When Home becomes the most beautiful place in the world, even for a birthday party (surprise, but not too much).
His birthday would have been that Sunday. 10 years. 10. By now it was getting big, Matteo. He had spent the whole day fantasizing about his birthday party: all his friends would have a lot of fun, eating cheese pizza and playing outside in the garden, at the end of May the sun always shines; he would have received gifts to be unwrapped like candies, and he would have eaten his favorite cake: the vanilla ring-shaped cake covered with icing and sugar, the delight that his mother prepared with love. Yes, that’s right, his birthday would have been a fantastic day. He just had to ask his parents for permission to organize the party.
Tuesday, 8.00 am
Matteo wakes up happy and perky, goes down to the living room and finds his mother preparing the table for breakfast: coffee is only for adults, Matteo knows it well, and even if in a few days he will be big too, he is happy to “Be satisfied” with the tasty apple tartlets, hot and crunchy, just come out of the oven just for him. They are there, on the table, in a ceramic dish. “Good morning honey, are you ready for school?”. Matteo is very ready, just … He has a question.
“Mom, Sunday is my birthday. I’m 10 years old! 10! Can I have a party here at home? Please!”.
The tea kettle is whistling. The Lady, who still wears a pretty purple silk dressing gown, goes into the kitchen, fills the cup with hot water and places it on the large wooden table in the spacious living room. “No, I’m sorry, honey, we’ll be busy on Sunday. No party, this time. But out of curiosity, what would you have wanted to do at your party? “. Matteo is very disappointed, sad and even a little angry: why could not he have his birthday party? However, he responds politely: “Mom, I would love to have the colored balloons all over the house. And I would like to invite all my friends from school and football. And I would like to play outside in the garden, that you know, it’s good weather these days. Cannot I have my party? “. But it was late, mom had to rush to work.
Matteo does not give up: he will try again tomorrow.
Wednesday, 7.00 am
Now that he notices it, the table in the hall is very spacious. It is made of dark wood, as his father says “my little jewel, in solid walnut”, or “In short, something like that”, thinks Matteo, who for the first time is already awake at this time. He is in the living room, sitting on the beige chair Mum had wanted to combine with the dark table, and looks at the wooden surface of that solid, massive table. He reflects:
“In fact it is really great … There could also be trays with pizzas, and focaccias, and maybe even pretzels, those delicious and very salty”.
Today is a good day. I will ask dad for permission to have a party.
“Matteo, what are you doing already up? What a miracle!”. Matteo’s father does a strange job, “he creates advertising, he’s creative. He will definitely approve the idea of the party!” the almost-big-small Matteo thinks. “Daddy, look, can we have my birthday party on Sunday?” The father smiles at him, strokes his head and goes to pour his coffee. Back in the living room, he puts the cup on the jute napkin, bought during a trip to Marrakech.
“No Matteo, not this time, we are busy on Sunday. But out of curiosity, if we decided to have a party, what would you have liked to eat? “.
Matteo does not believe his ears: why not? What is there so special to do on Sunday? “Ugh. I wanted cheese pizza, focaccia and pretzels “.
And Dad, too, goes to the office. Mom takes him to school, and all is silent.
Thursday, 8.30 am
“Matteo, this way we’ll be late! Why are you still in bed? “. Mum opens the door of the room. The walls are light blue, and silver-colored adhesive stars gleam on the ceiling. They are a gift by Davide, his best friend. “Mom, can we have my party on Sunday?” asks Matteo, who peeks out from under the bed covers, still wearing his colored cotton pajamas. “No, honey, we’re busy on Sunday. But out of curiosity, if we decided to have the party, what gift would you like? “.
Little Matteo goes sulky to the living room, sits in the anthracite leather chair and sadly leans his head on the solid wood table. He dreams with open eyes the gift he would most want for his birthday: a bicycle. His first real big bike, like that of his parents – or almost – red, his favorite color. “The red bicycle”.
Matteo spends the following days drawing red bicycles and slices of pizza on sheets of paper, that he then leaves around the house. So it’s Sunday, it’s his birthday. But that morning Matteo does not want to get up. No cake, no party.
The doorbell of the front door rings. On the contrary, it shouts. Nobody seems to go to open though. It rings and shouts a second time. Matteo decides to go and see who he is there but, hey, where are his parents? He runs to open the door, who knows if that is also in solid walnut, and … “SURPRISE!”. In the courtyard there are Davide, Lorenzo, Simone, Andrea, Stefano, and also Omar, whom he has not seen for a long time. His friends are all there, with a package in their hands, someone also has a soccer ball and candy bags. “Happy birthday!” His friends shout. WOW! The children go to the living room and voilà, there are colorful balloons everywhere, and on the big dark table are paper trays full of pizzas with cheese, scones with olives, pretzels and … Mom and Dad are there, with a couple of small steel keys in their hands. “In the yard there is your gift, tied with a chain, these are the keys. But be careful, go slowly and stay on the right side of the road! “, his father recommends. Matteo cannot believe it, he had his beautiful birthday party, his friends, his racy cheese pizza and focaccia, his first red bicycle like the big ones and … “But there’s also a vanilla ring-shaped cake! How did you know I wanted it? I did not tell you! ”
Mom and dad smile.
“Happy Birthday darling!”.
The sponge cake covered with white icing and colored sugar balls sits there, still and intact – even if only for a short time – on that beautiful solid walnut table. And that living room, Home, really seems the most beautiful place in the world.