Now Luka demanded that Maya tell him what she meant.
‘What does try to have a nice life mean?’
‘It means that I doubt it’s achievable for someone who so readily assumes the worst in others.’
‘It’s my job to.’
‘I’m not your job, Luka.’
She was hurt and angry, but now that she looked back over their conversation Maya could more readily see how a dark mind could come to such conclusions. ‘I asked about you selling your home because I assumed you felt guilty for neglecting it. And, contrary to your clear beliefs, I’m not trying to needle my way into your life.’ She was going to cry, and she damn well wouldn’t give him the satisfaction. ‘Can you please leave?’
And, Luka thought, she couldn’t say it more clearly than that, and so he did as asked.
She closed the door on him. He should feel relieved, Luka thought, as he came down the huge stairwell and collected his jacket.
He didn’t though.
Luka hated that they had ended on a row.
He saw a light coming from the lounge where he had left Giovanni last night and walked over to check, only to see the old man sitting so still in his chair and staring out to the lake.
He did not respond and Luka walked over swiftly but then Giovanni spoke. ‘It’s all right, I’m not dead.’
‘Good,’ Luka said and he saw that there were tears in the old man’s eyes.
‘What are you doing creeping out at this time?’ he asked Luka.
‘I put on that old gramophone you have and decided to open the wine you gave me,’ Luka said, ‘and then I fell asleep.’
‘I was sure I could hear music.’ Giovanni smiled. ‘I thought I was dreaming. I have been sitting here reminiscing. Seeing those photos of the Lost Mistresses yesterday made me want to see them again even more.’
‘Shouldn’t you be looking for peace rather than disturbing the past?’
‘They bring me peace,’ Giovanni said. ‘When I found the love of my life, I was the happiest a man could be…’
Luka frowned, because from all he knew Giovanni’s marriage to Maria hadn’t been a particularly passionate one. ‘There’s a lot you’re not telling me, isn’t there?’
‘Yes,’ Giovanni agreed, ‘but there is one thing that I shall tell you—I would rather regret my actions than inactions. I still have hope that my family can heal.’
‘By raking up the past?’
‘It’s a beautiful past.’
Luka sighed. ‘You’re not going to take my advice, are you?’
‘It has been heeded, though it is too late. The search has already started.’
‘Then good luck with it.’
They arranged for another meeting, but as Luka headed out Giovanni’s words were replaying— I would rather regret my actions than inactions. For a moment Luka considered going back up the stairs, in fact he got half way up before he changed his mind.
Giovanni might choose to ignore it but, based on a lifetime of experience, Luka would heed his own advice, and leave well alone.
It would soon be in the past.
A beautiful part of it though.
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