Of Books and Dreams

Fiction by | March 20, 2016

I always find the time to read a book before going to bed. Sometimes I dream about that book, especially when I fall asleep while reading it. Last night I had read some chapters of a book on Italian grammar, and before I knew it I was already dreaming of running for my life, being chased by some possessive Italian pronouns.

Luckily I outran them, and I eventually came across a bar called Second Conjugation. Indeed, inside, some irregular Italian verbs were having a good time.

“Hey, you’re new here,” one of them said. “What are you?”

Since I was in an Italian grammar book, I needed to blend in. For a few seconds I thought of a plausible reply, and I came up with this: “I’m a singular, masculine Italian noun.”

“You don’t look like it, but well, you’re in the right place,” he said. “This is a singles bar. See those pretty nouns out there? There are a lot of them here. But here’s the catch: it’s hard to tell whether they are masculine or feminine.”

“It’s not that hard, is it?” I said. “We just need to know their final letters, right? -o for the guys, -a for the ladies.”

“Obviously, you haven’t met ‘colera’ and ‘mano,’ il mio amico.” He laughed.

“‘Mano’ is feminine?” I asked.

He said yes and pointed out why “mano,” or “hand” in English, is always feminine: “You know, when you are all alone, your hand is your girlfriend. If you know what I mean.”

I made a nervous laugh. To regain my composure, I said: “Yeah, Italian is a crazy language. We have female poems but male sonnets.”

He didn’t laugh. I was now more nervous. What am I doing here, I thought, talking to a group of irregular Italian verbs? What if they found out I’m not really an Italian noun? I slowly motioned to go out, but the two of them, “sedere” and “simanere,” asked me to sit and remain.

“It’s my pleasure. But as a singular, masculine Italian noun,” I said, in an attempt to be confident and witty, “I have some declension and possession to do. You know, I would like to spend time with you, but, you know, for now, I should decline—to possess that singular, feminine Italian noun out there.” I grinned and, with a wink, added: “If you know what I mean.”

They all turned their faces towards me as if I said something wrong. Their faces turned red. Some of them stood up, clenching their fists. Obviously, the Italian irregular verbs had a change in mood. It was also tense. To get my way out of this impending trouble, I immediately ran outside—but only to be chased again by the possessive Italian pronouns, which were still in pursuit of me.

I cannot remember what exactly happened afterwards, except that I awoke to the sound of the alarm clock, the book on Italian grammar in hand. On page 16, on the possessive case of nouns, the book says: “Italian nouns are not declined. Possession is denoted by the preposition ‘di.’”

Jade Mark B. Capiñanes is an AB English student of Mindanao State University-General Santos City. He is fascinated with books, dreams, and their connection with reality.


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