Monday, October 8, 2012

Scene From an Italian Restaurant

Buon Giourno!

Since it's Columbus Day, I thought I'd post a little scene from an Italian restaurant that occurs in Chapter 20 of St. Anne's Day for you to enjoy with your Chianti and lasagna.  I'm not Italian, but I think I could eat my weight in pasta.  I love Italian food and I love Italy.  Oh, and I love my part Italian husband, children and son-in-law.

I was fortunate to travel there in 2007, and I would love to go back.   Here are a few photos of Italy for you to channel your inner Sophia or Giovanni before reading the chapter.

Outside the Vatican after an overnight plane ride. Was looking for a miracle here to cure my jet lag.

Florence.  I love this photo.  I was skinnier and the setting reminds me of the Mona Lisa.

Venice--Can you tell I ran out of hair spray by the time we got there?  Bad hair day.

Chapter 20 

With his good hand, Gerry poured them wine and then raised his glass. “Here’s to the best nurse ever.”

Anne smiled, clinking her goblet to his. “Here’s to smelling salts.” When Gerry began to black out in the waiting room, Anne, quick on the draw, whipped out her smelling salts again and called for the E.R. nurse. She held them under his nose, and he quickly came to. Despite his protests, she and the nurse insisted that he ride back to the exam room in a wheel chair. While the attending physician gave Gerry five internal stitches and nine external ones, Anne kept his mind off the needle mending his flesh by engaging him in conversation. He held her hand tightly and kept his blue eyes fixed on her, wincing every so often. As he lay on the table looking up at her, Anne could see the specter of the boy Gerry had been.

Now as he sat across the table from her in the dimly lit restaurant, she no longer saw the frightened child, but the handsome, confident man, comfortable with charming women. Anne twirled pasta around her fork and watched him as he undid the top stud on his tuxedo shirt. To the other customers, they must look so odd, she thought, with him dressed in formal wear and her in scrubs. “So you met Dave at the historical society?”

 “When I was restoring the bar.” He struggled to butter a roll.

 “Let me help you,” Anne said, taking it from him. “You restored it?” She returned the buttered hard roll to him.

“Over the years, my grandfather, father, and mother had made changes to the place. Some not so good. Like the windows out front. In the early fifties they leaked, so my father had glass block installed. When I took over, business was not brisk to say the least. Mostly locals. To survive, we needed to attract a larger clientele, and to do that, the place needed to be remodeled. I’m a history minor and felt restoring the place to its original state would be the key to its success. I went to the historical society for guidance. That’s how I met him.”

“I never figured you for a history buff?”

“Don’t be so shocked.” He pointed to his head. “I’ll have you know there are brains behind this gorgeous face.”

He is gorgeous. And now that he’d taken off the bow tie and opened his shirt, he was even more so. He looked sexy like a groom loosening his clothing in preparation for a night of lovemaking with his bride. What am I doing thinking about Gerry and making love? Keep your mind on history, Anne. “But history is so cerebral and solitary,” she said, “and you’re so gregarious.”

“Well, when a chunk of your past is missing, you value the links to it.”

“Part of your past is missing?”

He swallowed and then said softly, “My father.”

“Oh,” Anne whispered, not sure what to say. Peg had often talked about her late husband, how she missed him so, but Anne couldn’t recall Gerry mentioning his father before. He stared at the candle flickering in the glass globe on the table.

 “Sometimes, it’s so strange, Anne, but I’ll be standing at the bar pouring a beer or sitting at his desk in my office, and I get this feeling—it’s not a creepy feeling, but a good one—that he’s there with me.” He looked at her, sadness dimming the sparkle in his eyes. “I don’t know how I know it’s him. I barely remember my father. But I know he’s there. I never wanted to work in the bar, but since I’ve been forced to do it, I’m finding that I’m loving it. To know that I’m sitting where he sat, standing where he drew beers, doing the same things he did. Do you understand what I mean? Have you ever been haunted by a memory?”

Anne touched his hand. “Yes, I understand what it’s like to be haunted.”

 “I’m sorry. I didn’t bring you here to depress you. I’m as bad as the old lushes who used to hang out in the bar when I was growing up. They were always calling me over to tell me that I ‘Looked just like my old man. What a good egg he was.’ Then they’d buy me a Slim Jim. I know they were trying to make me feel better, but it made me feel worse to know they knew my father and I didn’t.”

When he stopped speaking, she realized she was still touching his hand. She felt awkward, and she quickly withdrew it and reached for her wine, taking a long sip.

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