From the Sky - Part XIV

We Tarentella's.

My Joe calls me 'the last Tarentella.'

He's joking, but it is true, nonetheless, for the Walnutwood branch of my family. My father had no sons. The Tarentella name will end, but my family's genes will survive in the microscopic strands of DNA within my boys. I wonder sometimes who else has contributed to the Tarentella recipe over the centuries. Were there kings? Rascals? Peasants? Saints? Mass murderers? Does anyone really know who's been swimming in their family gene pool? I just hope that a thousand years from now there's a young girl who relishes climbing honey locust trees and carefully working her way around the thorns as she shimmies up to a perch overlooking a nest of scarlet tanagers. That's the little bit of me I hope gets passed down through the ages.

So as I was saying, from the previous generation only my father's branch of the tree bore fruit. There are no boys to carry on the name and I was the last girl. All three of my aunts are well past childbearing age now. Was there ever a chance for me to have some cousins? Perhaps. After all, Zia had several serious suitors. These romances all ultimately failed, yet one of them damaged her enough to make her to turn her back on love altogether. The mystery her sisters have never solved is which boy broke her heart. Aunt Sal had one love that nearly slipped out of her life completely, a love that only now may be flickering back to life. Hers is an unfinished story, but one that will have no children. And Aunt Rae …well, I've heard people say that she's never been kissed, let alone romanced. I know better. Aunt Rae also had her one great love, one she rarely speaks of. I will say more about that in a moment, I promise.

So despite all the lovers that hovered around the edges of my aunt's lives, they each ended up alone and childless. I'm sorry, that sounds so empty and cold doesn't it? It makes them sound miserable, like broken-down old spinsters who spend their evenings alone, knitting and waiting patiently …perhaps impatiently …for death. They are anything but, my aunts.

And perhaps they really weren't childless. They had me. It was like I had three mothers growing up. They filled most of the hole Darla left in my heart. I still can't think of Darla as my mother. She was an egg donor; my aunts did all the heavy maternal lifting. But there are times, as I've said, that a dull pain fills my heart; a melancholy which strikes out of the blue; the lingering pain from Darla's rejection of her own flesh and blood. You never really get over being abandoned.

Sad Renata...


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