7. Story of a salesman, Part I

or The wedding that broke three hearts

Mario Venturi was a happy salesman.
He had not a family nor a home, but he was happy. All he possessed under the sun were a car, a suitcase full of well-tailored man suits and his smile. He treasured his car as much as a man usually treasures his home, and he cherished his suitcase just like any other man should cherish his car. He groomed and polished his suits, he folded them in the case with care and he bought new ones every season. His smile and his well-tailored suits were the reasons and the results of his remarkable selling quota. You see, he was the company’s best seller.

As for the lack of a family, let just say that as much as Mario Venturi loved to meet new people and get engaged with them, he didn’t care about long lasting relationships. Just like for the suits, his relationships were the reasons and the results of Mario’s tradings and, when a territory had been explored, he preferred to venture on a new one.
His most durable possession was his car, that Mario had insured against all possible damages, dangers and natural calamities. Even typhoons. His colleagues, who he usually saw twice a month at the headquarters, had stopped making fun of his excessive concern after his car was robbed, had been set on fire and then sank in a river, with Mario still inside. He had emerged luckily untouched and his boss convinced him to pay for a life insurance, partially covered by the company. He told him that he was too precious for the company and also that he had the luck of a black cat. At forty years old, Mario still had not understood if his boss was meaning that he had good or bad luck. Still, he kept on venture along the roads of the Northern Italy selling home and beauty care products with a warm smile on his well-shaved face.

That particular morning, 9th August 1975, Mario was preparing himself for his second visit at a nice household. The landlady was a kind retired widow in his fifties, who shared the home with her daughter after her son had left to become a carabineer, like his father. She used to dye her hair platinum and surely wax her legs. Her house had hard floors, marble tops and copper stoves. He went rapidly through his notes from his previous visit to the house and the town. He loved those little villages where everyone knows everything about everyone else. From the spot where he had parked his car, he could look at the house at he noticed there was a lot of activity, with people going back and forth carrying stuff inside the house. He checked again his planner: the appointment was for that day.

Mario ventured out of the car and along the pavement in front the house. Politely, he stopped a lady who was carrying a massive flower composition. The lady smiled broadly at him. We have to say that Mr Venturi was a very graceful gentleman. More than polished, he was always shiny. He liked to groom himself even more than to sell house and beauty products. And he liked his work a lot.

“Sorry to bother you, madam. Is this the house of Mrs Agramanti?”

“Yes, sir. Sorry to tell you that if you are here for the wedding you are a too early. The pre-wedding buffet it’s not meant to start until ten.”

Mario was rather surprised but did not show.

“No, madam. I am not a guest. I have a job appointment with Mrs Agramanti.”

“Oh, you are one of the little honeybees! Come, come in with me!”
Mario kindly lifted the lady from her flowered burden and followed her along the gravel path that led to the house.

Approaching the house one step at a time, Mario quickly recollected in his mind all the pieces of the widow’s history. During his first visit, on July, Mrs Agramanti had told him about the death of her husband – only two years before – the abandon of the nest of her son, who had enlisted the army to become a carabineer like his father, and the secretary diploma recently achieved by her daughter, who was then looking for a job opportunity.

Usually, a woman devoted to her family like Mrs Agramanti seemed to be, would have deafened him speaking about the arrangements for the forthcoming ceremony, the cost of the bride’s gown, the income of the groom, the new house of the two lovebirds, in an increasingly higher tone. One step at a time, Mario figured out what to say speaking to Mrs Agramanti alone, and how to behave in front of everyone else, bride included.

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