The boy who puts his socks on inside-out when he plays tennis and who also studies telecommunications goes by the name Mefito González. The girl who speaks English, French, Italian, German and Austrian and who believes eating spaghetti with a spoon is a typical Neapolitan custom goes by the name Tentorea. They have never spoken to each other, but their fleeting gazes clearly indicate the excitement in their hearts. Today, finally, they are being introduced. They approach each other with their respective go-betweens, and, demonstrating an astonishing lack of originality, they greet each other:
Yes, in keeping with the most deeply ingrained ancestral customs, the first word of love they speak to each other is “Hello.” What’s more, they have the foul luck of pronouncing it in unison (an objectively ridiculous thing). Under normal circumstances, Mefito would trot out the usual “Jinx!” (or some other expression along those lines) which usually resolves such uncomfortable situations. But something atrocious happens: he finds the timbre of her voice appalling; it screeches across his eardrums and causes him a pain so fierce that a pair of tears suddenly leap from his eyes. On the other hand, Tentorea receives Mefito’s “Hello” as a nauseating wave of vapour, which prevents her from pronouncing the usual redemptive “Jinx!” for fear of vomiting up the buttered toast she had for breakfast.
In fact, it is better this way, because, if it hadn’t been for his breath and her voice, they would have both said “Jinx!” at exactly the same time (an absolute absurdity, entirely without remedy) and their paths would have dovetailed forthwith. But let’s leave off conjecturing, because the fact is that her voice and his breath have just left them both speechless.
Tentorea runs home crying. Mefito stays where he is, horribly anguished. A beautiful love story can’t just go down the tubes on account of a hypersensitive nose and ears. There are two problems at this point in the story: the first is that Mefito’s friends don’t find Tentorea’s voice to be horrible at all, while among Tentorea’s friends no one finds Mefito’s breath offensive. Quite the contrary! So it is purely a subjective matter. And the second problem is obvious, though it might go unnoticed: Mefito has discovered Tentorea’s grating voice and Tentorea, Mefito’s halitosis, but neither of them have discovered their own defects. Thus, demonstrating altruism and philanthropy, they both, in unison (of course), write the following notes to each other:
My Dear and Recently Discovered Tentorea,
I have been meditating deeply and I have reached a difficult but undeniable conclusion: I love you more than I love myself, and I value my heart more than my hearing. I understand that without you, I’d go through life unaccompanied, or worse, in an empty partnership. I prefer to live deafly at your side than blind for never seeing you again. Don’t worry: we all have defects, and, although yours is a serious one, to me it is only a trifle. I fell in love with you the moment I saw you, and I would do anything to be always by your side… Two plus two makes four, and one cannot fight the obvious: I love you, and we will surely find a solution to your problem. See you soon.
Caro Surprising Mefito,
I apologize for running off without saying goodbye, but you will understand that I wasn’t expecting such a shock to the sinuses. However, I’ve always believed that human beings have six senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, and Love. And for me, this last one is much more important than, say, the third. For someone like you, I would even trade the first five senses for an authentic and genuine Amor, such as your gaze promises and foretells. So let’s forget about your defect, and we’ll be happy. And remember: big problems call for big solutions. Dankeshön par tout et a rivederci,
Of course, the exemplary efficiency of our postal system is such that the two letters arrive at precisely the same time. The surprise on their respective faces is both logical and predictable. But this is how they each discover their respective terrible defects.