Does a mistress come with that wild boar?

“There are so many mistresses in Florence,” my lunch date says, a man of superior years and gossip.  We’re having a quick lunch in Lo Sprone.

“One of my friends is a mistress,” he says, speaking of a beautiful American woman. “Comes out here every year and finds herself a wealthy lover. This year though, her lover invited her to his birthday party.’

“And his wife was there?”

He nodded, “I told her not to go.”

“But she did?”

“Yep and felt terrible the whole time, of course.”

A moment passes as we eat: me, ravioli with sage and pecorino and he, tagliatelle with wild boar. I wonder if Florence men are especially mistress-prone.

“I wish I could find a mistress,” he says. “But I’m too old and have no money.”

“And you’re Canadian.”

He smiles.

I put more Parmigiano on my pasta: can never have too much.

“Still can’t quite believe she’s gone,” he said, his smile fading.

The conversation returns to the reason we met and again I wish there was something I could say to make him feel better.

© M. E. Walsh

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