From the Sky - Part XI

Have a Cookie...

Aunt Sal and I sat at the old wooden table in her brightly lit kitchen; a room filled with the aroma of bread and recently brewed coffee. It was mid-morning and she said she'd just finished some gardening. Not a hair on her head out of place, and not so much as a smudge on her clothes anywhere. I don't know how she does it!

She served cookies and a tiny glass of Frangelico. 'A drop to warm the heart,' she said. I told her all about the honeymoon and answered so many questions! How white was the sand on the beach? Were there romantic dinners? Did you watch the sunsets together? Do you think you made any babies? (And oh, I blushed at that one!)

Finally, I reached for an anise cookie, and I must have hesitated, or perhaps there was something in my countenance, and she said: "What's wrong, Renata?"

I held the cookie lightly in my fingers, as if it would crumble at the slightest touch, and said: "Gio didn't come to the wedding."

"Well, of course not."

I sighed, and said: "But I hoped, Aunt Sal. I prayed and I hoped and I wished. Will he ever leave that tiny patch of land?"

"Probably not."

"It's so stupid. Stupid! He cuts himself off like that from the world; he's turned away from his family! Why? How can he do such a thing?"

"He believes he's cursed. He thinks he's protecting us. He thinks he's protecting you, most of all."

"And what do you believe, Aunt Sal?"

She shrugged, and said: "It's of no matter what I believe. The facts are plain. Gio was destroyed by love, like so many others."

"Like Grandfather?"

"Yes."

"What about you?"

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