I had signed a translation contract with FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, which I could not cancel, partly because there was no time to find a substitute and partly because I thought that back in Rome, in familiar surroundings, Francesco would improve and I would regain a little independence. Instead of which, they were nightmare days. Sometimes I took Francesco with me to the office and entrusted him to the security guards, seating him with books and magazines in the hall where I went down every hour to check the situation. Other times he stayed at home, looked after by Irene.
Francesco insisted on continuing to drive and I did not know how to stop him without offending or humiliating him. He often forgot where he had parked the car, partly because, due to his pressing need to keep on the move, he kept moving it. One day when I had left him at home with Irene and was feeling relatively relaxed, I received a telephone call in my office from a colleague. Francesco was wandering around the FAO restaurant looking for me. I was aghast. I dashed up the eight floors that lead to the restaurant, ignoring the lift and its slow stops, and found my husband firmly restrained by two friends: he was so pleased to see me that I didn't feel I could remonstrate with him and we had lunch as if nothing were wrong. 'And the car?' I asked him afterwards, 'where have you