From the Sky - Part XIX

I've always wanted to believe what Zia believes: that the spilled salt and oil had nothing to do with breaking traditions or with spirits and stregas, and everything to do with Carlo and Alberto being flat-out tired from working crazy hours with Gio to bake those cakes.

"There were so many other omens too, Renata!" Aunt Sal sighed.

"Alberto's daughter, Camille: She had a wedding rehearsal the night before the picnic," Rae half-whispered. "Everything went perfectly. Everything!"

I scrunched up my eyebrows and said: "Isn't that good?"

"NO!" my aunts shot back in unison.

"On Broadway, a bad dress rehearsal is a good omen," said Aunt Rae. "A good dress rehearsal? Start auditioning for another part!"

"But this was a wedding, not a play!"

"Oh, Renata," laughed Sal, "Where is there more drama than a wedding? You've got the parents of the bride and groom, each convinced the other's child is simply not good enough. The maid of honor and the bridesmaids are usually at each other's throats. Half the groomsmen are trying to sleep with all of the bridesmaids, and half the time they succeed. The best man thinks he really is the best man and he tries to woo the bride. Always there is some relative or another who is falling-down drunk."

"Don't you see, Renata," Rae interrupted, "If the wedding rehearsal isn't a disaster, if the demons aren't exorcised there, then the marriage is doomed."

"And don't forget Camille's rehearsal dinner," said Aunt Sal, shaking her head slowly. "Now there was a disaster!"

"Signs and omens, omens and signs," agreed Rae. "To start with, they had thirteen seats at the tables."

"And the flowers!" added Sal.

"Striped carnations! Regret! Refusal!" Rae said as she took a forkful of dessert. "The groom's mother made a horrid choice using those in the centerpieces!"

"And seventeen in each vase! She begged for the lightning to strike!" Sal sighed. "She wanted the lightning to strike!"

"And then there was the food, Renata," said Rae.

"The food?"

Aunt Sal leaned in close and softly, slowly: "The food!"

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