The train from Belfast to Dublin takes 3 hours. Fabio remembers how theiy lost their money on the Paris to London train. He is very nervous. He clutches (=afferra) his money belt and glares at (= osserva) any suspicious characters coming near his luggage. Even more than thieves, Fabio worries about his appearance. That evening he will see Ingrid.
He changes his clothes three times during the journey. By now, after three weeks, his beard is just beginning to show.
“Do you think I look like Brad Pitt?” Fabio asks Maurizio.
“Who…?” Maurizio asks Fabio.
Fabio looks disgusted. He opens his rucksack and changes his clothes again. He takes Ingrid’s letter and reads it once more.
The boys arrive in Dublin at midday on Saturday. Dublin is a capital on the far North West of Europe. It is often cold and wet and windy, but today it is hot and sunny. The streets are full of people, happy people. The shops are brimming. On the streets young people sell cheap jewellery. The boys walk up Grafton Street to look a present for Ingrid. They don’t find it, but they can watch the buskers (=artisti di strada): guitarists banging out blues songs, mime artists and jugglers. The boys forget all about Ingrid and her party. They pass into Henry Street and smell hops (=effluvi) from the Guinness brewery. Guinness offers free beer to visitors. Maurizio is unable to resist something for nothing. He drinks too much beer. He is soon slightly (=leggermente) drunk and completely stupid. He starts an argument (=inizia una discussione) with an old Irish teacher about English literature.
“Let me tell you this, lads,” insists the old man. “English literature is nothing (the old man pronounces it ‘nuttin’), nothing without the Irish.”
“All the great names in British literature” says the man, “are Irish.”
The old man is small, grey, drunk and very angry. Fabio doesn’t like Guinness and he wants to see Ingrid. He drags Maurizio away, but not until Maurizio has made a promise to meet the old man at the Dublin Writers’ Museum in two days’ time.
Chapter 20 – Ingrid’s party
The boys are soon back on the street. They buy a scarf for Ingrid and search for the flat. Fabio is very nervous now. He can’t decide on a look. He goes into a pub and asks to use the toilet. There in the ‘gents’ he changes from his imitation of Brad Pitt into Power Games. He remembers that Ingrid is a fan of Nick of the Back Street boys.
“Do you think I need a shave?” he asks Maurizio.
Fabio’s beard is nearly invisible like the skin of a peach. Maurizio shakes his head.
“You don’t need a shave.”
Fabio decides on a mix of his Brad Pitt beard and a striped t-shirt that looks like one Nick wore in a Back Street Boys video. He pats his hair and they go to Ingrid’s flat.
“Are you nervous?” asks Maurizio.
“Me?” Fabio tries to be cool. “Why should I be nervous?”
“Maybe Ingrid has got another boy.”
“Of course she hasn’t. She’s …” Maurizio stops. “Why should I care if she has got another boy?”
With his Brad Pitt beard, his Back Street Boys t-shirt and just right hair Fabio is almost unrecognisable.
When they arrive the party is in full swing (=in pieno svolgimento). The flat is at the top of a short staircase. The stairs are blocked with people chatting. Of course, there are a lot of Irish people there. The boys also meet Germans, a Spanish girl and several Iranians.
An Irish boy stops them, “Who are you?”
“I’m Fabio,” Fabio explains.
“Well, I don’t like the English,” shouts the Irish boy.
“I’m not English,” smiles Fabio. “I am Italian.”
“That’s all right then.” The Irish boy holds out (=tende) his hand, “Brendon O’Keefe”
Fabio and Maurizio shake hands.
“Where is Ingrid?” Fabio shouts a little over the noise of the party.
“Who is Ingrid?” asks Brendon
“Ingrid and Ute are giving this party,” explains Maurizio.
“Oh, I wondered whose party it was,” says Brendon solemnly.
