Caroline looks at me with the expression of one who has made a proper effort at dressing up whilst her hubby has, well, not. The words ‘Couldn’t you have made a bit more effort?’ hang in the air, unsaid.
It’s Saturday afternoon, the skies are mercifully clear after weeks of near-incessant rain and it’s the unofficial Italian launch of “To Venice With Love” and “The Venetian Masquerade”. I’m wearing my usual gear – black DMs, black jeans, black T-shirt and blue jacket (it looked blacker in the shop). I think I look quite the chap. Caroline is less convinced.
‘Couldn’t you find something else? That’s what you wear when you’re teaching.’
‘Yeah, but I look good when I’m teaching,’ I reply. Caroline, disappointingly, looks just a little bit doubtful.
‘What about your green jacket?’
‘Can’t do that. I’ll look like a leghista.’
‘You won’t look like a leghista.’
‘I will. It’s the European elections tomorrow. If people see a guy in a green jacket holding forth to an audience they’re going to think it’s a fascist rally or something.’
‘They will. Blue jacket is fine. Really it is.’ I give her my best I-shall-not-be-moved stare.
She holds my gaze.
She has properly dressed up for this. People have come from Scotland for this. Hell, people have come from Australia for this.
‘Give me five minutes,’ I say and start peeling my jacket off.
I join her in the campo five minutes later. Guests are already starting to arrive. One of them walks up to me.
I smiled and nod. I look over his shoulder towards Caroline.
She smiles. And the words ‘I told you so,’ are, mercifully, unsaid.