John Palcewski (forioscribe) wrote,
John Palcewski

All Those Ugly Words

Yadda, Yadda YA-da!

My IM with Francesca started out calmly enough. She simply stated the facts.

“My dad told her, but she didn’t want to hear it.”
“Told her what?”
“That her real mom is that famous movie actress Maria Marrella, and that she had to give Vittoria up because she knew there would be a big scandal that would ruin her chances for an Academy Award. So my dad adopted her, in Naples. Now she’s more pissed than ever.”
“Oh, my God!” I said. “What will she do? Disappear? Where is she now?”
“She’s locked herself in her room.”
“Of course. And she’s not speaking to anyone, right? So what in hell else is new?”
“Don’t be angry at me, James. I’m in the same boat. That’s just the way she is.”
“And how long does she expect everyone to just accept her abusive behavior? She’s been milking this adoption thing for the past two months.”
“But James, it’s big. Too big.”
“If it isn’t adoption, then it’s something else, right? Always an excuse to disappear. And with some guy who is a virtual stranger. That’s what I don’t understand.”
“Maybe she did it because she herself feels like a stranger. She says she wants to talk to you. Will you be online later?”
“What’s the point? She’ll just tell me that she isn’t in the mood to talk.”
“Maybe you should calm down. And keep in mind what she’s going through right now.”
“Oh? What about what Don Giovanni is going through? And you. And me. What about that?”
“La Princepessa Piccola needs grow up and DEAL with this, otherwise it would be better if she just got the hell out of everyone’s life. Now.”
“Then you should tell her that.”
“Enough is enough.”
“What you don’t understand is she always pushes away the people she cares about.”
“Exactly what part don’t I understand, Francesca?”
“I know her. I also know she cares for us. She’s just messed up right now. My dad is calling me. I’ve got to go. Bye.”

At this point I got up, grabbed my coffee cup and hurled it as hard as I could across the room. It smashed against the wall, leaving a dripping brown splotch.

* * *

An hour later I thought I had calmed down. When I saw Vittoria log onto IM, I typed my familiar “Greetings!” and she replied with her usual “hi.” We had a rather routine conversation. Until she got into this:

“My life is just a fiction,” she said. “I’m talking about my life from day one. I don’t know who the f… I am. Why I am even here.”
I did not reply because I felt my anger surging once again.
“I can see you don’t have an answer for me,” she said.
“You don’t want to hear what I have to say.”
“Say what you want.”
“You are a person who was adopted by two loving people who took you in and treated you as one of their own. That’s not fiction. That’s a fact.”
“Why couldn’t they have told me the truth from the beginning?”
“They didn’t tell you because they wanted you to believe you were as much a part of that family as anyone else.”
“You don’t want to know how I feel inside. My life is just one big lie.”
“Saying that I don’t want to know is a lie. I’m your lover, or have you forgotten?”
“The only lie was the adoption. But that can NOT change what happened afterward.”
“Why are you punishing me for this? And punishing everyone else?”
“I’m punishing no one. This is how I act. I can’t help it.”
“I can understand why you’d want to dump on your dad, but why your sister? Why me?”
“Who the hell knows? I don’t know. I don’t even know who I am. Try that for once.”

I clenched my teeth. Jesus. She just won’t let go of it. And she hears nothing.

“Okay, you’re right,” I said. “So go ahead, take off. Go back and hide with your so-called ‘friend.’ Be silent for another 40 days. Now HE isn’t a lie, is he? You can talk to him. But not to me, nor anyone else.”
“Try one day in my life. Just try it.”
“Oh, right. I can not possibly understand.”
“I was given away. Given away.”
“Poor you.”
“Fine. Be sarcastic.”
“I get it. You never had anybody to take care of you.”
“You are surrounded by zillions of relatives in that extended family of yours. You’ve got a sister. A husband. A lover, for Christ’s sake! And yet you say it’s all a lie.”
“But they aren’t my relatives.”
“Right. They have absolutely nothing to do with you. So dump on them. Freeze them out. Leave. They have hated you from the beginning. All of them.”
“Try getting your identity stripped from you.”
“Identity? Everyone must create his or her own identity. It’s called GROWING UP!”
“Growing up obviously is something you’re not prepared to do. So run and hide. Punish everyone who loves you. But don’t expect me to be there when you come back.”
“At least you know who the f…you are.”
“You’re just feeling sorry for yourself.”
“You better just leave. There is no life for you where you are. Or with me. It’s all gone now. Boooo-hooo!”