Fabio can’t stand it. He rushes into the party to look for Ingrid. The party is packed (=affollato). Dancers dance, several boys sing. A few solemn Irishmen are chatting in Gaelic. The flat has only three rooms and there are about seventy people inside. In the kitchen, talking to a tall Irishman, is Ingrid. She is laughing at a joke as Fabio squeezes in (=sgattaiola) through the door.
Ingrid has cut her hair but she looks the same. She turns and sees Fabio.
“Fabio,” she screams. Ingrid kisses Fabio’s cheek and introduces him to the tall Irishman, Declan.
“Where’s Maurizio?” she asks.
Fabio does not want to talk about Maurizio. He doesn’t want to talk to Declan. Fabio wants to be alone with Ingrid. He wants to tell her about his long journey from London to Dublin. He wants to know if she thinks he looks like Brad Pitt. However, Ingrid has other ideas. She runs round her flat talking to people. The party doesn’t finish until 4 am and, when it does, Ingrid and Ute clean their flat with Maurizio and Fabio’s help.
At 5 am the girls go to bed and Fabio sleeps in the sitting room with Maurizio and ‘Goethe’ the cat.
The next day is Sunday. Ingrid and Ute want to go to church and the boys go with them. This is not what Fabio imagined. He pictured (=si immaginava) himself alone with Ingrid, walking hand in hand along a rural river in Ireland. Instead, they are in a cosmopolitan European city and never alone. Ingrid seems to have forgotten the afternoon with Fabio in Hyde Park.
On the Monday, Maurizio must go to the Irish Writers’ museum and Fabio, Ingrid and Ute all go with him. It is a pleasant afternoon. They meet the old teacher and discuss literature, but Fabio wants to be with Ingrid by himself.
The Irish Writers’ Museum – Any list of great English writers must include some Irish names. It is ironic and strange. The little island, in the North West of Europe, with a small population has produced a huge number of great and important English language writers.
The Dublin Writers’ Museum is a tribute to Irish literature. It is a useful place to visit for anyone with a serious interest in literature. However, it is a pleasant and unusual place to see if you are in Ireland. The museum, in the North of Dublin, is in a Georgian mansion house. The building itself is worth a visit. The house is beautifully restored with decorative tapestries and coloured glass windows.
The oldest and most fascinating book in the place is the Book of Kells which is over 1000 years old. The book of Kells was hand written and illuminated in the 9th century. It is difficult to imagine how much patience was required to create such a perfect thing as the Book of Kells by hand.
The museum is full of details of the lives of famous Irish literary men.
If a visitor gets bored with literature there is a restaurant and coffee shop. A useful service for Italian visitors is the foreign language tours which explain things about the museum and the exhibits in Italian.
Chapter 21– A flight back home.
A week passes and Fabio gets more and more unhappy. On the last afternoon Ingrid takes him to the zoo. They are in the monkey house when Ingrid slips her hand in his (=fa scivolare la sua mano in quella di Fabio) . Fabio is not sure what to do. He is almost in heaven. He is embarrassed and he is sure that his hand is dirty and he pretends not to notice. Ingrid squeezes Fabio’s hand and Fabio squeezes Ingrid’s. Hand in hand they walk out of the monkey house. They are laughing.
“You didn’t say anything. I thought you didn’t like me anymore,” says Ingrid.
“I hitch hiked 800 kilometres to see you” replies Fabio, “And then I thought Declan was your boyfriend.”
The young couple exchange a kiss. Fabio thinks he is in paradise. Instead of talking about girls all the time he has Ingrid and she is perfect. However, two days later they are in Dublin airport. Maurizio has booked them two cheap tickets to Rimini. Ute and Maurizio go to look in the airport shops and Ingrid kisses Fabio for the last time.
“Will you write?” she asks.
Fabio nods. He is too sad to speak. He squeezes Ingrid’s hand and then it is time to get on the plane.
He doesn’t speak until they are over Northern France.
“I am going to ask that air hostess out,” he says. “What’s the English for ‘una romantica sera a Roma’?”[.?.]