Lorenzo’s Loneliness

The cuckoo sings in the trees outside and the glint of the morning sun catches the silver picture frame on the dressing table. Lorenzo blows a kiss to the photo of his wife before rising for the day’s chores. Nothing has changed for the last six months. Lorenzo has always wanted to follow a daily routine and stick to it, so he’s spent the last seventy years trying to get rid of all his distractions. Now that Irene has passed away the family doesn’t come to visit anymore, the kids don’t check in and there’s no bread in the oven.

Breakfast is a can of cannellini beans. Lunch is a boiled egg. Dinner is whatever the vegetable garden has to offer, thrown into a pot and served with pasta. It gets pretty lonely and uninspiring for Lorenzo, but he goes about his duties with the same vigour each day.

The garden is a terrace overlooking the hills and valleys of Perugia. A few chickens occupy the coop in the corner, and the vegetable garden is nearby. The rest of the terrace is formally arranged with cypress pines and lush lawns. When the legion of family members used to visit the lawn would take two months to recuperate from the trampling. Nowadays the lawn is perfect, but no one puts it to any use.

Regardless, Lorenzo manicures the grounds to the utmost degree. It’s what he’s always done, and it’s what he’ll always do. He chews a sprig of basil, fresh from the vegetable garden, as he sits in the grass overlooking the valley. He thinks to himself and concludes that this daily routine will be what kills me. He’s tired, he’s bitter and he’s had enough.

Lorenzo finds the phone book. He looks under the letter F. “Funerals, fungus control, fumigation…” close enough. He picks a number and dials. “I’d like to engage your services,” says Lorenzo. “I need to deal with one hundred people.” Once the date is set he sends out a hundred hand written invitations. He calls another hundred people. The plan is ready.

Lorenzo’s plan is not to fumigate these people. No, he isn’t going to fill them with fungicide. And there won’t be any funerals. The truck rolls up just before the first guests and on the side is written in huge letters “Food Catering Supplies”. Three burly men start unloading trestle tables and positioning them on the lawn. They set up a canning bath nearby. The jars are unloaded next. The first guests begin picking tomatoes. An uncle has brought a fiddle and a cousin has brought an accordion.

A hundred people show up to help Lorenzo pick tomatoes and put them in jars. They enjoy the music and laughter is in the air. Lorenzo realises that routines are overrated. This is what it’s all about, even when it means the grass gets trampled like never before!

T.

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