The condo building where they have the party is secluded on a hill. Mark used to live there with his family, but now the edifice is vacant: it will be demolished soon as there are major problems with the construction. Not a single adult knows of the party. Mark has sneaked the keys from his parents’ desk.
Sixteen teenagers, from grade eleven and twelve. The building might collapse: what’s more exciting than defying destiny? It’s not the usual gang, as the party has been organized in a few hours. How to loosen up the atmosphere and bring all together? Mark has an idea: famous couples from history. He writes each name on a small piece of paper, rolls them up and makes two piles: the men’s names on one side, the women’s on the other.
“Who wants to be the first to pick a name?” They all come, boys and girls, more excited than ever, and each gets a piece of paper.
Voices, laughs, screams: “I picked up Cleopatra, where is Mark Anthony?” “Here, I am Mark Anthony!” “What about Adam? Who is Adam?” “Hey, Eve, I’m here.” The couples, once formed, must dance together for at least three rounds.
“I am Tristan” says Mark. “Where is Isolde?”
“Here I am!” Lucy runs to him waving her bit of paper. She gives him her hand: “Hi, my real name is Lucy, and yours?”
“Come on, be serious.” Her eyes are like fawn’s eyes.
“Mark, pleased to meet you.” His hands have tapering fingers, like a musician.
They dance for three rounds, six, ten. They forget about the others and when the party ends, they vow eternal love to each other. They meet for a few minutes after school every day, they discover an isolated alley where they can squeeze into each other arms, steal a kiss, feel the softness of her hair, smell the whiff of orange from his lips. In furtive moments, donated by life.
Mark’s parents see that their son is less concentrated on his studies. They find out about this Lucy girl. They manage to meet her parents.
“Our son is the best in his class. We want him to become a doctor. Tell your daughter to leave him in peace.”
Italy of the 1950s, and a small town life. Lucy’s parents, very religious, are ashamed and outraged. They no longer let her go alone anywhere. Her mother takes her to school, her father picks her up.
Gone are the alley and its secret kisses.
Even in school they feel trapped. They don’t know who might spy on them, who might gossip to their parents. Through their best friends they send each other scraps of paper, love letters scribbled in Latin, or in a strange code that only they understand. Magic and innocent first love, in which they believe, against all odds.
The following year Mark leaves for university. He writes letters to Lucy through his friend. The friend gives them to her. She destroys the letters soon after reading, even though her heart aches, but she has no choice: disaster might follow if her parents find out. He dares to send her a postcard, signing with a girl’s name, he writes ‘I love you’ under the stamp, knowing she will recognize his handwriting, that she will search for his love hidden under the stamp. He feels her heart beating fast, sees her hands shivering, imagines her lips kissing the words under the stamp. As he has done, many times.
As he will kiss her several years later when, after a long separation, overwhelming obstacles and a wrong marriage, they will find each other, at last.