The next day Paolo showed her how to work the coffee and the hot chocolate machines and told her about his island home. His eyes glazed over as he described the lemon and olive groves on the hillside overlooking the sea in the village where he had grown up.
Lucy was surprised to see the carers come in for their morning coffee and greet her as an old friend. The doctor came in on Saturdays to buy sandwiches for a picnic with his wife. He always made time to chat to Lucy. She soon began to feel quite at home.
There was a big comfortable sofa in the café for the WIFI users and people from the nearby offices would come and work there in their coffee breaks to have a change of scene and a decent cup of coffee. One of the solicitors from the office next door started to come by whenever Anita was there. He seemed hypnotized by her bouncing curls, her swaying walk and her infectious laugh. His name was Matt and Lucy knew a bit about him from one of the carers. She had looked after his younger brother who had had a riding accident and never recovered.
Lucy saw a bit less of Anita and it was often Paolo who took her home. Sometimes he would stay for awhile and teach her some Italian words and talk about his home.
Just before Christmas Anita burst into the café saying they had all been invited to spend Christmas Day with Matt's family. She was brimming with excitement about having a turkey and a plum pudding like in films.
Matt's family were welcoming and kind and after their Christmas lunch Paolo and Anita sat by the fire sipping the brandy that Matt's father had poured for them. The twinkling lights on the tree seemed to reflect all the Christmases that Lucy had shared with her father, offering mince pies to the carers and watching the Christmas films. She wiped away a tear as behind her a burst of festive laughter broke out.
Anita was teaching Matt's mother how to say Merry Christmas and Happy new year. 'It's Buon ANNo with two Ns, and Buon Natale or if you prefer just say Tanti auguri, that covers everything.'.She saw Anita re-tie the pretty scarf that was her present to Matt's mother.
'There. that looks better,' she eyed her handiwork with pride.
Matt's mother looked at herself in the mirror . She smiled warmly.' Anita, you have brought the sunshine back into our home.'
From then on Anita, Paolo and Lucy were regular visitors at Matt's home. They would invite all the neighbours in for big spaghetti suppers cooked by Anita and Paolo. Matt's brother would be there in his wheelchair pouring out the wine and choosing the music.
On Valentine's day, Anita rushed into the café waving her right hand in the air and practically screaming with joy.' We're engaged ! Look! They want to come to Sicily and meet mamma and papa.!'