It was a big mistake, Vittoria said. She married Giancarlo to get away from the suffocating strictness of her father. And--big surprise!--it turned out that Giancarlo was exactly like her father, with all the old Italian ideas about family and what a wife and mother must do. But she was not one to be bossed around. She knew how to deflect all Giancarlo's attempts to control her.
They fought one battle after another over the years, until there was a standoff. She took over the master bedroom and made it into her own private space, which he was forbidden to enter. Giancarlo slept in the other bedroom. He'd wake up every morning at five, and head off for work in the city, and not return until late in the evening. Weekends he'd go to his brother's house, or to his uncle's, to watch the games or to play cards.
"You're getting a divorce?" James asked.
"Yes," Vittoria replied. "But Giancarlo is thick-headed. He does not accept that I want to leave. Every time I bring him the papers, he tears them up."
In Italy happiness in a marriage is desirable, but certainly not indispensable. It is good that a man learns to look the other way. A woman by all means provides her husband with numerous chances to deceive himself.
Time passes. Things never change.