|The telephone keeps on ringing
but Patrick does not even have the strength
to answer: for days he hasnt left his studio, eaten or slept. Obsessive thoughts
trouble him. Hadnt he subscribed to that chat group, hadnt he suggested Alan go to Courmayeur that fateful day, hadnt
he....His mind is flashes back to the beginning of their story.
They were in their study, he was sitting in front of the computer, Alan was next to him, both watching the message on the screen....Well, Alan, make up your mind! Isnt a meeting in Courmayeur a great idea? We could meet our on "chat" line friends, we could ski. And think of the girls! You dont want me to go alone, do you? No, but I am not so willing to go. It is likely to be one of those boring conventions, where you arent allowed to do what you wish...-Well, I will book two seats on the plane, I will come and fetch you at home, if you come all right, otherwise... have a look at this list ! There are a lot of things you could do while I am away...Giving our study a clean to start with...- Ok,as usual you get your own way, I will come but I know that I will regret it afterwards.
-A week later they were at Heathrow airport leaving for Turin. When there they decided to hire a car and go to Courmayeur. In the hall of the hotel there were a lot of young people. Alan immediately noticed Valentina, as he later told Patrick. Again it was Valentina who they met the following morning in the conference hall. Hallo. I would like to introduce my friend and I to you, my name is Alan and this is Patrick, we are from London. Hallo, my name is valentina. Well, so you are the famous brothers.......Yes , thats us, the famous Liam and Noel Gallagher- - And I am Patsy- - What a lucky coincidence....for me!- Alan added softly.They immediately started exchanging opinions on the "chat" of the young artists and on the good idea of creating it. From then on Alan hadnt seemed bored anylonger, on the contrary, he started enjoying all the planned activities and he was always the one who presented exiting ideas on how to spend the spare time, Valentina used to go with them, mainly to ski.
One evening, while in their room, Alan confided in him:- I like Valentina so much. What do you think of her? She is pretty, nice, she seems intelligent and well prepared, she could be a good partner for our study, I would like to know her more deeply can you leave me alone with her just for a while... Let her go istantly, or better let the job to hell, you are always thinking of it. By the way, have you seen what beautiful eyes she has!- -But you are falling in love with her, arent you? Cant you think of anything else? - - I know, I am always thinking of her, but I perfectly know that she doesnt like me.- - How can you guess it? You are your usual pessimistic self- -I have realised it and what is worse is that I have reslised that she likes you, when she looks at you her eyes are brighter and more attentive and you... you havent even realized it.
It cant be true, he told himself, she cant have fallen in love with me, we are so different and, what s more, she seems to like spending her time with Alan more, who knows! Anyway Alan doesnt look too depressed. She is really beautiful and Im very attracted to her. From then on Patrick started to to look at Valentina with increased attention and they started gazing at eachother with greater regularity.Then one evening, while alone in the garden of the discoteque and with Alan having already left, they gazed at each other longer than usual and kissed.
But....-Yesterday evening I saw you with Valentina, you had told me you hadnt noticed anything special, you only used to discuss about work while instead..... -You are right Alan, but it happened all of a sudden, I didnt want it. -Dont say more, I am going back to London, I will take care of our work. -Alan, dont be silly, I was influenced by what you told me about her.., but I didnt mean to hurt you, please stay here, youll see that everything will be the same as it was before -No it is silly and useless to try to conceal what has happened, when I saw how you looked at each other, I had already realized it, dont you remember I told you? Once again Alan had succeeded in understanding the look in someone elses eyes. Patrick didnt get him to change his idea, but he didnt care because in the last years his friend had become a stronger person . He believed that Alan would face up to the disappointment without worring too much , but maybe he was only concerned with her.
He had lived in Milan with Valentina since the end of the convention, they loved each other and he was happy. But sometimes he thought of his friend, a painful thoughts which faded away and were substituted by the pleasurable moments of such a different life. -Today Alan wasnt answering the phone, there was the usual answering machine, Ill try again tomorrow. But tomorrow there was always Valentina.
Weeks later (but how many?) -Is that you Tom? This is Patrick.
-At last youve called! I have been trying to find you everywhere. But where are you?
I am in Milan with a friend. Have you seen Alan recently? I cant get in touch with him. -It is because of him that I have been phoning you. -Why, whats happened to him? -He had started drinking heavily again. Two nights ago, he was drunk, he had a car accident. Hes in hospital now, he is in bad conditions and wants to see you. -Oh my God!..I will come immediately, I will take the first flight!
(Valentina) -I heard you were very upset on the phone, any trouble? -Alan. -Whats happened? -Hes not well, I have to leave at once. -Ill come with you.-No, thats not advisable, Alan had fallen in love with you, you realized it, didn you? He didnt suddenly leave because of our work. When he saw us kissing he escaped to London. I thought he would be able to overcome the disappointment himself but...... -But what s happened ? -He is in hospital. I have to go. -Call me as soon you are there.-Yes, but I really hope I will get there in time.-You are really in despair, but you mustnt blame yourself.-Yes, it was. Leave me alone. -Are we going to leave each other this way? -I cant talk to you now, I have to think of him, please try to understand ! -I understand but please call me.
But he didnt call her. The long journey to the hospital was futile, Alan was already in a coma. He hadnt been able to be with his friend even during the last moments of his life. What would Alan have told him? He would never know. He was dreadfully upset. After the funeral he locked in his office, he didnt want to see anybody. With grief and remorse, he felt completely empty, only his mind was flashing back. After a few days he remembered he had to phone Valentina, but he couldnt, he felt terrible. Once he phoned but as soon as he heard her voice , he hung up: he didnt know what to tell her. But from then on he had started to think more often on the days he had spent with her in Milan.
Three months had passed since the day Patrick had left. The following days he hadnt called. She had phoned him but without receiving an answer. She had then learnt from Tom that Alan had died. -Poor Alan. Patrick will be highly distressed by his best friends death. If I were with him I could at least try to confort him. But he doesnt want me, he hasnt even phoned me, and I dont know how to get in touch with him. Tom told me he doesnt want to see anybody. Maybe it is my fault, if I hadnt been there nothing would have happened. Alan is dead and Patrick is grief-stricken. I get afraid if I think of what he told me before leaving Milan....And I cant do anything, if I tried to locate him it would be worse, I can only wait.... It was awful to live with that feeling of emptiness, but the time they had spent together only made her miss him more and more. But she refused to give up. Not only words of love had been exchanged between them but much more.She had to do something.
She was in the Art gallery sitting in front of the computer. Next to her there was Simona, her colleague . -Valentina, snap out of it, dont be like that, you cant just sit here in front of this screen. He left, give him up! Valentina stands up, she doesnt want to listen to her anylonger.
But, there is something,whats happening? Someone wants to chat with Patsy.
-Move over, let me see! She sits down, her eyes staring at the words arriving from so far away.-I will ask him a question that only Patrick could know the answer to....Yes, its him, I have found him again!
cover start story chapter characters