I wrote a poem for Lara and she looked at it, said nothing and dropped it on the bed.

What do you think of it ? I said.

“Buono,” she said, shrugging. She was Italian, you see.

“Buono?” I repeated, a little taken aback, if I’m honest.

“Buono?!” I said again, this time picking the scrap of paper from the bed and waving it in her face.

“Do you have any fucking idea how long this took me to write?”  I tried to keep a lid on it, I really did, to not much avail.

“Do you?! No, of course you fucking don’t, do you? You just look at for half a fucking second and tell me it’s… it’s… “buono”!”

“Three hours, Lara, three fucking hours it took me to write this. And you’ve got the fucking nerve to dismiss it like it was nothing!  I toiled over every fucking word and yet, no, it’s not good enough for you, is it?!  No! La-di-da fucking Lara wouldn’t wipe her shitty little ass on it, would she?!”

All the time I was shouting, she had said nothing.  She only stared at me, emotionless.

When I’d finished, she snatched the paper from my hand and held it by its corners, turned toward me.

This was, without doubt the piece of paper I had written on, I recognised the watermark, but there was no poem on the paper she held to my face.  I had spent three hours writing a poem, hadn’t I?  Was I going fucking mad? Three hours poring over every last phrase, desperate to express myself love for her perfectly and searching to find the mots juste to describe what she meant to me.

Yet, this sheet was all but blank apart from one word, almost a doodle in the top right hand corner. If I hadn’t written a poem, what had I written?  I leaned forward and squinted, then I saw it. Now it made sense. There it was, as plain as day, my handwriting, black ink.  Fuck.