Marco kept checking the piece of paper his wife had left for him. In their small haberdashery, his wife Alice used to do the morning shift in order to spend the whole afternoon with the children, who would come back from school. So, he usually went there around noon in order to take over for her in the last half hour of work and take a walk during the break: he used to eat a rich breakfast and skip lunch. Once he arrived in the shop, after serving a few customers and answering a couple of phone calls, he finally read the note Alice had left on his table. Forty packages of soap bubbles were needed by next week.
They lived in a small village close to the mountains and they had never had such a request. Intrigued, even if a bit sceptical, he asked Alice again for confirmation: “Honey, but are you sure? Is it not like that time when they made us buy hundreds of balloons and then left them in the shop, making us lose money from the sale?”. His wife, holding her mobile phone between her ear and her raised tight shoulder as she drained pasta for her children, huffing, had replied: “Again with that? It has only happened once. Never that you trust. This girl came and asked me for bubbles, what was I supposed to tell her? No? Should I have questioned her maybe?”. In order to avoid further discussion, Marco had hung up. Puzzled, but reassured by the fact that the blame would not fall on him but on his wife, in case of a prank as he was sure it was, he had placed the order. Then he had got up and gone for a walk.
That same afternoon, a young man, never seen in the country, entered the haberdashery with a polite manner. “Hi, I wanted to ask if you had any soap bubbles, by any chance,” he said. Marco, chuckling, took the last few and handed them to him. “I could use a lot more: could I order some packages? I’d like, say, let me calculate… at least a dozen.” “Excuse me sir, but inside each packet are ten pieces. Are you sure you want a hundred in all?” “Yes, thank you.” Marco, increasingly astonished, ordered ten more packs. That Saturday he would receive fifty packs of bubbles: 500 pieces in all. He reminded the customer to come early in the morning because, as he could see, the shop was small and more orders were due to arrive. The customer, thanking him, left.
As the days passed, Alice and Marco spoke about it several times, almost amused by this strange coincidence. The day has come. It is a Saturday; it is eight o’clock in the morning when the fifty packs of bubbles arrive. Like every Saturday morning, everyone is in the shop: Marco, Alice and their three young children. At ten o’clock, the opening times, outside the door of the shop, a young man, Carlo, talks with Carolina and her mother Ambra. Marco, relieved by their presence, and happy to have made a good deal that day, asks: “Here are your bubble packs. However, satisfy my curiosity: what do you do with five hundred bubbles?” The first to speak is Carlo: “It is very easy for me, my packet will go to my daughter’s kindergarten, where there will soon be an end-of-year party”. Mrs. Ambra then takes the floor: “I admit that among the forty packages ordered by my daughter, one is for me: I work in a family home and it is always fun for the children to play with bubbles, it is one of the most awaited activities of the week!” Carolina, meanwhile, had approached the children of the club owners: “In the end it is always for them. Children are the same all over the world: you get bubbles and you make them happy, incredulous, amazed! Children are all the same, it is their past that is always different. These thirty-nine packages of bubbles will go with me on a mission, to take them to a refugee camp on the border with Syria”. And so, in a small haberdashery on the slopes of a mountain range, a little girl called Elisabetta, Alice and Marco’s daughter, the owners of the shop, opened her small pink handbag and took out a small soft toy and handed it to Carolina, to take to the children she would meet, without saying anything, discreetly, giving an incredible lesson in life to all those present, as, sometimes, only children know how to do.