Her Name Was Aprile, a novel by Elisa Barbaro at Spillwords.com

Her Name Was Aprile

«Don’t be rude. Introduce your girlfriend to me.»
«Hello, I’m Meg. I’m not his girlfriend.»
«I’m Matteo. So, you’re not with anyone?»
«What are you doing here?» I asked, irritated by his unexpected intrusiveness.
Oblivious to my objections, he carried on talking to Meg: «Unfortunately, I’m his brother. I’m a year younger than he and I’m going to be coming to this school too, next September.»
«Your brother’s nice. I can’t say the same about you, though. You’re too touchy and a bit sulky too.»
«What? He’s not sulky, he’s a joker. You just have to give him time to warm up.» Matteo defended me.
«In fact, if you leave, I might find some of that time.»
«Sorry, but if she’s not your girlfriend, why would you be angry if I hit on her?» He said, smiling at Meg, but she didn’t smile back. So, he said: «Mum and I are outside waiting for you. We came into town by car. So, we can give you a lift home, if you like, unless you have a prior engagement with Meg, of course.» He gave us a big, bright smile and disappeared.
«She’s not my girlfriend.» I specified, but Matteo had already turned to leave.
«Your brother doesn’t waste any time.»
«If you wait until September he’ll be here and then you’ll be able to make friends with him, if you like him so much.» I began walking faster, leaving her behind.
«Touchy boy!» I heard her say, as I walked away.
Matteo looked like my father. He was tall like him and had inherited his lively, dark eyes and curly, black hair. His full lips were always smiling, especially at the girls, and he always had a funny line to win them over.
«Grandma, Tommy’s found the woman of his life. Hasn’t he told you yet?» He blurted out during lunch
My grandmother looked at me quizzically. «Is it Luna?»
«Luna has waned like the moon, Grandma. You wouldn’t understand.» Matteo joked.
«It’s not true, Grandma. I’m still with Luna. Matteo saw me with a girl from school, a weird sort.»
«She’s a dark.»
«A what?»
«I told you, Grandma, you wouldn’t understand. These are modern things and you’re ancient.»
When I was alone with my grandmother, I told her about my fear of making a mistake with Luna.
«From what she says, I don’t think she wants to be kissed, because she thinks it’s too soon. But, from the way she looks at me sometimes, she seems to be begging me to take the initiative, because she’s not brave enough. It might just be my impression though. I don’t know what to do. I’m afraid of doing the wrong thing.»
«Tommaso, women don’t always express what they really want in words. Sometimes they say what they think they should for a quiet life, because of their upbringing or for fear of trying and seeming too bold. You must try to understand their desires.»
«But how Grandma? It’s hard enough trying to understand my own.»
«You must learn to see what their eyes are saying. You need to observe them, read their gestures, listens to their sighs.»
One afternoon I took Luna to the beach. The sun was already going down and evening was near. She hugged me, like she always did, with warmth and sweetness. Her arms were slim, her face innocent and I could see love in her eyes. She looked at my mouth and paused, observing it, desiring it. It was right then that I decided to kiss her.
I had found the right moment and the perfect place for our first kiss: the sunset on the beach; the right words: the silence; we had exchanged the right looks: my eyes were looking into hers; the perfect music: slow and relaxing waves.
I moved closer, with my lips near hers, and our noses knocked together. We smiled. I tilted my head a little. She came closer and her teeth hit mine. We moved back for a moment, embarrassed. The romantic atmosphere was broken.
We managed to put our lips together in the end, but we didn’t really know what to do. We pulled away, without looking each other in the eye. It was a disaster: the beginning of the end.
As the days went by, I convinced myself that I still needed to learn everything about love, but above all, I realized that I didn’t really love her.
We split up. A few weeks later, I saw her sitting on the moped of a boy who was older than I.
I have never understood why girls are so fascinated by boys with mopeds.
«Dad, will you buy me a moped?» I asked one Sunday lunchtime. What moment could be better? He wasn’t working and he was relaxed.
«Tu si pacciu»(you are crazy), my mother said loudly, pointing at her head with her index finger.
«I asked Dad.»
«No way.» She continued. «You tell him too, Paolo.»
When cornered, my father had no choice but to agree with my mother. Besides, he could not contradict her every time.
When we were younger, he was much more accommodating, but now that we were adolescents, he was stricter and tried to calm our bizarre revolutionary ideas.
«No, Tommaso. You know I don’t agree with mopeds.»
«All right but tell Mum to buy me some red trousers. All my schoolfriends are wearing them.»
My grandmother looked at Matteo and me suspiciously. She realized we were up to something. My brother was too calm, and I had asked for two completely different things, one after the other.
My father rolled his eyes and Matteo, and I gave each other a knowing look. We had been studying our plan for days: my father could not say no to everything and, knowing his way of thinking, we figured that the worst of the two evils, for him, would be the idea of his son wearing red trousers.
«We might be able to talk about the moped later on, but the red trousers… ti poi scuddari (you can forget them). What kind of a colour is red for a man’s trousers? You’re a man, aren’t you Tommaso?»
«Of course Dad, but it’s a fashionable colour and all my friends have got them.»
«The men in my family have never followed fashion and they were all fine, isn’t that so, Carmela? How can a woman fall in love with a man who wears red trousers? Vaia finemula.» (Come on, let’s put an end to this)
My mother had figured out our game and would have liked to tell her husband that his figghioli were poking fun at him, but she decided to keep quiet.
That was the end of the discussion, but at least we would be able to talk about the moped later on.
I gave my brother a satisfied smile.

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