If you are fat, you cannot marry

When I asked Alice to marry me, she said no. When I asked her she didn’t know I loved her, but I decided to ask her anyway. I told her that we would marry under that giant shrub in the middle of the field behind our houses which has a very narrow path surrounded by tall and red poppies right in front of it.

She said that her dad wouldn’t agree as we were too young and that it was autumn and the shrub would be dry and decrepit and there would be no poppies by now.

I went back home with my tail between my legs.

That evening I had an ice-cream to cheer me up. Alice was in the ice-cream parlour, wearing her red shoes. She was with her dad who didn’t want us to get married. There was also Ludovico Cappelli who was holding her hand. So I couldn’t understand why she had told me that her dad didn’t want us to be together just because we were too young and that the summer was over and there were no more poppies.

So I approached Alice, in her blue skirt, and I told her that it was always a pleasure to see her golden hair but that I couldn’t understand why she was holding that guy’s hand. She said that it was because, if she ever married, she would do it under a tall poplar.

-Surely not under a silly shrub- she added.

Ludovico Cappelli looked at me from tip to toe and advised me to look at myself in the mirror before saying anything, he said that I was too fat and disgusting and those like me surely cannot marry.

For the second time that day I went back home with my tail between my legs.

I spent the whole winter wishing for the hot weather to finally arrive so that the drought would make easy for me to set that damned shrub on fire. It had pestered me for the whole time, solemnly looking at me from the loneliness of the field behind my house.

Towards the middle of that year, Alice and Ludovico Cappelli split up: he married another girl at recess. It was that time when Alice was off sick. This bad story didn’t convince her to fall in my arms but she fell in Giorgio Resca’s instead.

In the meantime I was fat and disgusting and I couldn’t certainly marry but I did notice that they were so engrossed in that loving routine that they didn’t really enjoy the recess after all. This is when I started not to care about it.

I followed Ludovico Cappelli’s advice so I started to look at myself in the mirror, and I could see that the shrub was still there, fat and crooked, in the reflection before me.

Although I had stopped to envy Ludovico Cappelli and his new wife, Giorgio Resca and even Alice at that point, I still wanted to set the shrub on fire. I took some petrol from my grandad’s garage and the lighter from my brother’s trousers and I ventured into the field, all panting and with my mouth full of dust.

But then I got here, before the shrub. I feel my neck burning for the hot weather but the sky is so blue that I think that this shrub is not that dull after all. In fact, it is just as beautiful as a tall poplar. 

It has this lovely narrow path right in front of it and there is some golden wheat which got dry in the sun. I am surrounded by sheaves of wheat of the same colour and the smallest make my arms itchy. Although the shrub is dry and there is dust everywhere, the poppies are there, tall and red and they caress it.

So the shrub doesn’t look that bad after all.