The conversation—if it could be called that—then took a slightly different tack. I knew we were heading into some dangerous territory, but I didn’t care.

“You have no clue how close I am to packing it in right now,” I said.
“I have a clue. I’m all bad news.”
“I’m sick of this. You need to grow up, but you won’t”
“I guess so. Thanks to the way I was brought up.”
“Right. But it’s funny, isn’t it? No matter what you do, they keep paying the bills. Which is why you need to dump on them all now. Because all that bill paying was a lie.”
“Shut up.”
“That money was fiction. They made it all up. So now they need to be punished for spending all that fictional money.”
“Oh, you know it all. I don’t need to speak.”
“So speak then. Tell me something I haven’t already heard and written down. Come on.”
“You know everything.”
“Let’s see. You don’t know who you ARE. You life is a LIE. So that’s why you won’t talk to anyone. Because nobody will ever understand. Okay, I got that. So what do you have to add? Anything? How about, ‘I’ve gotta go now.’”
“Hey, you’ve covered all the bases.”
“Or SLAM. Come on, tell me something I haven’t heard yet. Something new. Make it up.”


“Maybe I don’t have that part in my brain that knows how to deal with problems,” Vittoria said. “A few screws missing.”
“It can’t have anything to do with your being lazy or inconsiderate.”
“Being given every damned thing you ever wanted. Except a bike. For which you have never forgiven him.”
“So now you have something really good to punish him for, the rest of the time he has left. You’ll make him pay, by god.”
“Shut up.”
“For the crime of adopting you.”
“Just shut up.”

There was another short break in the action, so we could catch our breaths. And then we resumed.

“I suppose your plan is to make your father’s life miserable for the time he has left. Serves the bastard right.”
“Keep it up. He might go sooner than you think. So twist the knife in his gut a little more.”
“And when he dies, well, you’ll have the perfect excuse to continue your silent bullshit. Because nobody can understand how the little princess FEELS. Poor little princess. But tell me, princess. Do you have any idea what’s going on with Giovanni right now?”
“Not very happy.”
“And Francesca?”
“The same.”
“Like you give a damn. So twist that knife a little more.”
“Stop. I get it.”
“How long did he sit around waiting for you to show up from your little disappearing act with what’s-his-name? Forty days, wasn’t it? Hell, you should have stayed eighty days.”
“Why don’t you shut up?”
“OK, I’ll shut up. Ciao!”

I was going to log off. But I didn’t. Couldn’t. I just sat there, staring at the screen and all those ugly words I had just typed.

“Okay, you win,” she said. “You are always right. Now and forever.”
“I have a suggestion for you. Want to hear it?”
“I’m sure you will tell me.”
“Okay. Here it is. DO. NOT. CHANGE. Ever. Keep doing exactly what you are doing.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means I know THIS time you will do exactly what I’ve told you to do. You have no choice.”
“One day I will shock you all.”
“Right. When your father is dead and buried.”
“He’s not my father.”
“Whatever. When that man is dead you might start to think about changing. Like maybe your hairdo.”
“Stop it.”

Another silence.

“You feel like murdering me right now, don’t you?”
“I’m so angry I can hardly hit these keys.”
“I don’t know how to say I’m sorry.”
“Saying you’re sorry isn’t what’s needed right now.”
“What’s needed now—desperately—is for you to DEAL with this, like an adult.”


“What should my first thing be as an adult?” she said. “What should I do?”
“More sarcasm?”
“No. I’m serious. What should I do?”
“Where is your father right now?”
“He’s outside, smoking.”
“Okay. Go out and give him a hug. Then talk to him. Openly. About Maria Marrella and everything that led up to your adoption.”
“Oh, man. Can’t I just apologize? And not talk about her?"
“No, because you need to settle this once and for all. Especially with him. Your dad.”
“But his blood doesn’t run through my veins.”
“So what? He raised you. That makes him your father.”
“Okay, I’ll talk to him. And I’ll give him a hug afterward, not before.”
“Fine. Just as long as you DO it.”
“But who is my real father?”
“Who cares? You know the man who fed you, clothed you, loved you.”
“Maybe my real father was crazy in the head. Which makes me crazy too.”
“All you Italians are crazy. So what’s new?”
“OK. Talk to you later.”
“So are you going to sit down with your father?”
“I said I was, didn’t I?”
“Will you let me know how it comes out?”
“Yes. Ciao.”


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