The Way We Were

>> Saturday, 16 June 2007

My English essay! Edited a little. Ok so I didnt like it very much, (but I deserved more than 38! x( I like Italy! Characters based on my parents. I'm serious! Dad's Christian name is Thomas, Mom doesnt have one. xD Neh 888 words only?! Microsoft Words must be kidding me.

It has been 20 years since I last been here. It seems like just a blink, but everything had changed so much. The buildings were taller, the vehicles more, but the sky and the river are still as clear as before. I stepped out the taxi and breathed in the Italian air. Being in the US for so long, it had brainwashed me into an American. I had two American wives, but they were old stories. There is nothing to be said about them. I have brought my family over to New York after I graduated, so strictly speaking, there is nothing left her for me except for my Italian tongue, my Italian heart and my Italian memories.

It was evening, by then. The purple orange glow shone on the river and the lovely couple on the gondola. Families sat by the table near the river and ate their dinner, children chasing each other around and screaming in Italian. It was so familiar, and yet so new to my ears. What had become of me? I stared at the couple, the song The Way We Were slowly and softly played inside my head and the shadows of those two slowly appeared. Thomas and Jane. I smiled. I heard from my old course mates that they were married and returned to Malaysia, a far Eastern country. They have proved to me that first loves are not necessary failures. But, failure or not, that doesn’t matter. I don’t remember the first girl I kissed or the first girl I woke up with.

Thomas and Jane were the loveliest couple I’ve ever seen. Thomas, studying in England, then, came to Rome for a visit. We knew each other in the subway. That time, Jane was my course mate and also my house mate. Even so, we weren’t very close, but I liked her because of her innocence. Secretly I called her Arianna, an Italian name which means ‘innocent’. And so I became buddies with Thomas, and out of a sudden, Jane got to know him, too. As I didn’t have the same lecturer as Jane’s, we seldom see each other, and it was even rare for both of us to meet Thomas at the same time. I heard from her that she and Thomas went outings together. I didn’t treat it seriously as they just met and I don’t believe in love at first sight either. However, as time went by, they started to walk together. I was in rage. Besides that I was jealous of Jane, as I couldn’t spend more time with Thomas, I was even jealous of him.

I tried chasing Jane. For the whole year, my heart was never on my studies, and I flunked my whole second year. I was required to re-take the exam, whereas Jane graduated and went up to third year smoothly. Thomas went back to England on August, for his semester was about to start. Just when I thought that I had the chance, the both of them still kept contact. I was so angry that by the time Thomas came again; I beat him up, landing him in the hospital. When I confessed my love to Jane, she cried and slapped me. The hot, burning sensation was still on my left cheek. I suddenly realized what I have done wrong. I regretted it so much that I couldn’t even face any of my friends.

That was how I ended up in New York. I transferred my credits to another university and finished my course. It was there I had my first and second jobs, and it was there I married and divorced my first and second wives. Life was hectic, but I’d never know until now that I had thrown everything of me away.

I breathed the fresh air and greeted my first ‘salve’ and ‘ciao’ after 20 years. And then I used my cellphone and made an international call. After a few dials someone picked it up. “Hello?”

Jane’s voice was still pretty much the same, except deeper. “Ciao, senorita Jane,” I greeted.

“Ciao… oh, Anatole?” her voice was suddenly chirpy. “Where are you now?”

I turned and faced my back to the river, looking at the vehicles passing by slowly as if they own all the time on Earth. “Back in Italy. How’re you and Thomas?”

“We’re alright. He’s not as handsome as before, though. He’s in Arab now, working, leaving me with the three kids.”

“Three already?”

“Yes. The eldest one - I think you should remember Win Zee; I sent you her photo, no? – she’s 16, having her O-Levels this year. I had another daughter and son, which forms a trio.” She laughed heartily. “So, how’s your life?”

I shrugged. “So-so. You know how the Americans are: working, marry, divorce, etc.. Both of you must have a really strong bond. I envy you.”

“There are some heated arguments and fights, but we tried to reconcile, for the sake of the three little monkeys.” She was silent for a moment, before she continued: “Can you still sing me that phrase from The Way We Were?”

I smiled. “Could it be that it was all so simple then? Or has time rewritten every line? If we had the chance to do it all again, tell, would we? Could we?...”

ps Anatole, Italian name, meaning 'rising sun' I think xD Yea I did research too. Cuz I was searching for Italian names. So coincidental! Fascinating! xD

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