Friday, January 10, 2014

Speak Softly, Love

Parla più piano e nessuno sentirà,
il nostro amore lo viviamo io e te,
nessuno sa la verità, neppure il cielo che ci guarda da lassù.

Speak softly, love and hold me warm against your heart, I feel your words, the tender trembling moments start.
We're in a world, our very own
Sharing a love that only few have ever known.

Mother stood at the dining room table holding in her hand a gilt edged invitation from her brother Calò Talliaferro.  An expression of exasperation crossed her face, “Why does my brother Caló insist on using the old family name?  There is a reason why my grandfather Antonio changed it to Toliver.  It’s almost like Caló is trying to recapture the past.”

“What is it Mother?” said Alfred.

“It’s this invitation to a family reunion in March.  That’s the last thing I want to do,” said Mother. “I’ve done my best to put my family background in the past.  First it was cousin Angelo visiting us to retrieve that lupara shotgun that belonged to my grandfather, now this.”

“We enjoyed the family get together at Assaggio’s in the Boston North-End last year,” said Alfred.”

“You, more than me, Alfred,” said Mother.  “You have always been most gracious and accepting.  For my part these family reunions just bring out all the bad memories.  One just never knows who will show up.  Some of those people I never want to see again.”

Alfred considered this for a moment before asking, “Is there something specific bothering you Mother?”

Mother placed the gilt-edged invitation carefully on the table and shook her head, “I don’t want to talk about it Alfred.  There’s no point.”

“Mother,” said Alfred, “The memories are obviously still painful.  Keeping them to yourself only gives them hidden power.”

“I suppose so, Alfred,” said Mother. “I suppose so.  A lot of it goes  back to when we were students in Boston.  I was at Boston College, and you were at the Boston University School of Management.  You know that before I met you I was dating an Italian boy named Paolo Vizzini.”

“I remember you mentioning him, Mother.” said Alfred, “If I remember, he was quite a brute.”

Mother shook her head again, obviously quite perturbed, “What I didn’t tell you Alfred, was that one night after a date forced himself on me.  When I tried to resist, he beat me.”

“Mother! said Alfred, “No!”

“Yes, Alfred, and that’s not all.  Then Caló found out about it,” said Mother, tears streaming down her face.

“Oh my darling Rosabella,” said Alfred. “Then what happened?”

“Caló just said, ‘Don’t worry about it.  You won’t ever have to see him again.’  In my family that could mean any number of things; none of them very good,” said Mother.  “Every time we have one of those family reunions I’m half afraid that I will see Paolo or one of his family members again.  I just can’t stand the thought of it.”

“Well, I’ll tell you what Mother, if you decide to go, we’ll go together, but we don’t need to stay any longer than you want to,” said Alfred.  “We’ll just make the visit short as we possibly can.  In the meantime it always helps not to keep secrets from those closest to us.”

“I know, Alfred, I know,” said Mother with an odd look on her face.

 “Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" [John 8:31-32].  

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