I want to speak Italian. I have for as long as I can remember. My grandmother spoke it well, and often. I was young when she died but to me all of the sounds are wrapped in warmer memories of pink mint candies, lasagna, ripening bananas, and her rose garden. Unfortunately, the Italian language did not make it much further down the bloodline. I’ve pulled out the dictionaries and relished in my Rosetta Stone program, but much is lost when you arrive and you’re faced with rapid fire words and waving arms. Still, I listen, I try to remember, and say “afternoon” when I should be saying “good morning.” Twice this week I have gone into the store and asked to “fly” something instead of buy something.
I had plans today to sit with an Italian girl who wants to learn English. We were to meet at 2pm. I would read a sentence in Italian, she the same in English. I was so excited to actually speak a full sentence in Italy, and have someone understand it! Something came up and she had to postpone.
Determined to speak, I went to the square where the old men play cards every afternoon. After the formalities, which I’m sure were painful to any real Italian, we chatted – in a broken kind of way. “Where are all the women” I asked, puzzled by their absence. Perhaps they are locked in a closet after siesta, or condemned to the kitchen?? No, “In Chiesa,” I was told. “Why aren’t the men in church” I asked. “Because they play cards in the square.” Ah…yes, silly me.
The boys will turn into a fine painting someday, as soon as I learn how to ask them to sit for it. Ciao.