Story: The-first-day-of

April 9, 2018

Luna and I

Luna and I have been waiting for months and months. What exactly for? The first-day-of, of course! What else?

Our four grandparents have also been waiting, anxiously. And they repeat to us, with spy-like faces: “You’ll see how great the-first-day-of will be! And how excited you will be! And how many memories the-first-day-of will provide you with!”

- But the-first-day-of what? Luna asks me and I ask her.

In great secret, we ask each other every evening before going to sleep. We don’t dare ask the adults, however, since they are sure that we have already known the answer for just ages.

Therefore, Luna and I have decided to do what Dad does when someone asks him how his work – or life in general - is proceeding. Dad remains silent by way of a reply; he shrugs his shoulders at the chandelier, with his eyes looking skywards and his eyebrows aimed towards the ceiling, and has a thoughtful look that is denser than the milk with chocolate added that he prepares for us every day. When someone mentions the fateful expression the-first-day-of in our presence, we imitate Dad. We are good at this: we seem to be him.

Grandmother Carlotta’s non-advice

Grandmother Carlotta talks continuously to us about it: she seems worried, tremendously worried. And she gives us advice on what not to wear, what not to take,what not to seem, on what not to say and what not to do. Not even once has she told us what we should expect from our first-day-of and of what it consists… of what precise thing, I mean.

Yesterday, while caressing our almost-identical twin heads, Grandmother Carlotta made us a present of two large, hard-wearing rucksacks.

Big messes

So, we now know something for sure: the-first-day-of will be adventurous.

One of the two rucksacks is navy blue, and Grandmother had bought it for me; the other one is purple and orange, and is for Luna.

- Navy blue is a colour for boys, Luca. Instead, purple is for girls – she murmured, satisfied with her choices.

- But colours don’t have a sex, Grandmother – Luna retorted. – Even children know that.

That’s right, we know that, because Mother is always repeating it to us. Therefore, we immediately decided that we would exchange rucksacks: besides, I adore purple and she adores navy blue.

Grandmother Carlotta did not remember this, or didn’t know it, because she follows her nose as a grandmother. What confusion she creates… It’s even worse than with our names!

What a lot of patience adults require… They may be grown-up, yes, but in making big messes!

Obedience and courage

Every time that we ask Grandmother Carlotta, for example, for something more precise on the first-day-of, with a mysterious manner, she replies that we will only need to be courageous and obedient. She says this with eyes that are brighter than the mirror in the small bathroom that Dad continuously polishes. And she adds: - My children, you will see, it will be unforgettable! You, Luca, will have to be strong enough for both of you! And you, Luna, will have to be obedient enough for the two of you!

It’s a pity that Grandmother Carlotta never learns… We are twins, that’s true. And we are almost as identical as two coins, that’s also true. However, I’m the one who should be obedient for the two of us, seeing that between the two of us I am the one who is good at obeying orders, just like a super policeman, while Luna is an expert at beind disobedient! Just as she should be the one to be strong enough for both of us, because Luna is as courageous as ten dragons, strong like three cyclope, awake like an eagle that never sleeps. I, instead, am a true, very great coward.

The first-day-of for Grandfather Tiberio

And Grandfather Tiberio? Well, he talks to us about the first-day-of only every time that we see each other: therefore, one afternoon yes, one afternoon no. He tells us about how things were for him, what he wore, what he forgot to bring with him, what he didn’t say, what he didn’t seem, and what he didn’t know how to do.

So much to do…

We see Grandmother Bianca Maria and Grandfather Antonio on weekends, when they come to our house astride their tandem. On Saturdays and Sundays they often play cards with us and read us stories.

Yesterday, which was Saturday, Grandmother Bianca Maria, before greeting us, said to us: - “I have lined all your books for the-first-day-of! - Now, Grandfather Antonio will put them in the rucksacks, so that they will finally be ready for the adventure!

Luna and I looked at each other: no surprise in our eyes. We already know that an adventure will be involved. Thus, we let them go ahead.

They took a lot of time. They even had an argument: about how, about the thing, about how much. In the meantime, we played pirates.

- When Grandfather Antonio and Grandmother Bianca Maria have left, we two will have a lot to do – Luna whispered to me at a certain point, muttering in my ear and staring at the rucksacks that were as full like the universe with its unblindfolded eyes.

I immediately understood what she meant without the need for any other words. We are almost identical twins, not at all normal brothers and sisters. Between the two of us there is magic, as my mother often says.

We make fun of the adults

Thus, when evening came, we dragged the rucksacks into our bedroom, and with my help Luna removed everything from them.

- “Those grandparents!” – we complained to each other, grumbling after each book and each notebook and every pen, eraser and crayon were taken out and piled up in the walk-in cupboard.

In short, we built two amusing lopsided towers with all those useless new things, one on top of the other.

– “Don’t they know what an adventure means?” – I exclaimed, satisfied with ourselves.. – I make fun of adults, Luna!

- “Luca, be brave: let’s take all the things that we really need, and let’s put them in the “first-day-of” rucksacks! We are now capable and grown-up: we are almost six years old.

Ready for the adventure?

Thus, with the stars shining on our almost identical heads as witnesses, we organised short expeditions to the kitchen, large bathroom and living room, and slipped into the navy-blue and purple rucksacks our camouflage helmets, two compasses, several maps and world maps, two sandwiches that were for Dad, our savings, sunglasses, toothbrushes and toothpaste, two berets, some bottles of water, a packet of biscuits, an all-purpose knife, two stuffed animals for the night, and two sweaters. When we had finished, Luna came to greet us. She was to be our ally in this adventure, I was quite sure. She was already my sister Luna’s friend.

When my mother came into the bedroom a short time later to help us put on our pyjamas and to say goodnight; the rucksacks were ready: silent, mysterious and closed, at the end of the beds.

- “My little tigers!” – she greeted us as always, giving us a kiss – “Are you ready for the most exciting adventure you have ever had?”

Luna and I nodded affirmatively.

And we were already excited. We really were.

Gabriella Santini
2 Agosto 2017

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *