Chapter 4 - Something New Everyday
Laurie exhaled deeply as she carelessly dropped herself on her bed, abit overwhelmed by how her first day had turned out. On her flight over to Italy she had thought of several scenarios of how it would play out but none of the were as close enough.
She groaned in disgust,rubb a hand over her over-stuffed stomach. It had been very difficult to say no to Silvia, never in her life had she actual known the true meaning of being forced fed until now.
A very p silence had stay with them when they had left Teresa’s room had grown far too uncomfortable for the both of them. Coming downstairs after giving her a tour of the place, Silvia finally broke the ice.
“Don’t feel bad.--” she had said “-- The wound is still raw. La Signora needs time to heal. She go through alot and don’t know why bad things happen to her. She so good lady with kind heart.” Silvia had mumbled as they made their way down the stairs.
Why did it feel like there was something more happening here?
She laid quietly staring at the ceiling recalling her conversation with Silvia.
“Mrs. Teresa mentioned that you’d be handing me her schedule.”
There was a look of hesitation that flashed on Silvia’s face before she quickly covered it with a faint smile.
“Si. Come, we go, I feed you, then after I give you.” She had said nudging Laurie into the kitchen.
Laurie smiled to herself at Silvia’s attempt to speak English and her obsession of feeding her when she had turned down her offer.
It’s official, Italians really do love their food, she chuckled to herself.
After she had taken a seat at the kitchen counter staring at the old cooks back as she frantically whipped and battered what was meant to be her breakfast, Laurie grabbed a pastry from the pastry basket infront of her.
“I hope you don’t mind me asking but how long have you know Mrs. Carsingni?” She had asked before plopping a mouthful of treccine and letting out a soft moan as the foreign flavours exploded in her mouth.
Silvia smiled in satisfaction.
Laurie had flushed, “Sorry, I make noise when I eat, especially when the food is this good.” She took another bite, “Really good.”
Silvia had hesitated at first, then took the wash cloth from the rack and started to dry of the plates.
“I’m glad you like. Finally, I cook for someone who eats.--” She had nodded before turning to the cabinet and started to stack the plates.
“--I work for thirty five year. I know her from when she first marry Signore Luigi. Very young.”
“Oh! How long ago did he pass?” The words had flown right out of Laurie’s mouth before she could stop them.
" Three years now.” She had heard Silvia muttered with her back still turned to her.
Laurie had reached for her cool glass of freshly pressed orange juice and had tried to suppress her urge to moan at how delicious it tasted. Funny how everything even orange juice somehow tasted differently.
“And Mr. Tomas, he does not live here?”
Silvia’s head had sprung around with a raised brow, as if annoyed or some sort.
Her mother always told her that her mouth would be her greatest downfall, it had always been this way, she had a very loose tongue with no brakes.
Silvia had raised a hand and interjected.
“No I’m scussi, we Italian like to -- how you say, have conversation with our food. This usual, you talk talk while eat?”
Laurie had simply nod her head.
“It’s miracle you no choke.” She had uttered, frowning lightly at Laurie.
“Goodmorning Teresa.” Laurie beamed cheerfully making her way to her usual spot infront of the window.
It was hard to believe that only two days had passed or maybe it was just the open aura of Teresa Carsingni that made her feel like she had always known her. She had half expected Teresa to be difficult, but it turns out that Teresa was the gentlest soul. They had easy grow very comfortable around each other to which Laurie was very thankful. Being a home nurse was new to her, the only reason why she had considered it was so that she could be as far away from her family as possible.
Every morning Laurie would go and have breakfast with Teresa. Silvia had already warned her that Teresa refuses to eat anything in the morning but would sometimes nibble bits and pieces of her lunch. So, Laurie decided that instead of letting her dine alone, they would do it together.
However, at lunch time she would eat in the kitchen with Silvia or Mario as Teresa would sometimes take this time to try and force a nap and by dinner time they would dine together.
The first breakfast that they had together, Laurie tried to have Teresa eat at least one bite of her food but stubborn Teresa would not cave in. In the end she had to settle for her drinking her orange juice. In Laurie’s book, this was a small stepping stone in the right direction.
“Hello dear.” Teresa said sitting in her usual chair by the window.
A smile crept on Laurie’s face as she made her way to where she sat with her tray of breakfast. Even if Silvia had offered to bring it in herself, Laurie had immediately refused. She was sure that Silvia had other things to do and didn’t want to burden her.
“How are you doing today?” Laurie asked taking a seat next to Teresa while placing her tray on her lap.
“Same as always.” Teresa replied with a lazy smile.
Her eyes wandered to Teresa’s breakfast and smile when she noticed that a piece of her omelette had been eaten.
“Did you manage to get any sleep this time?” Laurie asked reaching for her coffee.
“I’m afraid not, I counted the stars until dawn. I thought it would work better than sheeps. Perhaps, I should get Tomas to buy me a few dozen sheeps.” Her eyes lit with pride or was it love? at the mention of his son’s name. But Laurie couldn’t tell.
Instead she felt a small tug at her heart as she looked across to where Teresa sat. She help but wonder what was the cause of such sadness in her eyes. She quickly brushed the thought aside and tried to lightened the mood.
“Hmmm -- I’m sure Silvia would love that. I can already see her pulling out her hair or running after them with a wooden spoon trying to shoo them from her greens or maybe she might come directly for you.” Laurie laughed at the thought of that actually happening.
