Cesarea wasn't really invited to the party, but she came anyway. That was typical of her. I wouldn't say that Mads disliked Cesarea, but there were always moments that Mads found herself unknowingly squeezing her fists in stress/annoyance while speaking to her. It wouldn't be until the pain of her nails slicing into her hands became unbearable that she would realize just how wound up she was getting.
It wasn't because Ceserea was a nasty or cruel person in anyway. She was just overly defensive... About everything. You couldn't have a conversation with her without unexpectantly finding yourself backed into a corner.
Mads had been to her home once before and remembered it being so fitting. It was strangely warm and inviting, but the moment you relaxed and sat down it seemed to wake up and sound the alarms. Her home was a tricky little bastard because on the outside it seemed elegantly bold, yet sweet and passionate...but the moment you let your guard down it was there like a hawk ready to deafen you with its cry.
Elle Decor Italia May 2008
Rèussir son Habitat Aug/Sept 2008
AD Italia Nov 2007
AD Italia July 2008
AD Italia July 2008
Mads was thinking desperately of a cordial way to greet Cesarea without pressing any buttons. Fortunately, Cesarea initiated things with a compliment,
"Wow Mads, you have really outdone yourself this time! The place is fabulous! I heard of all of the problems that came up during the reconstruction process...Gosh! You must be so happy its done! Happy and proud! Am I right?"
Compliments...Hmmm, this was going well. Mads breathed a sigh of relief,
"That is so sweet of you to say...And yes I am very happy and quite proud!"
The two exchanged Italian kisses and Mads, feeling quite good about her accomplishment and how the night was going in general, decided to engage in a little chit chat,
"And speaking of proud, you must be as well! We have all heard about your brother Matteo's new job position! Director of the Bentley? It's only the largest, most well known and prestigious hotel in all of Liguria..."
MAds hadn't even let the breath of the last word out when she knew that there was a problem. She could see it in Cesarea's face, and hear it in her suddenly flat voice,
"Why would we be proud? What is so exceptional about the situation that you would assume that we would be brimming with pride?"
Mads began running through the last 30 seconds of conversation, wondering where it had gone all wrong,
"No, I mean, I just think it is wonderful and inspiring that he would be appointed as Director of such an important establishment. He has certainly worked hard to get it"
"And we should be proud and overjoyed because my brother, who has been working in the hotel industry for half his life and who has been praised for his professionalism and ability to create atmospheres and balance budgets better than anyone else...We should be proud that he, the obvious choice in our minds, was finally given the opportunity that he deserves? Is that what you are saying?"
Mads was already beginning to loose sensation in at least 3 of her fingers on her right hand,
"All I am saying is that if I were you I would be very proud of my brother in this situation. I mean, he is blind, and this isn't exactly a normal situation"
"Oh! So my brother isn't normal just because he is blind? So you don't think blind people are capable of working the same as people with sight?!? How dare you assume he will fail before he has even finished signing his contracts! You know its people like you that create this kind of discrimination in the world....!"
"Okay, listen, I'm not sure where this went wrong but I was not judging your brother or predicting his failure. In all honesty, I'm just amazed at how many hurdles he has overcome and how well he has done up until now."
"The only hurdles he has are people like you! He has been doing this job for over 15 years!"
Mads decided to take a chance,
"Well, running a bed and breakfast and a multi million dollar 5 star hotel aren't exactly the same, in all fairness, Cesarea"
"Oh so your saying that because he is blind he wont be able to adjust to the slightly larger scale of operations?"
Understanding that this was going nowhere, but around and around in circles, thus missing any point to be made, Mads concluded what had started as such a nice conversation,
"Okay, you know what, never mind...Congratulations, again. Send my love to your brother and his wife. I hope she has been able to recover from her injuries..."
"What?!? So you think that just because he is blind he wont be able to take care of his wife who has lost the use of her legs and be successful and dedicated to his job? SCREW YOU! AND SCREW PEOPLE LIKE YOU! HOW DARE YOU THINK THAT THE BLIND CANT BE AS STRONG AND AS SUPERHUMAN AS THE REST OF US!
Hands bleeding, Mads gathered herself and walked away.