From the Sky - Part IX

And it was Zia who spoke next, ignoring my father and addressing Joe and me: "Is it really all about love?"

Joe and I both nodded.

Zia turned and addressed Joe: "Don't do it for love. Never. Love destroyed Renata's grandfather and her Uncle Gio. Love nearly destroyed her father. Love…" but she paused there, and her voice trailed off a second, and then her cheeks flashed hot and she turned to me: "Marry him for shallow reasons, Renata. It hurts less when it all comes crashing down. Marry for money, if he's rich. Marry him for his ass, if you're hot blooded. Marry him for a higher social standing, if he will bring it. Never marry for love, Renata. Never, never, never! It will crush you. It will grind you down to nothing. It will leave your heart a stone, a small cold stone. Nothing good comes from love."

And then Sal: "Renata, Joe, be reasonable. You're just kids!"

"No ma'am, we're not," Joe said, and there was steel in his voice as he walked again into the minefield. "We've been in love for years. This is what we want."

"Do you really even know each other?" Rae asked. "Well, let's see. When's her birthday?"

"September 26th."

"Ah. And how old is she?"

Joe paused, I prayed, and then he said: "Twenty-two."

I closed my eyes. Minefields, minefields! Hand grenades and monkey fur everywhere!

"Twenty-three," Rae corrected. "Paulie, he doesn't even know how old she is!"

"I don't know how old I am!" my father shot back.

"Please Renata," Sal said, standing. "Marriage is such a serious business. You're both just out of school. All of his money is on your ring finger. Where will you live? How will he provide for you? Wait. Wait. Five years, maybe ten. Some wait even longer."

I'd had enough. I found my voice: "Joe is an electrical engineer. He has job offers. I have a degree in music. I can teach, maybe right here in Walnutwood. We're going to buy a house and move in after the honeymoon. A nice house with a huge kitchen, two baths, and a big front yard with azaleas bordering a flagstone walkway."

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