When we got there, Dino, the villa’s caretaker opened the gates. I knew Dino, and while he gave directions to the truck driver, to back into the drive, we exchanged a few words. After a few metres, Dino gestured to him to stop and switch off the engine.
When the driver climbed down off his vehicle, he looked puzzled.
“Where’s the church?” He asked Dino.
“What church?” Said Dino.
“I have a truck load of church bells; I thought I was taking them to a church.”
“No church. You need to put the bells in here.” Dino said, pointing to a shallow well in the grass.
“What? Why would I do that?” Asked the driver.
“Look! I don’t know! That’s where the boss wants them; inside this well. It’s supposed to be Art.” Said Dino not too convinced.
“Art? If I knew that's what you were going to do with them, I would never have brought them here, but you paid for them, so I suppose they are yours. I'll unload them on the gravel, over there, but I’m not putting them inside a bloody well!”
After unloading all the church bells, and getting his delivery confirmation signatures, the truck driver left without so much as a word.
I helped Dino shift the bells. They were heavy and cold. We put each bell one inside the other until they all fitted inside the well, according to a detailed diagram the artist had given to him. It was May, and the sun was high. Dino swore and cursed until he had positioned all the bells, just as the artist had wanted them.
“Have you noticed the bells don’t have a clapper?” Asked Dino.
“Yes, I saw that. What do you think it means, Dino?” I said.
“It obviously meant something to that truck driver. I never saw anybody more reluctant to make a delivery.” Said Dino, as he lit a cigarette.
“Why do you think he was so pissed off?” I asked.
“I don’t blame him; he’s a believer. To him, this well of clapper-less church bells is a silent, Godless grave that offers no hope.” He said as he wiped his brow with his forearm.
“But it will be good for the birds and the frogs”, he added as an afterthought, “they just need a place where to drink and breed, and the bells will collect enough rainwater for both. And hope is like water; it always finds its way.”