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I Want Out!
forioscribe


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I quizzed Vittoria about her wedding to Giancarlo. We were on one of our summer rides on the Staten Island Ferry. As usual, I wanted to hear about her relationship with him, but then at the same time I didn’t.

“It was like a funeral,” she said, leaning on the rail, looking down at the choppy water and the boat’s white frothy wake.
“The wedding ceremony?”
“Yes. It was so gloomy.”
“That’s sad,” I said. Which was a lie. I was delighted to hear it.
“In our album there are no smiles,” she said. “None at all. Both sides of the family hated each other.”
“Why?”
“My father didn’t want to give me away because he didn’t approve of Giancarlo. And so Giancarlo’s family didn’t like his attitude. He was too bossy for them.”
“What about Giancarlo’s father? Was he happy about it?”
“He died when Giancarlo was six.”
“How did you get your father to agree to the marriage?”
“I told him, you won’t let me get married? I’m leaving. I got my little back pack and took off.”
“How old were you?”
“Nineteen. Now that I’m older I can understand why my dad was like that. When I met Giancarlo I was 12 and he was almost 20. He’d come over to the house all the time to see my brothers. I was starting to develop, and he noticed me. All the other boys at school did too.”
“But your father was keeping an eye on you.”
“Yes. One time Brian, another of my brother’s friends, told my dad he wanted to take me out. My dad kicked him out. ‘No, my daughter isn’t going to any movies with you or anyone else,’ he said. Which made me mad.”
“I’ll bet.”
“Even when I got older my father still kept me on a chain. All the other girls were allowed to date. Not me. But Giancarlo kept coming to see my brothers, and we talked, and a couple times I skipped school to see him. Finally I wrote him a letter.”
“About?”
“I told him, if you want to keep coming after me, you better propose and get me out of here. And if you don’t, there are plenty of others.”
“And he jumped at the chance.”
“He comes to the house. My dad sits at one end of the table, Giancarlo at the other. My mom and I are on either side. Giancarlo says he wants to marry me. My father looks at him like he’s completely nuts. He says, ‘My daughter is too young to even consider such a proposition.’ I say, ‘Dad! I want out!’ And dad glares at me and says, ‘Go to your room. Right now.’ Can you imagine? He told me to go to my room.”
“And Giancarlo said what?”
“What could he say? Besides, my father had a bad opinion of him from something that had happened earlier.”
“This is getting complicated.”
“Do you want to hear it, or not?”
“Yes. Please go on.”
“Giancarlo had a sister-in-law, Diane, who always got into other people’s business. She finds out Giancarlo is interested in me, very much. Know what she tells him?”
“What?”
“She says, ‘Listen, Giancarlo. Don’t think she’s this cute little virgin angel. She had a boyfriend before you named Tommy. You know him. The soccer player.’ Which drove Giancarlo crazy.”
“So were you dating this Tommy?”
“Yes, he was a sweet boy who wrote me poems. Which by the way I showed Giancarlo and said I had written them. But anyway, yes, we saw each other and kissed. But that was it. I never even knew what sex was at that time. I was just a child.”
“So what did Giancarlo do?”
“He shows up angry and crazy-like and accuses me of sleeping with Tommy. I couldn’t believe it. I told him, ‘Yes, I was seeing Tommy and yes we did kiss, but that was it. So who in hell is this sister-in-law of yours? How does she know anything about me?’ Giancarlo had no answer, he just stood there with this crazy look on his face. Well, I got so mad I told him, ‘You know what? I know myself and I don't need to answer to you, you want to believe Diane then you’ve made your choice, plus I don't want to be around someone who can't think for himself. So GET OUT.’”
“Poor guy.”
“My father comes in. He heard us shouting from the other room. He sees Giancarlo looking like he’s ready to blow his own brains out. My father says to him, ‘All I can say is I feel sorry for you. I don’t need to do anything, because you’ve already done it to yourself. Now get out of my house.’”
“Had your father heard what Giancarlo accused you of?”
“Oh, no. If he had he would have killed him.”
“So what did this Tommy look like?”
“Brown wavy hair, blue eyes.”
“Muscular? Stocky?”
“No, tall but toned. He kept sending me poems. I was such a devil.”
“That’s for sure.”
“I’d give the poems to Giancarlo and say I wrote them.”
“Poor Giancarlo.”
She gave me a strange look. “Poor Giancarlo, and poor you.” she said. “He got his, now it’s YOUR turn.”


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this is fascinating. i'm getting so hooked! the .jpg at the bottom is wonderful. is that a station of the cross on the ground? i can't quite make it out. btw, yesterday's installment with the greek scholar was really good, but i failed to post to say so. i think i will go back a ways in your journal and catch up on vittoria.

mi chiamo vittoria. [G]

Thanks for your interest and generous comments. The mosiac at the bottom is a contemporary (1975 I believe) work by a local ceramicist, and I took the picture because the "Savior" in the mosiac is fragmented and abstract--to me a symbol for what came of Vittoria's expectations about her marriage to Giancarlo as a means of escaping her father. The emptiness of the circular window at the top is a similar visual metaphor. More simply put, I think the overall "feel" of the image fits well here...

oh, yes, it definitely does fit well. thank you for explaining about the mosaic. now that you have, my mind is orienting it correctly, and i see that that's a window. i thought it was a bowl at first. couldn't interpret the shadows falling from that angle. (i'm not a very visual person.)

grazie mille!




You've a fascinating collection of entries. Your entries are magnetic, maybe.


Many thanks. Much of it's done under the influence of Beethoven!

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