“You’re probably right.” Teresa shook trying to stifle a laugh.
Her eyes widened at the sight of Teresa laughing, she looked younger. Laurie’s heart quenched.
There she was, the real Teresa Carsingni.
“Tell me about Mr. Carsingni.” Laurie could already see her tensing up.
She immediately started to second guess asking, placing her cup on her tray.
“Which one dear?”
Laurie hesitated at first, barely aware that the name rolled off of her tongue, “Mr. Tomas.”
Teresa raised her brow at her, “You’re pruning.” She teased.
“No, its not that, I can assure you. It’s just that whenever you talk about him you glow. I think it’s when you’re your happiest.”
Teresa’s brow knitted, “Did Silvia put you up to this?”
“What? No. Why would she?”
“It sounds like her words coming out your mouth.”
“Well, it’s not. They’re my own. You should see your face when you talk about him. In fact, I demand that you talk about him. Think of it like a therapy session.”
“Dios!” Terasa shook her head “I think I liked you better when you where abit wary of me. Your questions were less-- insightful and personal.”
Laurie chuckled at the face Teresa made at her before replying, “Really? I seem to recall you telling me to be as comfortable around you as I can. I was trying to hold back because I know I have a loose tongue.” She picked up her fork and dug into her fruit salad of kiwi, apricots and blueberries.
“I suppose I only have myself to blame. Remind me to go over the list of things that we shouldn’t address.” Teresa said frowning back at Laurie as a small moan escaped her mouth as she chewed her food.
“I’m sure there’ll be tons. Until then, you’ll have to tell me something new about him everyday.” Laurie uttered picking up her glass of orange juice.
“How is that going to help me?” Teresa quirked a brow at her before taking her own glass as well.
“Ever heard of happiness being the best medicine? Plus I’m the professional here, so come on, we’re starting today.” Laurie said, placing both her glass and fork back on her tray.
“Can I atleast have my orange juice first? I haven’t had my vitamin of the day.” Teresa said tilting her glass to her mouth.
Laurie had to fight the urge to smile. Teresa was actually drinking something without being forced. She didn’t want to make it obvious of how proud she was, so instead she decided to play it cool.
“Speaking of, you need you morning dose. Do you want me to get them?”
“No need deary.” Teresa said in hurry, “I’ve already had them, under Silvia’s supervisor of course.”
“But I though we agreed that you’d start administering them with me?”
“And I’m sure we will. It’s not like you’re leaving tomorrow Laurie. Now come on, do you want me to start your obscured therapy?”
“Sure..” she said eyeing Teresa for a minute before getting up from the her chair, “...but we’ll do it in the garden. I think some fresh air is in order.”
“Alright, could you hand me my scarf.” Teresa motioned to her closet while bringing the rim to her lips once more.
The shade offered by the old chestnut tree felt cool. Teresa and Laurie sat on the spread out blanket taking in the red ambiance of the now fully blossomed roses. They weren’t the only ones enjoying the colorful scenery as a few Gray Heron, Common Buzzard, Eurasian Kestrel, and Eurasian Magpie came swarming through and over the garden. The soft morning breeze gently blew through the leaves, whistling a soothing melody that caused them both to sigh in content.
“I didn’t realise that it would be this breathtaking. I mean, you can already tell from your bedroom window that it’s beautiful out here and yet it’s a whole other feeling just being here.”
Pride flickered in Teresa’s eyes.
“It was his idea.” Teresa muttered absently.
“Tomas. There use to be a swimming pool around here but he never saw the use for it as we were always using our beach, so he tore it down and turned it into a garden. It was a birthday gift to me.” Teresa lips quivered into a smile.
“I’d say he was right to do so. He did great job, hard to even image this place as a swimming pool area. It so serene - it’s wow.” Laurie said, casting a glance around the colourful garden.
“Hmm...is this all it takes to leave you lost with words? Now I know where to take you when I need some peace and quiet.” Teresa smirked leaning her back against the tree and stared openly at the clear blue sky before allowing a heavy breath escape her lips.
“He used to love it here --” she frowned lightly at the clouds above, “--well, not more than the beach. We could never get him to leave, I swear I’ve had more than a dozen headaches with him about that beach.”
“So he doesn’t like it here anymore?” Laurie frowned at her.
“He hasn’t been here for three years, what does that say?”
“Its says alot but why?”
“Hmm.. a story for another day Ms. Slade. I believe that I’ve said more than one thing about him. So tell me, how bright did my face glow this time?” She gazed down at Laurie, a gleam of sadness hid behind her strong front of a smile.
Something more was definately well hidden here. Laurie was sure of it now, but what?
She’d play along for now.
“Not as bright as I wanted it to.”
“I see, perhaps you were wrong get then.” She shifted her gazed to the house before getting up and patting her beige cotton dress.
“I’m not though.” Laurie began to rise.
“No, stay a while longer. I’m just suddenly reminded why I stay in my room. I’ll see you after lunch Laurie.” She turned and began to walk back to the cobbled stone footpath to the house.
Laurie bit the corner of her mouth, puzzled. It was strange how a woman who had everything in life lived like she had nothing worth living for.
“What happened to you Teresa?” She muttered to herself as Teresa finally disappeared inside her fortress.