The dark hard hands belonged to my father. With them he mixed mortar and laid bricks and made possible the bread on our table. Mother’s blue eyes floodlit the room when she was very happy or angry. Likely brighter in the latter instance, the blue of hot sapphires, as she seethed. I’d feel it in my belly, in my spine. Dark hands pounded the table. Something disagreed—with him, with the moment. The ceiling flaked, falling like yellow snow, mixing with the parm cloaking my fragrant spag bol. Harsh words I don’t know, bad words forbidden to me clash and fly. My sister withers under the table, her whimpers weaken my throat. Too al dente, I hear. Then: Too al dente! The dark hands flatten on the table. Then the right hand grasps the glass, lifts it to the mean mouth, and turns it. The empty glass floats in the air before thumping to the table. Who are these people? And who am I, between them, spineless, gelatinous? Mother lifts her plate. Don’t do it, Ma. Don’t do it. But va fanculo she will not be disrespected, not in this life or the next …
Prose by Salvatore Difalco
Image by Adam Strong
Salvatore Difalco writes out of Toronto, Canada
One reply on “Before the Spaghetti Hit the Wall”
I have already read Salvatore DiFalco’s work elsewhere and thrilled to read this piece in Backwards Trajectory. Relatable in so many ways. And that last line is a gem, so true, having grown up around so many Sicilian women!