We met on the day of his 18th birthday. I was only invited because I was his best friend's sister. The party was beautiful. His grandparent's country villa was wonderful and in the large garden we spent wonderful hours chasing each other and throwing water balloons. Behind the house there was and still is a centuries-old oak tree. Out front, after cutting his cake, he asked me if I would like a slice also the next afternoon. It was my favorite cake, chocolate and coconut, and he was radiant: I couldn’t say no. The next afternoon I returned to the villa, with butterflies in my stomach and Orwell's 1984 in my bag. We talked about English literature all afternoon, then, in front of the old oak tree, we had our first kiss. That summer I often visited that villa and in the garden we spent our most beautiful moments, including running in the avenues, barbecues by the pool, blankets laid on the ground and long hours reading on the grass in the shade of centuries-old cypresstrees.
Ten years after that first kiss, the age-old oak tree witnessed another beautiful moment. He was 28 years old when he knelt down on the lawn near the imposing pomegranate tree and, as in the most romantic of traditions, asked me to marry him: another offer I couldn’t refuse. So, a year later, that garden was filled with tables and lights, delicious food and countless toasts. The old oak tree, decorated with a white veil for the occasion, was the preferred background for the wedding photos. The location was beautiful: the garden had turned into a daydream. Two years later we spent a week in the villa in total relaxation. I realized in those days that I was pregnant, so I took my husband in front of our tree, put his hand on my belly and didn't need to say anything. Since that summer we decided to spend a few days in the villa every year. We're here again today. And as I write these lines lying on an old red and blue blanket, I see little Mattia running around the oak tree and along the meadow near the sages and the beautiful giant Alliums that are as tall as he is and laughing as only children can do. One day, a few years from now, I will tell him about that tree, a centuries-old witness to many stories, including his own.