When he’s not being bad,’ Carlo said and gave the boy a kiss. Max sat down. The baby was asleep. Ruth was drinking some beer. Things were going to be all right after all. They talked about every-day, ordinary things.

‘What do you do Max?’ asked Carlo.

‘I’m an architect,’ said Max.

‘That’s interesting, I work with quite a few architects,’ Carlo said. ‘I’m a surveyor.’

Stephany tried to talk to Ruth, but Ruth didn’t say much to Stephany.

Thomas was playing a game with Luigi the waiter. The waiter was making paper hats and putting them on Thomas’s head. Luigi was laughing. He seemed to enjoy playing with children.

‘It must be hard work with two children,’ Stephany said.

‘It is,’ said Ruth. ‘In some ways I find it harder living here in Italy.’

‘But the Italians love children,’ said Stephany. ‘I mean, look, the waiter is very kind to Thomas. In England, people don’t like seeing children in restaurants.’ She didn’t add that she understood why.

‘I know, they’re wonderful with him,’ said Ruth. ‘But if your own family isn’t here, it’s hard. There are not so many places for mothers and children to meet each other.’

‘You’ve got Carlo’s family,’ said Stephany. ‘They’re lovely people. I love his mother. We get on very well.’

‘Hmm,’ said Ruth. ‘It’s a bit different living here.’

‘I’d love to live here!’ said Stephany. ‘It’s so beautiful with the sea and the sun and the lovely people. You’re very lucky.’

Ruth looked at her. ‘She has no idea what it’s really like,’ she thought. ‘How can she call me lucky, when she has a good job, a handsome boyfriend, and she’s free? And she is so good-looking. Carlo was probably in love with her.

‘Perhaps he still is!’

But she said none of this.

‘I’ve an idea,’ Carlo said suddenly. Luigi the waiter was picking up their plates as they were getting up to leave.

‘We could all go to the festival tomorrow night up in the mountains. It’s a special day in a village. There’ll be a party with food and wine and dancing. It’ll be fun! Won’t it Ruth? We went last year and had a very good time.’ Yes,’ said Ruth.

‘Oh, it sounds great, doesn’t it?’ Stephany said to Max.

But Max was silent. He didn’t know if he was going to spend any evenings of this holiday alone with Stephany.

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