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Chapter 13 My Land-Lord(1)

  • I am an American student of art history. The Renaissance is the era that fascinates me the most. I don't think I can think of anything more magical, more perfect. My name is Isabella. People address me as “The Mediterranean princess” because of my descent. I have long, curly black hair and dark eyes. People do often tend to get intimidated because I'm tall and thin, and have rather generous breasts inherited from my grandmother's genes who was also a buxom Italian woman. At the moment, I am single because I have my reasons. I don't wish to spend much time thinking about boys. Career is my point of focus right now. I'm all about studying history, what the past has to teach and tell . Reconstructing the extraordinary lives of extraordinary artists. I don't like normal things. Just as I don't like adapting,bending to a bad situation. That might be because I was raised to develop my own sense of self-respect and independence. At present, I am studying in my second year of my PhD and for the past three months, I have been based in Florence to study some of Ghirlandaio's engravings on the baptistery in Piazza del Duomo. The excitement is obviously through the roof. I haven't thought about anything else since I moved here. I can't assess any situation that doesn't involve dusty books in the library. I love the smell of old, rusty books or furniture. It makes me feel as though I am getting a taste of living in prehistoric times. And it's obvious, enough to get me into trouble. As has happened recently. Ever since I started living on my own, I realised life is not always easy for a student. Indeed, it's seldom easy,especially when you decide it's time to support yourself and stop seeing your parents make sacrifices for you. Over time, I am learning to manage my own expenses. It's fine to save on food, entertainment and clothes, but when the bills came due, sharing an apartment with two other students, I didn't have much choice. So the little money I earned as a waitress in the evenings was soon gone. I had been living in that big city for three years and my parents had made it very clear that their life savings would only be enough until the time I graduated, after that, I would have to make do. However the expenses never stopped, one after the other, however, the end of the month soon arrived and it was time to pay the rent. The scholarship has always been very good,but Florence is not so cheap compared to the rest of Italy and especially given the latest problems with the pandemic, my family had lost a lot of money. So I had to advance my mother a large sum of money. One of my roommates had always taken care of bringing the rent to the landlord who didn't live very far from our house, but that month the situation was different. I opened my wallet and the few banknotes in there certainly were falling short of my share of the rent. The only thing to do was to ask the landlord for more time, so I made an excuse to my roommates and took over their share and went to see him. I knew little about him, only that he lived alone nearby, and had never caused us much trouble, so my hopes of convincing him to give me 15-20 days were high. When I rang the doorbell, a good looking,salt and peppered 40-year-old man opened the door. He had a nice smile and didn't seem like someone who spends too much time alone. Today he was wearing an unbuttoned white shirt and a pair of relaxed khaki cargo pants flaunting his tanned chest. Men with a slightly hairy chest at the right places looked so hot I was tempted to graze my hand and twirl the light brown strands through my fingers. "Oh good evening, come in, I wasn't expecting you, (buttoning up his shirt) Marta usually comes to bring the rent," he said, offering me a chair to sit down in the flat. Mr Marcelo certainly had a good taste which reflected in the aesthetics of the interiors done tastefully. The space seemed well cared for and furnished with Italian marble. "Si! Yes, Marta usually takes care of that,but today she had something to do at the university" I didn't dwell on it too much. My being there made me anxious, because of what I was about to ask and I couldn't wait to finish, get over the bad impression and go home. Massimiliano was kind and did not lose himself in pleasantries, he made me sit on the sofa in the living room and I immediately pulled out the envelope with the rent. "Here are Marta's and Angela's money..." I opened the envelope and put it on the table, then my throat went dry and I didn't know where to look, so I was trying to find the right words. "And what about yours?" he questioned with a puzzled look across his face . "I'll give it to you soon. You see, I'm trying to support myself, but the money from work is never enough. I'm sure that in 15 to 20 days I can pay you the rent in full. I was wondering would be kind enough to wait, wouldn't you?" I asked hopefully finishing my practised lines in one breath, looking into his eyes. His face wasn't that of a whipped dog, but I didn't want him to feel sorry for me, but rather to appear sure of the promise I was making. He would get his rent, it was only a matter of time. From that moment on, Mr Marcelo's face became gloomy, as if I had communicated something annoying to him, and obviously, it was for a landlord. "You see, Miss, I have always been very fair to you. I have always treated you well, as a matter of fact, you have always behaved very well, even keeping the house spick and span. I can't complain about that. But I live alone and with one salary I manage to make ends meet,but it is not enough. With young girls like you, I know how it works, for now, it's 15 days, then it will become 25, then you will ask me for a month, and I can't afford that." He replied, not mincing his words ever so slightly. That speech froze my brains, I hadn't expected it nor prepared a counter move. I stood speechless with nothing to say...finally muttering, "I didn't ask for a month , just 15 days..." "I know, though believe me, I really do know how these things go... There are so many small expenses in this period. For example, the cleaning lady will be here in a moment and she won't wait 15 days to be paid." a mixture of shame and anger rose inside me...At first, you would never think of him as a haggler. Even I didn't believe that a man who looked well off couldn't wait a few days for 300 euros, but what could I think of? I certainly didn't have that kind of money on me. And looking for another job was going to take time anyway. "What if I help you with the cleaning ? Um, I mean, not help...I mean, I could pay you back this month's rent by working for you. Up to the amount." My proposal surprised him, he hadn't expected it and I had given voice to my thoughts without thinking too much about it, damn it! "Your proposal is not bad, I must admit. Although I can think of a better one..."Up to the amount." My proposal surprised him, he hadn't expected it and I had given voice to my thoughts without thinking too much about it, damn it! "Your proposal is not bad, I must admit. Although I can think of a better one..."Up to the amount." My proposal surprised him, he hadn't expected it and I had given voice to my thoughts without thinking too much about it, damn it! "Your proposal is not bad, I must admit. Although I can think of a better one..."
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