After lunch, Renzo and Mara drove to a panoramic site to see the solar eclipse.
Mara was a nurse, and she gave Renzo someone’s x-ray to filter out the sun’s glare, keeping one for herself.
“What is it?” Renzo asked, “A broken arm?”
“Let me see…Yes, a broken arm.” Mara said taking a quick look at the x-ray.
“Is he OK now?” Renzo asked.
“It’s a she, but yes, she’s OK now.” Mara replied.
“Good.” Renzo said holding up the x-ray to the sun.
It was summer, and Renzo was dripping with sweat. He looked for shade, but there was none to be found.
The view was spectacular. A storm had cleared the air, and Renzo and Mara’s gaze stretched as far as Corsica.
In the background, the crickets and birds conversed incessantly. Loudly. Renzo had the surreal impression they were arguing with each other. Screaming at each other. He looked around and saw none of the small crowd that had gathered for the eclipse paid any attention to the noise, and he thought it must be him.
And then it happened.
The moon eclipsed the sun.
Darkness brought silence.
And after a few seconds, the sun pushed past the moon, and it was day once more.
The crickets and birds became loud again.
Driving home, Renzo said, “Is that what happened to us? I mean, has one of us eclipsed the other? Or have we just eclipsed each other?”
“You and your questions.” She said putting her head out of the car window to breathe. And Renzo suddenly felt guilty, as if he were somehow toxic, and his words had poisoned the air inside the car. The air between them.
When they returned to work, in the clinic, there was a woman with her arm in plaster, sitting in Reception.
She was using a chopstick to scratch an itch inside the plaster. She hid it in her handbag, and stood up, when she saw Renzo and Mara come in.
“Are those my x-rays?” She asked Mara.
“Yes.” Mara replied looking slightly embarrassed as she handed over the x-rays.
“Did you take a look? The doctor said it was a clean break,” the woman said almost enthusiastically.
“Clean breaks are the best breaks. They are the ones from which it is easiest to recover.” Mara said, turning towards Renzo as she said it.
Within a few weeks, Renzo moved out of Mara’s flat and changed jobs.
Years have passed, but Renzo and Mara speak on the phone every now and again, and just the other day they laughed out loud thinking about the time they saw the moon hide the sun through a broken arm.